8 comments on “African beauty and the beast

  1. Hey Graham Askey! I googled “skin lightening advertisements in Africa” and luckily ran into your blog! I would like to use some of these images for a paper I will be writing on the usage of skin lightening creams in Africa today and its tie to colonialism, is this fine by you? Also, would you mind telling me what countries these advertisements hail from specifically? Very cool work/ great commentary!


  2. There are some terrifying ingredients in skin whitener and the chemicals in hair relaxer will dissolve a coke can if left on long enough – that is the stuff that is put on the heads of children.


      • I don’t know where you’d draw the distinction between social pressure to confirm to beauty ideals and personal choice to confirm to beauty ideals. They feed and feast on the one another.


      • Should rephrase the question: are some women actively making an issue of the social/advertising pressure and made it a talking point or is it generally accepted as just another beauty treatment.


      • Like in all cultures there is a counter-beauty culture, ie some people do seek a to develop a tan.
        From what I gather, there don’t seem to be a lot of discussion about skin whitening being very different to other beauty treatments, but I have to admit that I miss a lot of conversations around these issues because I don’t understand Vietnamese well enough to read magazine articles, join in cafe discussions, etc.


      • Thanks for the insight. It seems to have come more of an issue in Africa because it goes to the core of African/Black identity, which is less true in East Asia, though I suspect in India the issue of caste comes into it. With a large African diaspora in the West the internet has opened up discussion of such subjects in recent times and there are plenty of African women who sit firmly on either side of the argument but as you say it’s all inter connected.


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