Throughout most cultures fair skin has been a look people what to attain disregarding their natural complexion. Bleaching is rampant throughout the Caribbean, Africa & Asia and we have seen the level of usage go up exponentially in the past couple of decades because our worlds have become increasingly self-reflective. We now see ourselves more often on tvs, in movies, on our phones, in mirrors on billboards etc. The world is full of human representation and this has forced us to digest what we look like on a more frequent basis as well as providing us with instant comparisons with the so called famous and ‘beautiful’. Dark skinned representation in advertising and entertainment is minute and is adding to the psychological devaluation of our younger population especially.
The cast system has been rampant in countries which have been colonised, deeply religious or with a strict history of control. You will see Asians in China, Korea and the Philippines wearing long sleeves in the summer and avoiding the sun to not toast their skin. On the flip side we see Africans, Caribbean’s and South Americans bleaching their skin to appear whiter and as the trends become more popular the products become less controlled and unsafe. There are plenty of horror stories out there but what’s interesting to me is the psychological mindset that gets a human being to that place. There’s definitely a thin line between wanting to be attractive and self loathing and we can see this in South Korea which is the #1 country for plastic surgeries in the world with everyone wanting to look like an anime character straight out of a manga. It certainly is interesting that we have people willing to put themselves in debt, jeopardise their health and risk long time disfiguration for the sake of their appearance, but there’s also the fact that people don’t want to be identified as dark skinned.
Is this about sex? Marriage? Attracting a partner? Beauty? Acceptance?
Does this stem from Colonisation? Insecurity? Attention? Self loathing? Hate? Indoctrination?
It’s probably a mix of everything because the advertising can’t be that good. I know that amongst black people there is a shade divide and this can be seen everywhere and is extremely prominent in the fashion and entertainment industries. Women seem to be more affected by this than men because as a dark skinned man I have never seen my shade as detrimental but I can understand the effect it can have. You can see this shade divide have psychological effect in the way that black women have chopped up their skin tone into yellow bone, red bone, light skin, brown skin but it’s all black and a want to dissociate with being black.
Those who participate in the shade divide want to run away from being identified as dark because they don’t like that part of themselves. Field niggers they used to call them in America’s slavery days, undesirables is what they call them in India (they are treated like animals throughout India) and they’ve been known to call dark skinned people peasants in Korea. So what we have here throughout history and until this day is an association which dark skin and unfair treatment. The darker you are the more likely you were to be poor, mistreated and used throughout a variety of cultures in history. I can therefore sympathise with the bleachers, long sleeve wearers and sun dodgers because a lot of them are living in communities which will judge them and not offer opportunities to them as darker skinned people, and they’ve accepted this concept and attached it to their psyche. Reality is, to try and disassociate yourself from your skin colour as an adult is insecure and to put yourself in harm’s way to not appear darker is borderline self hate.