Skin Whitening and Colonial Mentality

10 12 2009

There is a surge in the Asian community of called skin whitening, or skin bleaching. Skin whitening is the process of using chemicals to lighten one’s skin tone. This can be in a variety of ways, mainly by reducing or blocking melanin production in the body. This melanin production is a natural occurrence in our bodies and is primarily determined by our genetics. Creams, laser treatment, and chemical peels are all forms that are used to achieve this.

As a relatively new area of research and development, many chemicals have been used and since banned from the use of skin whitening, such as hydroquinone and mercury. The reality of the matter is, however, that the products are still being sold illegally. People who cannot afford mainstream treatments for skin whitening, or who are so loyal and unwaivering from a familiar product or technique, resort to using these illegal products. They have been banned because of the health dangers they present.

This dangerous fad spawns from the idea that light skinned people are more attractive than dark skinned people. The following clip is a news report from Balitang America regarding Skin Whitening. At about 1:56 into the video, their guest speaks of the skewed vision of superiority caused by colonial mentality:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD5k1bYqQiw

Colonial mentality is a form of oppression placed experienced by Filipinos and their descendants through history and change of culture. Filipino culture is oppressed and suppressed by the mentality that other cultures are more superior to them. This is a result of the Philippines being colonized and governed by many other countries, governments, and cultures over the years. While governed by others, Filipino society underwent much change, and traditions were lost either through laws or societal pressure and media. They are told to believe that their bodies, traditions, and culture are imperfect and inferior.

This notion of colonial mentality uses shame and embarrassment to lead people to resort to skin whitening, risking their health at the expense of thinking they look more beautiful in others’ eyes. This mentality is a hindrance to cultures around the world and must be put to an end.

-Arnie

PS Here’s one more video for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwgoPq4SluU

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