From the New York Times
What Is the Color of Beauty?A multibillion-dollar industry of skin-whitening products dominates the West African beauty market, creating a world of mixed messages for the women who live there.By HELENE COOPER NOV. 26, 2016ACCRA, Ghana — … Here in the heart of the multibillion-dollar industry of products in West Africa that are meant to whiten skin, it is a world of mixed messages. Women are now being told that it is wrong, and even illegal, to bleach their skin. At the same time, they are flooded with messages — and not even subliminal ones — that tell them that white is beautiful.On Aug. 1, Ghana’s Food and Drug Authority began a ban on certain skin-whitening products that include hydroquinone, a topical ingredient that disrupts the synthesis and production of the melanin that can protect skin in the intense West African sunshine. With some estimates putting the number of women in West Africa using lightening cream at 70 percent in some places, officials say they are worried there could be a sharp uptick in skin cancer because these products attack the skin’s natural protective melanin.But the ban in Ghana hasn’t extended to removing the countless billboard advertisements on how to get “perfect white” skin. Nor have the creams and lotions disappeared from stores. In the Makola Market here, endless shops and stalls had walls filled with potions dedicated to the lightening of skin. There is Ultra Fair Super Whitenizer
“Whitenizer” is a great word. I feel deprived that I’ve never seen it before.
by Caring Chemistry promising “restorative ultrafast action whitening” and Grace White 100% Double Action Whitening Body Lotion by Grace White Cosmetique that even features helpful before-and-after photos; the “before” photo is a light-brown pair of legs, crossed, while the “after” shot shows white legs.Nor, for that matter, have men here suddenly abandoned their decades-long pursuit of light-skinned women. Most of them won’t say so. But it’s long been the case here that the higher in society the man, the more likely his wife or girlfriend will have light skin. Do a Google-image search of “wives of African presidents” (“professional football players” and “wealthy businessmen” can also be substituted). …For my part, I am a native of Liberia, but a descendant of the freed American slaves who colonized the country in 1822 and who had mated at one point or another with American whites, so I’m more of a coffee with milk, considered light-skinned by West African standards.
This isn’t a bad article as far as these kind of things go, but it is pretty funny how women journalists of color like to slip in a mention of how they aren’t actually quite so dark. For example, also from the NYT
A Latina Disney Movie Princess? The Wait Isn’t OverBy MONICA CASTILLO NOV. 25, 2016 …When it came to Disney princess movies, my sister and I had very different experiences. It was always easier to find a princess who looked the way I do, because I was born with much paler skin than anyone in our family.