Shed Your Sleeves: Lose the Skin-Lightening Creams

productLf.jpgOnly a few weeks till the start of summer. This can only mean one thing: skin. Bring on the season of skin-baring shorts, skorts, minis, sundresses, tank tops and bathing suits. And if you’re desi, bring on the nagging moms and aunties who try to tell you to cover up – more for the sake of preserving your complexion than for modesty’s sake. I think you all know how I feel about our society’s obsession with skin coloring. But I was reminded of it again when Ennis sent me a clip of an upcoming documentary, “Dark Girls.” The clip features African American women, but the movie’s producers write, “We know this issue goes beyond the United States and Black people. This is for ALL women from around the world.” I agree.

Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.

And just in case anyone thinks Fair & Lovely ads are more for their parents’ generation than their own, take a peek at MTV India’s “Shed Your Sleeves” campaign, which features Nivea products that ostensibly promote fairer skin. (Hat tip to Nila.) More specifically, “NIVEA whitening deodorant repairs damaged skin to give you fairer underarms.” The product purports to lighten skin through licorice extracts that “counter skin darkening.” Give me a break.

This deodorant contains plant extract, licorice, a traditional skin lightening agent which cuts melanin production. Another major constituent of this deodorant is witch hazel extracts from its leaves, barks and branches. It also has an astringent property that helps soothe the skin and repair any small wounds or itching. The effects of Whitening last 48 hour at one go and claims to repair underarm skin and make it fairer and even toned.

The product is being promoted by a television ad campaign that communicates the product benefits and is running across mainline channels focused on women in the age group of 15-34 years. Nivea has also teamed up with youth music channel, MTV, to undertake a series of below the line activities starting with ‘Shed Your Sleeves, the Biggest Freedom Movement for Women’. [Link.]

The ad cleverly uses social media marketing to attract a younger audience, encouraging girls to share pictures of themselves wearing sleeveless clothing on MTV India’s Facebook page, which has over 2 million fans. (I took a look at the page, but couldn’t find more than one photo.) It also gives consumers the option to put “Shed Your Sleeves” banner ads on their personal Facebook page. Good job, Nivea. Preying on the fears of young girls under the banner of “empowerment.” I applaud your strategy. And boys, Nivea features a similar product for you as well, should you become too comfortable in your skin.

Young ladies of a certain age – live your life. Don’t skip out on the beach, the pool, tennis lessons or whatever this summer because you fear the sun. You don’t need creams, deodorants or Facebook apps to be beautiful. So go ahead, show a little skin.

47 thoughts on “Shed Your Sleeves: Lose the Skin-Lightening Creams

  1. “Don’t skip out on the beach, the pool, tennis lessons or whatever this summer because you fear the sun.”

    Don’t fear the sun because it will darken your skin, but fear it for its cancer causing and aging effects. So don’t use skin lightening creams but be generous with the sunscreen.

    My own theory is that everyone wants to look like the powerful people – both in terms of wealth and cultural influence. Since the whites are currently powerful and influential, people want fairer skin. If brown people become rich and influential, everybody will want to be brown….and so on. Its all about being associated with the powerful.

    Primarily beauty is determined by the shape of your features. But research indicates that as far as complexion affecting the perception of beauty is concerned, it does not matter so much what the color of the skin is but how uniform and unblemished the skin complexion is.

  2. Good point about the sunscreen, John. I meant to mention that as well. Wear sunscreen!

  3. Since the whites are currently powerful and influential, people want fairer skin

    Dude, you being obsessed with white people and their power doesn’t mean everybody else in the world is too.

    In India, people want fairer skin, because that tells people that you have a job working indoors and have got some money. That leads to more doors being opened, more social connections, more opportunities, and upward mobility in society.

    My grandma and grandpa were dark as night because they worked the fields 365 days a year in 110 degree sun (we are from the Southern states). My dad got some education, a job under the fan, had the opportunity to marry up the ladder to, yes, a lighter skinned girl who doesn’t know first thing about farming. I, right or wrong, continued down that path. Now my grandpa looks at my son and marvels how different they look from each other. This progression along the dark to light spectrum also coincided with our family going from dirt poor to wherever we are now.

