The other day we spoke about the different standards of beauty between men and woman. This made me think about the about the standards between African Americans as well as Caribbean people and White people in American society.
After discussing this I started thinking about the standards of beauty in the Caribbean culture and how warped it has become. In a country such as Jamaica the people there are predominately Black. Many would think that the racism in a place like this would be less apparent, but that is absolutely wrong. There is a huge gap between the lighter skin Jamaicans and the darker skinned Jamaicans. This discrepancy has led to some extreme measures which include skin lighting. Jamaicans with darker skin use bleaching creams that can be harmful to one’s health. These skin bleaching creams can contain dangerous chemicals which include hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is an organic compound than can cause onchronosis which ironically is a skin condition where the skin becomes tough and darker. Skin bleaching has been around for a long time but more recently it has been on the rise due to a famous reggae singer, Vybz Kartel, which has proudly admitted to bleaching his skin. Below is a before and after picture of the reggae artist.
Reading about skin bleaching in Jamaica brought me back to the skin issues that many face in the United States. Skin bleaching is not very common in American but the world of tanning surely is. I cannot personally relate to tanning but it has come to my attention this is the most desirable look for many Caucasian and people of European decent. Although tanning in the sun as well as in the tanning booths are extremely harmful to the skin, it seems that some are obsessed with making their skin darker. Contrary to the standard of beauty of the people in Jamaica, darker or more bronzed skin is the more desirable in the United States.
So is just that we each have different standards of beauty or is it deeper? Is this a form of self loathing that many aspire to change their naturally given skin color?