Skin Bleaching

Society & Culture | By Robin Chaibva, Digital Media Manager | 08 May 2015

As a young girl at an all-girls catholic school, like Chimamanda Adichie said in Beyonce’s FLAWLESS snippet, we girls were raised to compete for the attention of men and looks. With impossible standards of beauty we buy into products that promise even skin tone, to remove our scars, to add glow.

A lot of people think dark skinned girls suffer pressure to bleach, irrespective of one’s looks and complexion, skin bleaching is still an issue. In high school one dark skinned girl after Ash Wednesday was teased by her closest friends if she had actual ash put on her forehead. The joke was that she had the same skin tone as the soot used during the ceremony. She skin bleached her skin now. Many girls often called “Tar-Babies” or “Blackie” have bleached. Light skinned pretty girls have joined modelling agencies and have become even lighter as a result of their job.

The greatest marketing gimmick is used by Pond’s that promises romance to users of their product in record time of 7 days. Isn’t that a brilliant way to sell product? So does society hate skin bleachers because of the chemical they use to even skin tone, the unsafe dangerous amounts of Hydroquinone in the illegal drugs? or is it about wanting to be “beautiful” by altering the “flaws”. So if the chemicals I use, are hydroquinone free, should I judge those that use extreme bleach?

Blaming and shaming skin bleachers is not the issue that will solve a bigger problem of needing to be perfect. There are hierarchies of beauty from society, they became more visible having gone to an all-girls school. I never made it into the prettiest girls’ lists in high school, neither did I have much going on in the standards and measures
of beautiful.

These standards back then were having, long black straight hair, smooth skin, even skin tone, glowing skin, light to medium brown skin. The concept of natural beauty does not apply to people who are told that they are ugly. What we aim to do is to use chemicals to appear naturally beautiful. I cannot judge those who use skin bleach, because the need for beautiful skin without flaws is a result of this. The unhealthy methods and the drastic measures to even skin out are the dangers of doing so, the so called side effects on the skin. Another unspoken side effect in the pursuit of fairer skin tone, is not feeling fully confident after the chemicals have “worked”. Skin bleaching can fade your scars on your exterior but not the scars that killed the self-belief.

What is ugly is not the scars and marks on our faces, what is ugly is society’s need to bring our self-esteem down and force competitiveness.

What is ugly is the obsession we have to never show our weaknesses and instead find ways to never accept our flaws. It is hard loving the skin you are in when people comment on your imperfections than the beauty in you. It’s not simply saying that people should not care what others think, because accepting yourself against the popular negative opinions is not that easy. Society needs the bleach to erase the scars of making people feel uncomfortable in their own skin.