Skin Bleaching As A Physical Form Of Racism
America is the known for being called land of the free. To the black men, you are free to be belittled by the police, and free to die innocently because others fear the color of your skin. To the women, you are free to be sexualized by your clothing, and free to be paid $10, 086 less, on average, than men. Although, to be a black woman in America gives an entire new meaning purgatory. Black women are at the epitome of discrimination; thus, ultimately forcing detrimental lifestyle and appearance changes that are believed the answer to a better-quality life.
One major life change popular among black women is skin bleaching. Skin bleaching is used worldwide by women of color to achieve either confidence, higher opportunities, love interests, and many other minor aspects that build the happiness. Such aspects, as they believe, lead to a life that is near impossible to achieve with darker skin. The goal of skin bleaching is to become more fitting into the Caucasian threshold. While it temporarily boosts confidence, black women should not allow skin bleaching to make them happy and dictate their opportunities because it is belittling, promotes colorism, and is mentally and physically harmful to the body. Skin bleaching creams are prescribed to lighten darker areas of the skin. The product works by destroying some of the melanin in the targeted area. Melanin is the pigment through the body that produces a brown appearance and shields your body from the sun. Meladerm, hydroquinone, Ambi, and Barielle are some of the popular agents that are known as “lightening products, bleaching creams, whiteners, skin brighteners, or fading creams. ” To apply it is like lotion in the way that you can simply smear it across your skin. “It is to be lightly applied once or twice a day, avoiding your mouth and eyes. Often the application it is advised to thoroughly wash your hands and use sun screen when in direct sunlight. ”
In many countries skin bleaching products have been banned unless it is prescribed by a dermatologist. This is because of the minor and major side effects that tag along. Those of which may include, “skin irritation, burning, and flaking of the skin, skin thinning, extreme discoloration, kidney or liver damage, and pregnancy defects. ” Black women since the times of slavery have been disregarded to any other race and sex because of our physical appearance and perveances to be weak and unworthy. Black women were unconsciously divided by the lighter and darker shades of black and lead to think the closer to being Caucasian you are your chances of a quality life will also increase. Lighter skinned people in the black community were often a result of Caucasian slave mastered taking advantage of their black or African female slaves. With this, white ancestor became “privileges” such as getting the opportunity to be a house slave meaning you wouldn’t have to endure the severe labor of the fields and receiving a more intimate relationship with your owner being that you are a direct relative.
Even now in modern times, women still believe that to be lighter will make them happier in their life. A Popular belief in Jamaica is that when you become lighter you will be more likely to get attention from males. “Browning”, a popular slang term in Jamaica puts a name on women of lighter skin tones. Songs such as “Me Love Me Browning” by a popular artist Buju Banton have molded the minds of darker skinned women that support that notion of beauty. As spoken by a native to a MarieClaire journalist, “When you black in Jamaica nobody sees you. ” When a woman of color alters themselves in such a way, they are showing that they are embarrassed of their natural appearance. They are showing that they are ashamed of their ancestry, which is problematic for the person’s mental health and more importantly their confidence.
People who bleach their skin try to portray happiness for others, although they go home and face the reality that they have shunned their family and their identity as being a part of the darker skinned community. Their new light-skin appearance reflects a miserable person who is trying to fit in with unrealistic societal norms. People with bleached skin are a role model to young people showing that they should be ashamed of their appearance as well. This false skin color is a way of advertising an unfair societal norm that everyone should have light skin, be skinny, have long, straight hair and many other unrealistic stigmas. Bleaching of the skin is a way of showing approval of the misconception that light skin is better than dark, and that people will have a better life if their skin in not dark.
An ample amount of research was conducted to complete this essay. While researching, I had to keep many aspects in mind to determine if the sources are creditable or not. I looked for the quality of the website itself, I checked to see how professional the appearance of the layout was, I checked for any proofreading errors, and the amount of advertisements were displayed. Also, I checked its creditability by checking for the same information on other sites. The first website cited was Business Insider. It is a well put together website being that it is minimal in design and the text is well written. It includes pictures, graphs, and concrete facts to support their speaking points. I used this website to show the issues against women alone to connect my point to being both black and woman. It is a website showing the pay gap in American between men and women. The website proves that women do suffer from discrimination. Although, while I was scrolling down to the bottom of the website I didn’t like the sponsorships to other articles written by other Business Insider journalist that is completely unrelated to my topic. The source did “answer my question”, and it even showed me more information other than what I was initially looking for by showing the pay gap between the states. My second and third sources were WebMD and NHS. It is a medical website that explain the content of bleaching cream, and the application processes. I favored the sources because I feel it is most creditable. The sources also granted me more topic related facts that what I had already thought of. The medical inspired websites showed some possible effects of skin bleaching which is a strong assisting point in my essay.
Although, I would have listed out more ingredients that directly cause the damages within the skin in the products. I wanted to use this source to prove my point of skin bleaching being physically damaging which was leading me to the emotional damages in the next paragraph. It is further motivating me to provide strong facts in my paper to prove my thesis is strong. My final source gives me the relatable part of my essay. MarieClaire provides a personal story of the effects of bleaching within Jamaican women where bleaching is extremely popular. I enjoyed hearing how the process effected the women’s life’s and inner thoughts. I learned some not only the effects but also, I learned what motivates women to bleach. I granted me with emotional connection to my audience and my topic which moves me to be morally obligated to learn to fight colorism and see the true beauty within dark skin.
Skin Bleaching is morally wrong and should not be praised as much as it is today. People of all colors deserve to love their bodies without feeling pressured into dangerous skin altering procedures just to gain acceptance. Skin bleaching is a physical form is racism and the social divide between races. Everyone should practice acceptance from others that don’t look the same as them, and we should promote equal opportunities to all.
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