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For years, I have stated that one of the things that deeply bothers me about Asia is the prevalence of skin whitening creams.
I hate them.
I hate them for the reason why women feel they must use them.
I hate them for the reason why companies make them.
I hate them for the negative message it continues to promote to hundreds of millions of women throughout Asia.
You see in this part of the World having white skin is more than just about ‘a look’.
It’s not like in the West, where – ironically – tanned skin conveys health and wealth.
Here, the implications are far more, far reaching.
You see in Asia, there is the belief that darker looking skin means you come from a heritage of working in the fields.
And there is the belief that if you don’t take action against it, it could have huge implications on how your life – and how your future families life – could turn out.
Now I appreciate you may think this is ridiculous and people should just get over it, but in a culture where myth and legend dictate so much, these are exactly the sort of beliefs that undermine confidence and hope.
And this is why all these skin care companies have jumped on this issue.
Rather than fight against it, they love keeping the women of Asia in their cultural jail.
Hell, even Dove – the brand that talks about being happy with who you are – are in on the act.
I remember at an awards judging last year, I had a major row with a senior Unilever marketer [a male] and their agency MD [also a mle] about this very issue and apart from denying Dove had any skin whitening product [which they do, as you can see here, not to mention the countless other skin whitening products Unilever produce as you can learn more about here] they tried to mock me for my my ‘exaggerated’ concerns.
Of course I understand that if they admitted to it, they would have to accept responsibility for it and no corporate toady employee is going to do that so I simply left them with the message that they either don’t give a shit about women – which must be terrible if they have a daughter – or they’re simply incredibly ignorant about what is really going on in this part of the World and they should fire their research agency immediately.
I’ve been desperate to work with a cosmetic brand ever since I got to this part of the World so I could encourage them to take the issue on, but alas, the opportunity hasn’t arisen for me yet … so instead, I would love anyone who works with a client or agency that makes or promotes skin whitening products to sit them down, show them this video and ask them to think about what they they’ve done.
Every day they have the chance to release women from their cultural prison cell.
Every day they choose profit over their soul.
Shame on them.
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