To bleach or not to bleach??.

An intensely personal choice and once you have made your decision you may find that to talk about the issue is taboo. Why….? ‘She wants to bleach’ so what…we all have freedom of choice don’t we?. Yes, of course however every black child is taught “black is beauty” so at what point did you stop believing this? Where…is your insecurity coming from?.
Although insecurity I would say minor in comparison to what I suspect the real issue at hand, Self-hate. But there are numerous arguments to be made on this issue the most overriding of these being that she is wilfully choosing to disrespect and disregard her rich African heritage, a history which involves much segregation, degradation and exploitation. Yes I’m talking about slavery.
For years black people have been ostracised and subjected to the most inhumane of practices. Why… draw for the slavery card?. The slavery card gets drawn because women who parade around with bleached skin have in effect put ‘two fingers’ up to their rich history, and sadly despite this being 2016 slavery in modern day form STILL exists on many levels. Granted it may not be as “in your face” but scratch beneath the surface and you will see the nerve so close to many a non-bleached person’s heart.
Although largely but not exclusively used by black women more men are also deciding to succumb, in particularly young Caribbean men perhaps trying to escape judgements and labels being placed taken from the Ebonics dictionary “wasteman”.
Some parts of the Caribbean and Africa “doors” are opened and job opportunities more readily available the lighter your complexion, amongst women the lighter your complexion the more desirable they are in attracting a mate, the “light skinned sister” being seen to be more aesthetically pleasing.
More surprising though are white women who are also making skin bleaching creams part of their “beauty” regime, especially those with a more olive tone, I find this absolutely absurd because personally I prefer an olive tone in comparison a pale complexion. I’ve heard many reasons as to why bleaching becomes an option: “I don’t have an even complexion”, or “I’m tired of being judged by my colour”. Ridiculous, is my reply but ok…let’s break this down. Firstly, for f***sake has no one told you that almost all pictures are air brushed, edited and or photo shopped, in which case it makes no never mind as to your complexion it’s going to be retouched anyway. Secondly, In an ideal world colour wouldn’t matter, but this isn’t an ideal world, and colour does matter it always has and at least for the foreseeable future it always will, So there is little point in “spitting the dummy” it is what it is, I know it shouldn’t be but changing your skin colour only serves to feed the problem.
The MADNESS has to stop. Skin bleach is sold globally in an unfettered and in some cases illegal market and the majority of this lethal taken over a sustained period of time, ingredients such as steroids, lead, acid and mercury to name a few have unregulated dosage. Dangerous such are the health implications involved I find it absolutely astonishing that everyday more and more men and women are choosing to pick up the bottle, when the implications can result in respiratory complications, liver disease and cancer.
On a more positive note recently at London fashion week Phillip Treacy made the decision to solely use black models for his show, for this he is to be commended this is exactly what we need and more importantly society, rather than Black Models be relegated to a “token status” but instead at a more mainstream hard to ignore level. However the sad truth is that such a bold move could only have been made by someone respected by his peers, I don’t doubt for a minute that this decision could have been made by an up and coming designer. The truth is fashion designer careers are built largely on who you know over what you design and most end before it’s even started.
To make reference to a quote by black model Jordan Dunn “people in the industry say that if you have a black face on the cover of a magazine it won’t sell” I’m not suggesting that there have not been black models that have made it, however they tend to be of lighter complexion, Naomi Campbell and Alek Wek and others being exception to the rule but why so few?…

Written by Natasha Grey



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