Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology Forum - Perennial Ideas and Debates that cross societal/time boundaries


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old January 13th, 2013, 06:33 AM   #1
Just me
 
Joined: Jul 2008
From: --
Posts: 6,176
Blog Entries: 1
'White is right'


I apologise if the title is distasteful to some but it best sums up the sentiment in a report about the popularity of whiteness creams among black people in Africa, or that's the impression I get form this article:
BBC News - Africa: Where black is not really beautiful

Excerpts:

Quote:
...over the past six years there has been a significant increase in the number of skin lighteners flooding local markets, some of them legal and some illegal. This is what prompted their research.
Quote:
In many parts of Africa and Asia, lighter-skinned woman are considered more beautiful, are believed to be more successful and more likely to find marriage.
Quote:

But skin-lightening is not just a fascination and obsession of women. Congolese hair stylist Jackson Marcelle says he has been using special injections to bleach his skin for the past 10 years. Each injection lasts for six months.
"I pray every day and I ask God, 'God why did you make me black?' I don't like being black. I don't like black skin," he tells me.
Quote:

Mr Marcelle - known in this busy community as Africa's Michael Jackson - says his mother used to apply creams on him when he was young in order to make him appear "less black".


"I like white people. Black people are seen as dangerous; that's why I don't like being black. People treat me better now because I look like I'm white," he adds.


Entrenched in the minds of many Africans from a young age is the adage "if it's white, it's all right", a belief that has chipped away at the self-esteem of millions.
The obsession with fair skin is not something confined to Africa either. India is pretty notorious for that with ever increasing sales of fairness creams. Such creams are also popular in South-East Asia and West Asia (aka the Middle-East). (I know that tanning, the opposite of skin lightening, is a fad in the West but unlike that when your self-esteem is riding on the colour of your skin, then we have a problem with no quick fixes.)


What could be the reason behind such a vast number of people aspiring to European standards of beauty? The article quoted above suggests that this is down to colonialism. But is that all this is? Is there something in human nature that prefers lighter phenotypes, or in particular lighter skin (though I can think of numerous exceptions to this)? Or could it just be a fad? Or is it because of the dominance of Western media (traditionally speaking) and hence a high exposure to globally famous people, like Hollywood stars, majority of whom are Caucasian?
Rosi is offline  
Remove Ads
Old January 13th, 2013, 06:39 AM   #2

Naomasa298's Avatar
Bog of the Year
 
Joined: Apr 2010
From: T'Republic of Yorkshire
Posts: 20,793

It's not entirely about European standards of beauty.

In certain East and South-East Asian societies, people with darker skin are looked down upon because the implication of darker skin is that they spend more time in the sun - and therefore have menial or low-paid jobs, so are regarded as socially inferior.
Naomasa298 is online now  
Old January 13th, 2013, 06:46 AM   #3

Rongo's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Ohio
Posts: 5,685

And meanwhile in the U.S., the tanning salons are raking in the money. Go figure.
Rongo is offline  
Old January 13th, 2013, 06:53 AM   #4
Just me
 
Joined: Jul 2008
From: --
Posts: 6,176
Blog Entries: 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rongo View Post
And meanwhile in the U.S., the tanning salons are raking in the money. Go figure.
That's just a fad though. The people who go for a tan don't have their self-esteem riding on whether they have a tan or not...
Rosi is offline  
Old January 13th, 2013, 06:54 AM   #5
Just me
 
Joined: Jul 2008
From: --
Posts: 6,176
Blog Entries: 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naomasa298 View Post
It's not entirely about European standards of beauty.

In certain East and South-East Asian societies, people with darker skin are looked down upon because the implication of darker skin is that they spend more time in the sun - and therefore have menial or low-paid jobs, so are regarded as socially inferior.
That's what some say about India as well, but in this day and age that can't be true? I mean, if you're an office-going person you wouldn't be mingling with people doing menial jobs on a daily basis anyway?
Rosi is offline  
Old January 13th, 2013, 06:55 AM   #6

Angelica's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Angel City
Posts: 1,924

It is not severe in the Caribbean however great emphasis is placed on "beauty" whether light skin or dark.

People tend to gravitate to attractive individuals I assume this attitude is general. There is a small percentage within the population that use skin lightening such habit is costly. This culture is perpetuated by the world's standard of beauty.
Angelica is offline  
Old January 13th, 2013, 06:56 AM   #7

kbear's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 6,384

idk why these creams are so popular but i read an article about them the other day and some of them can have very nasty side effects, including permanent scarring. i've worked with light skinned black women who said they would never even consider dating a man who was darker than them. those were americans and africans..

those tanning beds are dangerous also. they increase the chance for skin cancer and they cause premature wrinkles so idk know why any woman would want to look old quicker..??
kbear is offline  
Old January 13th, 2013, 07:02 AM   #8

tjadams's Avatar
Epicurean
 
Joined: Mar 2009
From: Texas
Posts: 25,389
Blog Entries: 6

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosi View Post
Is there something in human nature that prefers lighter phenotypes, or in particular lighter skin (though I can think of numerous exceptions to this)? Or could it just be a fad? Or is it because of the dominance of Western media (traditionally speaking) and hence a high exposure to globally famous people, like Hollywood stars, majority of whom are Caucasian?
I think it is an innate, overall, preference in humans. In Hollywood and
in music, almost all black women straighten their hair and who's light
skin gives them an edge in their fields: Rhianna,Tyra Banks,Halle Berry,
Vanessa Williams. I'll even throw in Michael Jackson who seemed
obsessed with looking white.
tjadams is offline  
Old January 13th, 2013, 07:07 AM   #9

Sicknero's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: May 2012
From: Here to Eternity
Posts: 4,369

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naomasa298 View Post
It's not entirely about European standards of beauty.

In certain East and South-East Asian societies, people with darker skin are looked down upon because the implication of darker skin is that they spend more time in the sun - and therefore have menial or low-paid jobs, so are regarded as socially inferior.
It was also the fashion in Europe too for a long time for the same reasons, hence the lead-based cosmetics to make faces whiter.
Sicknero is offline  
Old January 13th, 2013, 07:10 AM   #10

Angelica's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Angel City
Posts: 1,924

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
I think it is an innate, overall, preference in humans. In Hollywood and
in music, almost all black women straighten their hair and who's light
skin gives them an edge in their fields: Rhianna,Tyra Banks,Halle Berry,
Vanessa Williams. I'll even throw in Michael Jackson who seemed
obsessed with looking white.
I agree Hollywood is mainly responsible for pushing this image. Beyounce did a french magazine cover whereby she was painted black she was beautiful somehow this angered the African America population "she was too black".

It is sad that great emphasis is placed on skin colouring and persons will go to any length to be light skin
Angelica is offline  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology

Tags
white


Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
White squaw Virgil American History 13 December 6th, 2012 04:22 PM
White Tribes Zeno General History 8 November 27th, 2011 07:00 AM
A Black and White War Toltec War and Military History 27 December 22nd, 2009 04:12 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.