Ruining your skin to change its color
In the west – pale meant nobility – but now it has evolved to be the sexual preference.
On both sides of the spectrum – women put chemicals on their skin to change its color
Lil kim has come under fire for some recent instagram photos sporting her new, caucasian appearance – from her slimmed down nose, to blonde, straight hair… to her surprisingly white skin. And it’s not just Lil Kim – powerful woman of color from Beyonce, to Rhianna, are speculated to have lightened their skin to appear “more caucasian”.
Lil’ Kim’s body image issues are no secret. In a 2000 interview she said:
I have low self-esteem and I always have. Guys always cheated on me with women who were European-looking. You know, the long-hair type. Really beautiful women that left me thinking, ‘How can I compete with that?’ Being a regular black girl wasn’t good enough.
The thing is – women on both spectrum’s are taught to want the opposite – this is classic economics.. Making people want more than what they already are…
But focusing on self esteem as the only explanation for her new look is a bit unfair, making it seem like Lil kim’s skin whitening is abnormal behavior. In fact, a recent study by the University of Cape Town suggests that skin whitening is extremely common – one in three women of color bleaches their skin – particularly in Africa and Asia.
And with good reason. Being light skinned has financial benefits – studies repeatedly show that light-skinned people make more money and enjoy more success. For example, a 2007 study found that lighter-skinned immigrants in the US earned 8 to 15 percent more than their darker-skinned counterparts. Another study, published in the Labor Law Journal found dark-skinned African Americans face huge discrimination throughout life than lighter skinned African Americans – they have lower levels of education, lower wages, that they receive longer prison sentences, and are less likely to be promoted at work.
So given the huge incentives to be lighter skinned, it’s a good idea to bleach your skin, right? Well – extensive research shows skin bleaching it’s not safe – with adverse effects from itchy burning skins, to scabs, to cancer.
The main chemical used to stop the skin from producing melanin is hydroquinone. Research commissioned by the FDA found using hydroquinone may trigger blood cancers such as leukaemia, cancers of the liver and kidneys, as well as a severe skin condition called ochronosis, a form of hyper-pigmentation which causes the skin to turn a dark purple shade. It’s so dangerous that most countries including Japan, Australia, and the European Union have banned hydroquinone… but somehow, it’s still legal in the US.
I think the point here is not that Lil Kim has somehow done the wrong thing with her new light skinned look. I mean, having surgery and altering hair and skin is something that we kind of expect any famous woman do, regardless of their race. The problem is beauty standards that actively penalize blackness – and science shows we penalize blackness to an extraordinary and demoralizing degree.
Women of all colors are beautiful.
Should we be concerned about this? She does all kinds of other stuff
What do you guys think?
This video is presented by Jayde Lovell, produced and edited by Yohana Yoshe, at Youtube Space NYC.
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Produced by Jayde Lovell and Bec Susan Gill. ScIQ is a partner of the The Young Turks Network.
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