    Y’all can sit here and preachify, but the shit is what it is.

  4. Normally I don’t approve of skin bleaching products, or the idea behind them that “fair is lovely”, but the exception is lightening acne scars, age spots, or dark patches on the body. Many adult women develop dark patches in our underarms and inner thighs (near bikini area) because of shaving continually, and friction of skin rubbing against skin. For those of us with dark hair, the underarm often has a dark appearance because of the hair growing under the skin. The solution for this issue is waxing, which pulls out the hair from the root. However, some women still have a dark inner thigh/underarm area even if they wax there. This is hardly an issue limited to women of color either; I think it mostly strikes women with brown to black hair and light to medium skin. If you google “dark underarms” you’ll get thousands of queries, mostly from young women, wondering how to deal with this issue. No surprise that they finally made a product for it.

    Good job, Nivea. Preying on the fears of young girls under the banner of “empowerment.” I applaud your strategy.

    No different than the pressure on girls to shave our legs, tweeze eyebrows, wear makeup, etc. Women started shaving legs because dresses got shorter, and no one wanted to be teased for hairy legs. One sleeveless dresses became the norm, shaving underarms did too. I remember feeling self-concious about my dark underarms when I was 13 – basically it looked like a dark dirty patch there no matter how much I shaved. I’ve been waxing for 6 years and it’s still darker there. So yeah, Nivea is definitely preying on the fears of young girls here, but so is any other beauty product.

  5. Just wanted to add to my last comment – if Nivea was selling body lotions to bleach the whole body, I agree that would be repulsive, but frankly, I see nothing wrong with the deodorant.

    Do you have a problem with women lightening dark under eye circles? Because that’s no different that lightening a dark patch on your underarms with deodorant.

    • I totally agree. This whole “skin lightening” debate sometimes gets blown out of proportion. As medium-toned women we need to embrace the fact that we are prone to hyperpigmentation and other skin discolorations from melanin overproduction. A lot of products out there aren’t meant to make you look whiter necessarily, but is intended to correct this common problem.

      I’ve had issues with both sunspots and discolorations. My father has a huge spot on his cheek the size of a baseball about 4-5 tones darker than the rest of his face and he has been using hydroquinone 2% to correct the problem. Does that make him somehow less proud to be brown-skinned? No. He simply wants to look more presentable. I also have problems with underarm discolorations though I feel like licorice extract in this Nivea formulation may not be strong enough to correct the problem.

      I really find it hilarious to see desis of my generation come out gunning against lightening products with their liberal “outside of the box” thinking. Yes, we can all agree that the desire to have lighter skin-tone is an antiquated concept, but please do your research and realize that discolored skin is very common amongst us and we can’t vilify people that want to use these products to correct the problem. And also, READ the product labels. “Fair and Lovely” has never had bleaching ingredients in it and its antioxidant-rich formula is comparable to high-end face lotions you find at stores like Nordstroms but at the fraction of the cost.

  6. I remember being about 12 or 13 and hearing my mother comment that some girl would be attractive if she had lighter skin. I was struck with the thought that I could not submit to an arranged marriage if opinions like that would be on the selection committee.

  7. “In India, people want fairer skin, because that tells people that you have a job working indoors and have got some money.”

    Exactly what I meant. In India being fair skinned means you have money (aka power). Otherwise you have to work in the hot sun.

  8. it’s not just brownland, but across much of asia and the middle east where there’s this preference (also latin america, but there the racial valence is more stark than the class one). my main point, which i’ve expressed ad nauseum over the years: this obsession for american brownz imposed upon them by some of their parents is often really counter-productive with no upside. that’s because we’re on the mating market often with other american brownz who don’t have this obsession, or, with non-brownz, who also don’t have this obsession, unless that is we’re marrying (for example) into say a korean family where the parents are immigrants and might have some issues with a dark skinned south asian marrying in (though usually they’re get over it anyhow). if i spend a lot of time out in the sun in the summer, and i try to because i look more vigorous if i do, most of my social circle isn’t “omg, you are so kala!” with a sneer. rather, they’re “oh, you got a nice tan didn’t you?” or, they don’t comment because it’s not a major issue which they notice. one of the best things from what i’ve seen in the american-brown community in terms of assimilation is that there isn’t such a fixation on skin color because we all understand at the end of the day we’re brown to the rest of the world physically. dark vs. light is about as relevant in many cases as blonde vs. redhead. it’s real, but trivial.

    though perhaps my experience with american born/raised brownz is not representative, i don’t know. it isn’t as if i’m deeply embedded in the community. but i hope my impression is correct.

