Skin Bleaching and Body Dysmorphia

Hello my gorgeous fudgies!

I recently learned about skin bleaching from a black friend of mine. We were discussing body dysmorphia, which is a mental disorder that makes one believe their appearance is unacceptable and must be corrected. We were trying to find the line between typical bodily insecurities and BDD, when my friend suggested as an example of BDD "skin bleaching".

Being as pale a white girl as one can get before being transparent, I did not quite understand what she meant. She then went on to explain that in the colored community, sometimes a lighter skin tone is considered more beautiful than a dark one, or at least that's what the media seems to be saying. So some women of color, and even men, decide to bleach their skin with all types of toxins and chemicals to lighten their complexion.

Now I must preface this discussion by saying a few things:
1. I am white, so my understanding of the light black vs dark black situation can only be superficial, as I haven't experienced it first hand.
2. I know that skin bleaching can actually be done in a safe manner, supervised by doctors, for health related reasons. Lightening moles and dark spots that could be cancerous, or evening out the spots of someone who suffers from vitiligo.
Taking these 2 facts into consideration, I still want to discuss this issue with you all.

Firstly, the continuing devaluation of darker girls and boys is simply a product of the still ever present vestiges of racism. After all, back when Africans were brought to the Americas to be enslaved, they were incredibly dark, which is an evolutionary product of sun exposure.

As mixed children were being brought to this earth, and African-Americans slowly but surely earned rights to get off the cotton and sugar plantations, I can understand why a lighter skin tone could signify wealth, status and proximity to a white person, who was, at the time and sadly still to this day, considered superior.

But it's 2015, Gabby! Things have changed!
Have they?

Take a long look at this year's Oscar  nominees for best Actor and Actress in a leading or supporting role. As milky white as racism gets, children.
And I won't even bring up the problem of police brutality, because if you don't believe there is institutionalized racism in this country after these events, then you never will.

However, one has to wonder whether skin bleachers are simply a product of their society, or do they suffer from a greater body dysmorphia? After all, only a minority of WOC participate in skin bleaching.

Well, I'd argue it's both.
There are many reasons to feel attacked by the media if you are a darker skinned girl. But like eating disorders, there has to be an opening. An opening in your brain, a vulnerability, a lack of familial support, an already present insecurity, in order for something so vicious as an ED or BDD to sliver its way in to a person's core.

I only know so much, so I'd really appreciate it if you left a comment on your thoughts and experiences with skin bleaching.



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