Sunday 28 December 2014

Opinion: Thankfully comfortable in our own skins

She changed herself
I came across a video on Facebook where a married and successful Cameroonian model appeared on television to talk about her experience and pride with skin lightening.
There is probably a global discussion on colour politically referred to as ‘Colorism’, I am not particularly interested in taking sides. However, reading through the Facebook comments that were posted, I could see the excoriation and the condemnation expressed by many and could very well understand their views on the matter.
Here was a heretofore stunningly beautiful woman who for whatever reasons that could not be fully expressed in that interview or any other forum, who had transmogrified into something that might be beautiful to her but less so to others.
My comment
I posted a comment to that discussion where I took a broader view of the issue along the lines below:
At which point I wonder what my skin will look like blue and my hair green.
Much as I can agree with the views expressed we should be careful not to see this matter superficially.
When I was recuperating from chemotherapy I channel-hopped to the E! Channel and saw Dr. 90210 where beautiful people had gotten into their minds they were not so beautiful that they needed cosmetic or radical change.
We link appearance with confidence down to some adverts suggesting tampons, I'm sorry, make all the difference.
The question then is whether mind, society or some other pressure led to the 'desecration' of the original beauty.
Let us be thankful we are comfortable in our own skins.
Is this harmful?
Watching the interview, I could not help but notice the look of incredulity on the face of the other lady interviewing, as if she wondered of the apparent caricature, and I use that word advisedly, was for real.
And whilst the lady might have been convinced of the change she had wrought upon herself, I was more scared of the message and the example she might represent to others less successfully or privileged that they resort to changes to their bodies that can bring lasting harm.
At a point in that interview she referenced the use of the bleaching agent hydroquinone which even in topic applications of 2% concentration is banned in the EU, at 4%, it should be prescribed and to hear of her 16% concentrations, one can only imagine the damage done to her once beautifully natural skin.
Looks quite harmful
The FDA already considers hydroquinone a potential carcinogen and according the Wikipedia reference or hydroquinone, this line is best lifted verbatim. “This conclusion was reached based on the extent of absorption in humans and the incidence of neoplasms in rats in several studies where adult rats were found to have increased rates of tumours, including thyroid follicular cell hyperplasias, anisokaryosis, mononuclear cell leukaemia, hepatocellular adenomas and renal tubule cell adenomas. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has also highlighted concerns.” [Wikipedia] [Campaign For Safe Cosmetics - Hydroquinone]
It goes without saying much as I am not an active supporter of vivisection that the results from animal testing might well indicate hydroquinone as an agent for skin bleaching is not healthy and almost conclusively very harmful, all in the quest for a form of superficial beauty or the destruction of original beauty.
Yet, for whatever reasons this lady has taken radical measures to dispense of the tone of her original skin colouration, disfigurement is too strong a word, we that have either lacked the opportunity to do so or have decided we have no need to do so should be thankful that for now, we are comfortable in our own skins.

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