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Posts Tagged ‘racism’

After the 2016 General Election in the United States, the tensions between two economically distinct economies have started to rise in the public consciousness. In effect, the perception of minorities, impairments, and any deviation from the cis white heterosexual agenda has been challenged in terms of their acceptance within an American ecosystem and structure.

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I remember hearing about skin lightening over a year ago. I recall being surprised that such a practice even existed, but in retrospect, perhaps I should not have been. The media seems to purport an overwhelming amount of imagery that caters to those with white/light skin (but that’s a topic that may be for another blog post).

Skin bleaching uses chemicals or natural products to lighten skin, and is common in communities of colour. Thus, it is apparent why the practice is problematic: it erases the very aspect of color from people of color.

Interestingly enough, a model who works in Mumbai stated, “obviously what you don’t have is what you want. The Western world, they go in for tans. They want to get a little brown touch to themselves. They think that’s hot…so, what we think over here, since we are brown-skinned people, white is hot.” So, does skin bleaching merely exemplify that people can never be satisfied with their bodies, and that they will always engage in different forms of embodiment in order to change their natural states?

Or, is there a more grim truth?

Lightening the skin can actually be traced back to colonization, when white skin was often preferred. Furthermore, it has been said by psychologists in an article that consumer demand (I assume they are referring to demand for skin bleaching, as the aforementioned article revolves around the topic) can be traced to perceptions that lighter skinned or white people are more sexually desirable, etc. The aforementioned insights appear to indicate that there is a standard of beauty that is playing out here, one that holds that white skin as favorable. Thus, it seems as though skin bleaching is a product of racism.

While thinking about skin bleaching, a few questions came to mind. What if people were to dye their bodies a color that no one was born with (i.e. purple)? What may reactions to that body modification be? Would the modification be considered a product of racism, as it involves a divergence from natural skin color? Also, are there any other forms of body modification that are a product of racism?

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