Colorism-is a form of prejudice or discrimination usually from members of the same race in which people are treated differently based on the social implications from cultural meanings attached to skin color. This term was first used by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker in 1982. was defined by her to mean the prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their color. Colorism has become a problematic trend in not only China but Asian countries as a whole. With the adaptation of Colorism, beauty ideals started to change which impacted the self-confidence of young girls worldwide, therefore creating the toxic standard that the lighter you are, the more likely youll be successful, thus creating the demand for skin bleaching products.
Whereas skin bleaching is necessary in a sense for medical conditions such as hyperpigmentation, skin bleaching needs to be banned in China and the standard of beauty should be eliminated given that skin bleaching causes numerous life-threatening problems and this standard of beauty puts a hurtful mindset in women and young children’s minds and can change the way they view themselves.
China has seen tremendous growth in its consumer market since the implementation of the Open Door Policy in 1978. Thus, the Chinese cosmetics market becoming the now second-largest in the world, generating $25 billion in 2013. Skin bleaching plays an important role in this industry, accounting for one-third of all facial skin care products sold in China. While this was becoming the new social norm, the insinuation of promoting this practice goes without addressing the harmful idea that the trait of dark skin is a problem and it must be corrected.
Chinese women and young girls purchase these without knowing they are redefining what Chinse feminity is, but also bring in the teachings of self-hate.
The beauty ideal of having pale skin has been common throughout Chinese history though the importance of it was tested in varying time periods. Elitism also played a part in the making of this standard because it became a way for people to tell the rich from the poor. Farmers and laborers were outside for long hours being exposed to sun rays, therefore becoming darker in skin tone. The Elite part took in jobs strictly indoors, creating an obvious divide between the upper and lower class. Additionally, the stress on having a fair complexion can be found in ancient Chinese proverbs, literature, and writings. In the literature, attractive women were described by their skin, for example, ice, or snow commonly used
A Chinese commercial TV went viral in 2016 for its extremely racist advertising. In the commercial a black man and a young Chinese woman are flirting; as he leans in for a kiss she throws a detergent capsule in his mouth and shoves him into a washer. She sits on top of the machine as the man spins and screams inside until, to her apparent delight, out pops a handsome Chinese man dressed in a clean, white t-shirt. Colorism in China is unequivocally tied to racism against a particular group of people. A lot of Africans have moved there, but many have had complains of discrimination. This is just one example to prove that China has a serious problem that needs to be fixed. That not only brought light onto how ignorant China was when it came to race, but it also hurt its own people that have moved to their country.
Skin Bleaching has many health risks that people need to be aware of, the risks are: skin turning dark or too light , thinning of the skin , visible blood vessels in the skin, scarring, kidney, liver or nerve damage abnormalities in a newborn baby (if used during pregnancy), and the possibility of getting skin cancer. A World Health Organization study found that 40% of Chinese women regularly use skin-lightening creams. The word bleaching sounds so harsh now, that theyve started to replace the word with words like lightening or as used by the bigger companies, brightening to make it seem as if lightening your skin isnt a toxic thing to do.
The psychological toll that these young girls and women are not talked about, and swept under the rug. Being fed this narrative that to achieve success whether it be with just looks or being respected, youre skin needs to be white; destroys the confidence they have. This type of standard is one of the many reasons girls get teased or bullied in school. Teaching children this at a young age causes them to look at others that may not be as light as them as lesser and the darker children grow up with insecurities due to the bullying.