  9. In India being fair skinned means you have money (aka power). Otherwise you have to work in the hot sun.

    i’ve mentioned this before, but there was a similar issue in the west until the 20th century. what changed was that being poor meant you worked indoors in factories and you didn’t have the means to go and vacation in exotic climes. also, in the west there’s been a martial tradition of a set of aristocratic males who hunt and engage in physical activity, and so exhibit a concomitant darkness. so for example herakles was described as dark skinned because he engaged in physical activity outdoors in the nude.

  10. I am not surprised about this product women of colour are told that the closer their image is to whiteness the more palatable they are. I am glad to hear that the documentary dark girls is coming out because darker skinned women do encounter a lot of discrimination. Pop culture is also to blame though, I notice that the lighter skinned black women like Beyonce or Halle Berry are viewed as beautiful while darker skinned black females as scorned.

  11. Dark skin = toiling in the sun = poor = not a good mate for procreation. Light skin = indoor work or wealthy enough to not work = better food & hygeine = good mate for procreation. Just Darwinism at work …this predates any western invasion.

    • Nice name, by the way…

      Do you seriously want to put the product for the face, and rest of the body?

      I agree with one of the comments, I don’t think this product is meant to exploit dark skinned women, or men or whatever. Some people try to cover up or bleach their freckles, liver/age spots, hide their scars or whatever the skin issue.

      • Thank you for your thoughtful comments, ladies and gents.

        To elaborate, when I see advertising like this, it troubles me because it just reinforces the fair-skin> desirable than dark-skin ideal that I see among my younger cousins whose mothers slather them with Fair and Lovely and keep them indoors during the summer months.

        I see this Nivea ad telling girls like myself that if we don’t have “light” underarms, we should keep ourselves covered. Why? I’ll wear a sleeveless dress if I feel like it, Nivea. You’ll just have to deal with my “unsightly” underarms. Who decided that the ideal standard of human beauty was underarms or whatever body part that matched the pigment on my face? Not me. I don’t live in an airbrushed reality.

        Maybe it’s a trivial issue. Maybe you think it’s an overreaction, but I don’t support a brand that exploits a culture already prone to fairness fears and I don’t think a huge media conglomerate like MTV India should either. It’s irresponsible to the young consumers they serve.

        I can understand why it’s easy to say, “It’s just another beauty product.” But I don’t find this ad as innocuous as those for acne or blemishes or nail polish. I see it as just one more nail in the fairness-obsession coffin.

  12. east Punjabi jatt here -i can’t believe i’m leaving a comment for this retarded article, but you shouldn’t assume every desi lady has this issue – the word fair is really just a synonym for beautiful and has nothing to do with color – i’ve never heard of anyone with this problem – i rarely if ever touch my underarm hair (dharam/karam) but if i ever do, i notice the skin is an extremely beautiful color – most definitely not darker, just right: it’s good not to tamper with hair – it’s a very subtle thing but hair is divine – linked to prapti (Attainment) – sick people associate hair with lust – correct diet will eliminate All body odours – toxins are released through underarms – anyone blocking perspiration is an idiot – exercise also eliminates toxins /odors – keep clean – by the way, brown (ketu) is a color linked to moksha (final liberation/nirvana etc. ie. why we take birth) – why dress immodestly anyway?

  13. “why dress immodestly anyway?”

    I will ERECT an answer to this question the best way I know how, yes its a HARD issue to deal with, but we must discuss it to the BONE, and not be WILLY-nilly about it.

    I hope my DICTion in this matter has THRUSTED a new line of thought in this forum.

  14. Maybe getting a bit of sun on exposed skin isn’t such a bad idea.

    The body manufactures some good form of vitamin D3 through sunlight on the skin and vitamin d deficiency seems to be a problem with some people. (not too much exposed skin and not too much time in the sun, common sense is needed.) I think some expert said that 10 to 20 minutes of sun exposure without sunscreens is enough. I don’t know if that is right for everyone or correct advice.

