Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lighten up

I have a major problem with skin whitening creams. I'd never heard of such a thing until I went to Cambodia and my friend advised me to check any creams I bought carefully as so many of them contain what is effectively bleach. I noticed it again living in Bangladesh and the Philippines and made my friends there promise they wouldn't use them, because there is nothing wrong with the colour of their skin, and just the thought of putting something that potent on my face (or anyone else's) makes my skin crawl.

I suppose this sounds hypocritical coming from an Australian; from the land that bakes itself in the sun to be brown. I learned after a couple of bad burns that my skin doesn't really tan, that it's too pale and so I don't spend hours greased up lying in the sun.

So it comes down to the grass usually being greener on the other side. White women want brown skin, women with darker skin want lighter skin. And thankfully, there is someone doing something to combat this perception of lighter skin being more beautiful in Africa.

A beauty contest, Miss Authentica, has been held in the Ivory Coast where to compete the women must not have altered their skin (which is confirmed by skin experts). This slideshow tells the story...let's hope that the cosmetic industry does pay attention and stop this horrid business.


  1. I used to wonder about this in Japan and wondered if the preference for fair skin was related to the faddish desire to ape all things Western, but it turns out Japanese women have been doing their utmost to be whiter than white for centuries, long before the Dutch first arrived.

  2. Can you see where I'm going with this?

  3. I guess Japan's the original - I'm sure I could wiki it and find out why but can't be bothered - with white face paint on geishas.

    Hmmmm, not entirely sure where you're going with that...it's a bit vague