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July 12th, 2008

Lighter Skin Gets the Guy

One of my favorite things to do when I have time to kill is "randomly surf the web".  I start at yahoo.com, usually click on a news story, that might lead me to a website link, which might lead me to someone's interesting blog.  I always find thought-provoking and intriguing content when I do this, and it can kill hours of time.

Sometimes, instead of finding content and information that I enjoy, I find some that bothers me - riles me up, so to speak.  This morning, when I came upon the article Is white skin more "beautiful?" on Shine's Fashion + Beauty section, I felt that discomforting anger rising to the surface.

Whenever I see women being told that to be "this" or be "that" will then make them "beautiful", I get upset.  Where are the ads promoting beauty as is?  Where are the commercials telling young women that their unique "imperfections" and different physical appearance are what make them beautiful and special?

I have heard of the phenomenon in Japan and India of women yearning for lighter skin...to be more "white".  It astounds me, as I believe darkened skin - of any shade - is simply beautiful.  White women spend great amounts of money and time to darken their skin through tanning and products.  I suppose it's the age-old struggle of wanting what you don't have.  Lighter skin people wish they were darker; darker skinned people wish they were lighter.

However, I still am bothered by the Ponds 5-part commercial series that implies the man only went back to his first and true love after she lightened her skin; becoming more light-skinned than the glamorous starlet he was dating.  Ponds obviously has a market for its Flawless White product line, but should they really be playing into women's insecurities this way?

I know that all beauty products, and the media used to promote them, play up a woman's perceived "flaw" with promises to cure and fix it; it's the nature of the beast.  Still, there is just something a little more disturbing here - perhaps its, as the original article stated, ...when it comes to altering the color of one's skin, when does aesthetic become racism?

Aesthetic racism - now there's a term, and I suppose, in a way, that is what you might call it.  It's not that those desiring lighter skin are necessarily racists, but isn't telling them that they will be more desirable and worthy if they change their skin tone so?

Perhaps it's all a big hoax.  I don't know - the whole thing just leaves me feeling uncomfortable - I keep waiting for someone to say, "It's a joke!  Ponds doesn't really have any such product - it's all a big hoax!"  It has that kind of feel about it.

Regardless, though, it draws attention to the fact that people still - to this day - feel inferior because of the pigment of their skin, and that saddens me.

One Response to “Lighter Skin Gets the Guy”

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