    (Do dark skinned people have a harder time getting enough vitamin d3 from the sun? Are synthetic vitamin d3 supplements just as good as the natural thing? off topic, but just some burning questions. )

    Add nagging mother in laws to the list of aunties and mummies who expect Indian ladies to cover up. Even though I’m hindu married to another hindu in the USA, my mil expects me to be covered from the base of the neck down to my ankles no matter what the weather is like. I swear the lady would prefer that I wear a boorkah or something like that. Never mind that she wears capris and is 40 lbs overweight and fair skinned and wrinkly as a result. This is another issue, of course.

  15. Preference for fair skin is universal, oh yes even in white anglo spaces where tanning is trendy, not sure why so many desi people think its unique to just their community

    I say this because we are not nearly as bad as black people when it comes to this preference? In many places in western+southern Africa, there are literally injections women get to make their skin lighter, along with thousands, I mean, thousands of whitening products on the market. Contrast this to South Asia/Middle East, where I can only think of a few brands that endorse skin whitening. Creams compared to injections, come on, I really don’t think it’s fair to align our community with another’s.

    It irks me a bit that so much energy is spent on talking about “skin lightening” while its rare when I find South Asians, esp women, tackling issues like gendered/marital violence or lgbt issues in our community, not saying it doesn’t happen-just seems not as much as the main issue cited in this post.

  16. “Will this cream work on all part of the body? not just underarms?”

    Well if you google the product, it seems to have gotten poor reviews, the consensus being it is a good deodorant, but doesn’t lighten underarms. And I would be very wary of using such a product on an area it’s not intended for – especially girls who may attempt to use the cream in their undereye or bikini area, both of which are delicate and sensitive.

    “am glad to hear that the documentary dark girls is coming out because darker skinned women do encounter a lot of discrimination. Pop culture is also to blame though, I notice that the lighter skinned black women like Beyonce or Halle Berry are viewed as beautiful while darker skinned black females as scorned.”

    I don’t think it’s dark skin in general, but what’s considered dark within a specific culture. For example, Halle Berry is clearly dark compared to most American women, but is light in the African American community. Ditto for Aishwarya Rai in the Indian community. Even in Hollywood, where tanning is popular, the female lead in the movie is generally lighter than her male counterpart or love interest.

    “But research indicates that as far as complexion affecting the perception of beauty is concerned, it does not matter so much what the color of the skin is but how uniform and unblemished the skin complexion is”

    Yes, and this Nivea deodorant was created to treat the problem of dark discoloration from shaving in the underarm area, a problem that mostly afflicts women with light to medium skin (dark skin hides blemishes and discoloration easily). Sorry, but this is hardly another Fair & Lovely product trying to bring down women of color or something.

  17. as indians move up the economic chain, and darker skin get correlated with athleticism and leisure (vs. physical labor or farming), things will change. As people like sania mirza and saina nehiwal become role models, there is a whole different point of view about darker skin..

    BTW, all the indian richies are dark skinned, I have yet to see an indian billionaire with that pasty bollywood hero look. I have a feeling thats gonna have an impact too…

  18. No different than the pressure on girls to shave our legs, tweeze eyebrows, wear makeup, etc. Women started shaving legs because dresses got shorter, and no one wanted to be teased for hairy legs.

    Fair point, but those issues do not touch on phenotype, which speciously corresponds to race and ethnicity to the average human. Skin bleaching products DO. That compounded with the fact that this campaign is glaringly targeted at young people (namely females) is what is so offensive. “Be insecure! Really, it’s the popular thing to do.” DENIED.

    Pop culture is also to blame though, I notice that the lighter skinned black women like Beyonce or Halle Berry are viewed as beautiful while darker skinned black females as scorned.

    Sorta, not really. Beyonce is not all that bright (complexion…it’s a Black term), which is why there was such controversy over her whitening on the Cosmo cover (and Vogue, too, I think). Plenty of darker ladies get cover time. It’s other aspects that are favored, though, by mainstream audiences: straight hair (preferably with bangs), big baby doll eyes, small nose, high-but-shallow brow. You’ll see a dark skinned lady with these features sooner than you’ll see a lighter one without them.

