Two sides, two arguments and one possible resolution?
When it comes to whitening, the beauty debate is never-ending. On one side, you have those who shout “Love the skin you’re in.” On the other, you have people that inject, swallow and slather on every beauty product that promises glowing skin.
Both sides have their points, as well as their supporters, their haters and their I-couldn’t-care-less-ers. But in a beauty debate that’s as heated as this, who comes out right in the end?
A look at the beauty industry
The whitening market is as immense as it is successful. Every beauty brand seems to have their own version of a whitening product, whether that’s a bar of soap, a pill, an injection or some other procedure. They throw in science in their write-ups and beautiful faces in their commercials and we absorb it all—subconsciously or not.
Some say its exploitation of an insecurity we’ve had for decades and are still trying to shake. After all, a quick look at the roster of talent from local networks seems to prove we still prefer the mestiza over the morena. But is this a bad thing? Or is it a simple case of “The grass is greener on the other side”? After all, we’ve seen Westerners go to great length to get a tan that comes so naturally to some of us.
It is no longer about getting fairer skin;
or, at least, it shouldn’t be.
An international phenomenon
You can blame our colonizers and our history for what some may call our “distorted” understanding of beauty. Centuries under Spanish rule had our people feeling like second-rate citizens in our own country. Those that belonged to the higher class were whiter for the simple fact that they were either of mixed race or could afford not to work under the sun. Those with darker skin, however, started to be associated with hard labor.
But it isn’t just us and our history. The Chinese, for example, have long associated whiter skin with nobility, elegance and—consequently—beauty. Even in western countries, the terminology of “blue blood” came to be because of aristocrats whose skin was so white that their blue veins eventually became visible.
Then you argue that it’s 2018 and we are no longer controlled by a European country and should no longer fall “victim” to their standards of beauty—and that is exactly the point.
Owning our own definition of beauty
It is no longer about getting fairer skin; or, at least, it shouldn’t be. Marketers have replaced “whiter” with “brighter,” “young” and “radiant” and brands have opted for morena faces commercial after commercial and contract after contract for the simple fact that the definition of beauty is starting to change.
It’s about damn time, but we’ve all finally started to appreciate the novelty of brown skin. So walk out under the sun and get your some sand in your toes—just keep your skin hydrated so you stay glowing and healthy, okay?
Art Alexandra Lara