Although I have an extra large and over priced Virgin TV package with a bunch of cool fancy TV channels, I spend my days off watching my guilty pleasure, really awkward basic British TV.
Some of my favourites include, Take Me Out (for the cheese), Dinner Date (for the seriously awkward blind dates where they never actually see each other again) and weird This Morning interviews with Holly and Philip trying to keep straight faces, act like they care and pretending to be impartial.
Last week I came across the above video of a Black former model and presenter, AJ Odudu taking about skin bleaching. Please watch!
…After a good 10mins of laughing after the woman’s “big reveal”, I rewinded to actually listen to the rest of the conversation.
Does this woman have a point or is skin bleaching (the use of creams, chemicals and/or pills to lighten/whiten your skin colour) wrong? Lightening skin is most common in Asian cultures. In India, it roots from a representation of class, in East Asian cultures it’s less about class and more of a popular beauty trend.
I am not sure how it is seen in Asian cultures but it is controversial in the black community. Many people see it as going against your heritage, culture and sometimes in some cases, self-hatred. It also contains extremely harmful chemicals that can burn, bruise and scar black skin permanently. Others, say it is nothing more than a beauty choice. Like tanning or dying your hair.
I put the question to the people. I asked 166 people of different ages, nationalities and ethnicities, do you think skin lightening/bleaching wrong or should be people’s own personal choice. These are the results…
The result were so incredible close but “wrong” won by 1% of votes. I voted for personal choice. Here are some comments that a few voters shared.
“Nothing wrong with doing stuff to smooth the tone of your skin, maybe some small skin lightning, skin correction is fine but bleaching is another level. There’s some self hate involved with that I’m sorry” – Black male, 25, USA
“I guess it’s just as bad damage as me sunbathing to tan. I personally don’t see why anyone would want to do it but own choice I guess” – Caucasian female, 19
“It’s a shame that people allow themselves to adhere to the western standards of beauty and to completely reject their DNA as a means of getting approval.” – Black female, 23
Writing this did make me looked in the mirror and really asked myself, why not. If what Matthew Knowles says in his interview with Ebony magazine is true, and Beyonce is successful because of her light skin why don’t I bleach my skin to look lighter? Would I be more successful?
I thought back to an episode of “The Real” talk show, when Asian host Jeannie Mai discussed being told that as an Asian woman in the public eye she should undergo eyelid surgery to become success. (Skip to 1:00).
I believe bleaching, eye lid surgery etc. are personal beauty choices, I just choose not to. When I was younger I was picked on by some black boys for the dark colour of my skin but as a got older and had my “glow up”, those same guys were the ones asking for my number and liking my pictures on Facebook (back when Facebook was hot).
When I was a teenager I was dating this one light skinned black guy. I thought he was so cool because he was tall and older and at the time I had a thing for guys with dreads and tattoos. I slowly began to realise although he was older, he was immature and stupid. After avoiding him for months, one day he called me going on and on about how sexy he was and how I must miss him and fantasize about him all the time. It was annoying so I responded telling him straight that he was unattractive and immature. He replied saying, “F*** you, I would never wife a dark skin girl anyway!” and hung up the phone. I called one of my girl friends and we laughed all night at his 1-Dimensional brain
I think if you are beautiful, you are beautiful. If you are talented, you are talented. Regardless of your skin colour, eye shape or any other feature that is connected to your heritage. Infact, those features are usually the thing that makes you more beautiful. Jeannie proved that she didn’t need to have eyelid surgery to be successful. Duckie’s dark skin is what makes her such a stand out beauty, Lucy Liu’s striking Asian features is what put her on the map. I think light skinned people are gorgeous. Beyonce and Cassie are stunning but Naomi Campbell and Nikki Perkins aren’t any less beautiful because their skin is darker.
For me personally though, I think my dark skin is a big part of my culture, my amazing African heritage and ultimately my identity. If I changed it I would feel like I was not be being true to myself. I am a very confident person and happy with the way I look.
I have also always been put off by it because I am from a country that are known in Africa for skin bleaching. I am not sure if there are less damaging versions of bleaching than others, but I see from older relatives and family friends who have done it and have terrible skin. Although it can look good with makeup, or it may look great in selfies, I have seen the way it can ruin people’s skin and after long term use the skin never goes back to the same colour or quality it was.
However, we live in a world of waist-trainers, bum injections, steroids. People do a lot of things to enhance themselves into what they see as “beautiful”. Bleaching is technically just one of them.
I think as long as you aren’t harming anyone and you are not doing it for someone else or for the approval of others, then you should be able to do whatever you want with your body. Just do your research and don’t go so far that you lose yourself in the process. Never ever forget to embrace the beautiful unique things that make you, you ❤️.
Additional Note: I think that colourism is something that stems from within our cultures. I don’t think it’s pushed by western media/culture but more of a trend within certain countries and cultures. I even noticed in the poll that the younger people, 1st and 2nd generation Britons voted more for “wrong” where as more older people who would have immigrated to the UK voted more for “personal choice”.
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