    • I disagree with your comment Paul about Beyonce and Halle Berry. I have noticed that Beyonce and Halle Berry are indeed placed on a pedestal because they basically look closer to the white image than most black women. Halle Berry is mixed race and Beyonce’s mother is creole. I doubt, if Beyonce and Halle Berry weren’t mixed that heterosexual men would praise them on their beauty or place them on a pedestal. Heterosexual men are to blame for scorning darker skinned women while placing lighter skinned women on a pedestal.

  19. “Fair point, but those issues do not touch on phenotype, which speciously corresponds to race and ethnicity to the average human. Skin bleaching products DO. That compounded with the fact that this campaign is glaringly targeted at young people (namely females) is what is so offensive. “Be insecure! Really, it’s the popular thing to do.” DENIED.”

    You don’t think body hair corresponds to race? Of course it does. African American, East Asian, and Native American women have less body hair on average compared to White, Middle Eastern, Desi and Latina women. Body hair is genetic like anything else. I really don’t see how this product is any more offensive than the thousands of other beauty products that target insecurities girls have about their looks.
    About phenotype: this product addresses an issue most common to women with light to tan complexions. Dark skin hides discoloration well, partly why darker women age better, so the idea that this is targeted mostly to women of color is ridiculous to me.

  20. Also wanted to share a quote from this article I really like: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/01/skin-whitening-death-thailand

    “More worryingly, it condemns a new generation of Asians to grow up deeply insecure about the colour of their skin… Skin-whitening products are a disease – it’s time to eradicate them.”

    I’ll be damned if my 10 year old cousin is made to feel bad because she’s a touch darker than the rest of her siblings. I’m so done with this skin-lightening nonsense. It took me a whole year of constantly complimenting her for her to accept that she was pretty. Before that she was constantly teased for her skin-color by her siblings, who learned it from their parents, aunts and uncles. Unacceptable. Perceptions of beauty are learned.

    • Hope your young cousin is not listening to the negative messages and getting a positive self image. Coming from her family, of all people. The people who should be encouraging her to be her best and let her know she is accepted for being herself, etc…..Some kids grow up to be stronger but some just get crushed as a result of the teasing. My mother, who is much more “tanned” than her family, was in a similar situation to your young cousin 60 years ago in India. Too bad human nature to demean another & bully hasn’t changed much over the decades.

      Back in the 1940′s when my mom was growing up, she told me that all of her uncles, aunts, cousins and 2 of her 3 siblings made fun of her dark skin. She told me she would laugh it off. Then 20 years later when she grew up and relocated to America for work, she sacrificed big time, and sent big bucks, educated and sponsored all of the good for nothing, able bodied, dumbass relatives who scoffed at her dark skin. Even though she got her brother and sister & 2 nieces and 1 nephew to this country years ago, she continues to help pay their bills, vacations, insurance, private school fees for their kids, etc, to this day, otherwise they’d be on welfare or turn into criminals. Even her own mother, my maternal grandmother, favored her paler older sister. But it was ONLY my mother, “the dark one”, who took care of her mother very well into her old age. Sorry for the digression.

      Now about this deodorant and especially the skin whitening products. The marketing and commercials are just horrendous. I just saw one of the commercials for the fair and lovely product on youtube and now I am a bit disgusted. Not only about the rotten message that your own natural skin color is no good, but we don’t know the dangers of the skin cream. Why mess with nature – sometimes it can lead to something terrible. What is the lead & impurities content, what are the long term side effects, and is there something like an FDA to test these products in India? (Unsure, but I think Nivea is or was a German or American brand/company originally – needs to be googled)

  21. Sorry I called you Taz!

    “I see this Nivea ad telling girls like myself that if we don’t have “light” underarms, we should keep ourselves covered. Why? I’ll wear a sleeveless dress if I feel like it, Nivea. You’ll just have to deal with my “unsightly” underarms. Who decided that the ideal standard of human beauty was underarms or whatever body part that matched the pigment on my face? Not me.”

    Ok, good for you, but how is this any different than ads telling girls that if we don’t have hairless legs, we should keep ourselves covered? Who decided that the ideal standard of human beauty was hairless legs? Isn’t having body hair a sign that a woman has reached puberty and is no longer a little girl? And yet, as we all know, walking around the US in June, you’ll see women everywhere revealing smooth hairless legs. Sorry, but I would feel hypocritical condemning this product when I myself use other beauty products regularly. To me this is no different than using a facial product for even skin tone.

    Being Desi, I’m completely aware of the “fair is lovely” hype but I frankly do not think this can be equated to dangerous skin bleaching creams that kill folks in Thailand. Also, your hyperlink led to a page that explicitly stated “No Whitening Products” on the Nivea India page. This does not seem to be marketed specifically to women of color. If you google “dark underarms” you’ll see thousands of queries revealing that all sorts of women have been looking to fight discoloration there as a result of shaving. Of course, what Nivea doesn’t want women to know is that rather than bleach, the real fix would be to simply stop shaving underarms…

    • Yes! Glass houses offer a panoramic view of the social-justice landscape, however, so don’t discount the emotional impact of seeing the word, “white” in an advert for any cosmetic product–it’s as noticeable as a single pair of furry legs or torsos on a crowded beach. I’m sure the illustrious Akbar could’ve put it a different way: http://www.scribd.com/doc/26500059/Akbar-aur-Birbal-Comics

  22. ‘Maybe it’s a trivial issue. Maybe you think it’s an overreaction, but I don’t support a brand that exploits a culture already prone to fairness fears and I don’t think a huge media conglomerate like MTV India should either. It’s irresponsible to the young consumers they serve.”

    I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. But you do realize many people who haven’t seen this ad find their unmatching underarms to be unsightly? I remember when I was around 12 going through puberty, I noticed my underarms were a lot darker and I was absolutely disgusted by them (though it didn’t stop me from wearing sleeveless shirts). This was before I heard anything about skin lightening. Now I’ve grown and my underarms managed to match the rest of my skin. My point is, a lot of people will find this product (assuming it even works) helpful, yes even to their self esteem.

    Also, this is how consumer culture (read:capitalism) functions. Sometimes it creates new things for people to be self conscious about, but many times it simply caters to them. It teaches people to strive for physical perfection and like you said, live in an airbrushed reality.

  23. “Well if you google the product, it seems to have gotten poor reviews, the consensus being it is a good deodorant, but doesn’t lighten underarms. And I would be very wary of using such a product on an area it’s not intended for – especially girls who may attempt to use the cream in their undereye or bikini area, both of which are delicate and sensitive.”

    I have a photo session planned, and certain parts of my body are slightly discolored from others, to put it lightly, I look like a box of lucky charms. So I am in DIRE need of some color shifting quickly. because I have a very important photo session planned.

  24. I feel there is so much pressure placed on women of colour to transform themselves into the white image of beauty. I don’t think some men of colour understand the extreme pressure women of colour encounter. Women are told from an early age that the be acceptable is to basically conform to the white image. The films, magazines, and television shows consistently present that the white image is the only acceptable image for women.

    Although people can claim this issue isn’t a big one it really is. I can only speak about what I know from what I have heard from black women. The pressure to look white such as getting the hair permed to be straight and all that stuff is an ongoing issue. Chris Rock made a documentary about this called Good Hair a few years ago. I think the documentary Dark Girls exposes the dirty laundry in the black community about the pressure to conform to whiteness.

  25. Phillygrrl: I think it’s great that you touched on this issue. I think if Sepiamutiny was solely dedicated to abolishing the light-skinned stereotypes, it still wouldn’t be enough. The more exposure this gets, the better.

    The issue here is not that fair skin is akin to body hair, pimples, freckles, etc. The issue is that fairness products have created an identity that people are trying to buy. They are not buying the products to get fair skin. Do you EVER see commercials in the West about how some girl has freckles and her boyfriend dumps her because she has freckles? Then she gets depressed, buys a freckle cream to get rid of them and now her boyfriend wants her back? When Jessica Simpson endorses Proactiv, she talks about how having pimples affected her image about herself. She did not say “Well, people stopped coming to my concerts, I started making less money, and my husband left me and I’m a huge failure at life because of my pimples”. This is the tactic that fairness products in India are using against Indians. According to these advertisements, your fairer counterparts will get married faster than you, will go on more job interviews, will snag more boyfriends, and the whole world will stare at you while you glide across the room. This is a very, very serious issue. When Katrina Kaif who is not Indian, advertises how she got fair skin due to using fairness products, you have a whole host of young girls thinking they will be as white as her. It is possible to get rid of your body hair, for your pimples to go away, I believe I last read that Nandita Das was trying to push for stronger enforcement of Ethical Advertising Regulations.

    Last year I lived in India for 1 year and the only thing that I can come up with is to have a huge Public Service Ad Campaign that counteracts these television commercials. If anyone would want to help me brainstorm some ideas about this campaign, please leave a comment so I can get in touch with you.

  26. At some point in Western history, being dark was bad, it meant you spend time working outside, thus not a good catch. Now people get tanned, means they have the money to travel south in the winter thus displaying wealth and a good catch. Similar to why Chinese people walk around in their PJs during the day in cities, displays independent wealth.

    • “Now people get tanned, means they have the money to travel south in the winter thus displaying wealth and a good catch.”

      Actually I thought that it meant they were more healthy. Sedentary anti-social folk tend to stay indoors and stay very pale while active athletic extroverts are outside and tend to get tanned.

  27. Dark skin hides discoloration well, partly why darker women age better, so the idea that this is targeted mostly to women of color is ridiculous to me.

    Melanin also reduces the damage that sunlight can do to your skin.

    Last year I lived in India for 1 year and the only thing that I can come up with is to have a huge Public Service Ad Campaign that counteracts these television commercials.

    Why exactly is this the great battle of our times? Seriously, it’s cosmetics. Every society is going to have cultural beauty standards. Is there an actual compelling case for this to be worth anyone’s time or can I just safely file this under White Whine?

  28. my mother and sister have completely even skin – translucent Jat skin with natural pink in the cheeks – no dark patches ( i asked them and i’ve seen their knees, elbows etc) my dad (Jat also of course)is so translucent he gets sunburns (red) – he has brown hands/white feet -twice i’ve burned (reddened by sun – caused by quack medication i think)- my skin is mostly even– as simple as exfoliation and moisturization – women’s thighs shouldn’t touch – one has to be in shape and stay in shape otherwise the skin touches and darkens/chafes – it takes at least 28 days to notice a difference as that’s the cycle for skin cell renewal – a bit longer the “worse” the problem – do this religiously – lemon/baking powder/besan/oatmeal is great -i know this works because i’ve tried it – also, don’t obsess over it: the more these little things are ignored, the faster they get better – the body has an incredible healing power: harness it – stay away from quacks and quack products – don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth – i always thought the word “desi” referred to clarified butter – ghee is great for massage – don’t cook with oil – it stinks and is not sattvic – drink raw milk etc. cultivate pyar(love) for the divine with total dhyan/1pointed concentration/aka zen) and you will develop bhaag – a very rare but to die for kind of beauty – extend love to all of creation&the Creator otherwise it’s not love, just false attachement. (also, waxing naturally exfoliates – shaving damages skin – it doesn’t hurt if you breathe and the hair has been trimmed – otherwise just leave the hair be – to reiterate: dress modestly – it’s much more beautiful than the undershirts that pass for shirts and dresses that look like slips – skin above the bosom is more delicate than skin on hands – protect it – for that matter hands should be covered depending on where you live – vitamin d can be had by exposing forearms – only mongoloids/negroids and some albinoids ie. some euros appear hairless and the mongoloid/negroid mix (ie. hebrew) – forearm hair is quite lovely and desirable – an italian study has proven sunscreen is carcinogenic – avoid the company of hypocrites even if they are family members.. it’s not just the desert/abhrahamic paths that demand modesty – check out hinduism.co.za: any women that arouses lust in a man’s heart due to her clothing incurs the sin – not the man – the gyani at the Gurughar where i lived agrees and so do iranian Masters. the aesthetic of hairless skin is arab (they’ve mixed somewhat with sub-saharan africans- my german acquaintances don’t shave nor does my punjabi mother – iran was influenced by arabic concepts of aesthetics that’s why the remove body hair, or so i’ve heard – unmarried iranians don’t touch their eyebrows and on a sikh site i heard leaving eyebrows natural increases pleasure (close to third eye – my mother and sister have never touched their eyebrows – i made the mistake of letting an italian aesthetician “do” my eyebrows because she was begging me – what i’m trying to say is that which is natural is more beautiful because it is more divine – television, internet uglify – listen to music/make music that’s better. bye for now – have a safe&fun-filled summer everyone

  29. YogaFire: Everyone has their goals in life for the battles they want to fight and the issues they want to tackle. It might not be your personal goal but it is one of mine. Exactly what kind of compelling case do you need to judge what’s worthy of your time? If it’s not “cosmetics” why not move on to another topic instead sifting through the comments here? I’m not sure about you but to me it feels really good to find a cause that you want to work towards.

  30. For those women of color – black, Indian, hispanic, whatever- this is not a big issue. You want to feel good about your underarms, just be happy you are not as digusting as the character Monique plays in Precious where she is in some ridiculously tight outift sweating with hairy unsightly underarms in front a of TV.

    Speaking of that movie, Monique has some weird white chalky like complexion at the end of the movie like somoene took some heavy dose of baby powder and applied it on her face.

  31. Poem: “Unforgivable Brownness”

    My mind must be sick A higher concentration of melanin is a curse It’s far from a gift By most racist, I guess we are being viewed as less than this shit An untouchable, uncomfortable, unforgivably brown A mascot for the ills and the perils of life I think I’ve had enough.

    I think I want to be white.

    I want an English arrogance I’m not trying to be funny I want to look you in the eye and tell you this is mine country Racially privileged, so I’m better than you When whites sets the odds, who’s betting on you Whites sets the rules and the terms and the laws My dictionary states that whites is spiritually pure The ability to walk free over all of God’s land Never considered a suspect, not even with blood stained hands

    White right, so I can tell other races they’re wrong Look down a straight nose and ask us, why browns can’t get along I want to sing “Rule Britannia” embedded with pride And know that no one has ever made slaves with the white man

    I want to be white.

    My sister feels the same Because she straightens her hair and bleaches her face Refuses to go out on dates with men of her own race A demonstration of self-hate of which she’s unashamed

    Prejudgments have labeled us aggressive and tactless An unwelcome guest because of my unforgivable brownness Brain washed to believed that we are the wretched of the Earth So every-time I glances inside a mirror, it hurts.

  32. @Meera: I don’t think my bottle of La Mer does this: From Unilever Fair & Lovely

    “All the active ingredients in the Fair & Lovely formulation function synergistically to lighten skin color through a process that is natural, reversible and totally safe.” The picture above the text makes it pretty clear that the product is not targeted toward people with local skin discoloration.

  33. Pingback: Your Questions About White Skin | Bleaching Of Skin

  34. this is probably my final comment – has anyone noticed how certain flowers especially roses become deeper in colour as one gets closer to the center of the rose? it can be like that with body parts and the skin covering them – i prefer to use the word leather instead of skin – in punjabi the word for skin is the same as the word for leather – that’s why i avoid leather whenever possible – people think people are obsessed with the coloration – some are, most aren’t – what’s inside is important – the cleanliness/chastity – i find it a sad how some societies promote unchaste behaviour and then “reclaim their chastity” – what a joke – what barbarism – anyway, some flowers become darker in colour towards the center – some body parts are variegated shades of brown – let’s face it, the warmth of brown is peerless – matchless – desert sand/arctic snow represent infertility and coldness – death, just like black – yellow in traditional english thought stands for cowardice – interesting as in vedic symbolism yellow can be associated with senseless violence and cruelty – (vrishik) – to reiterate brown has links to bliss and ultimate freedom- mukti. getting back to skin care – one would be surprised at the wonders of exfoliation with correct sattvic ingredients and ghee massage helps with everything, including insomnia – everyone, just ignore the ignorant “people” out there who make cruel comments about brown – violet+green creates brown – violet is divinity/royalty and green is bliss (Nature) – nothing beautifies quite like Naam. Namaste