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NO BLEACHING ALLOWED: Fashion Week Bans Models Who Bleach Skin

Bleaching Gone Bad

Bleaching Gone Bad

This is the kind of news that gives you hope in the reversal of our collective self-destruction. Adama Ndiaye–aka Adama Paris–has become my new idol. She is the founder of Dakar Fashion Week in Senegal and during the recent opening  declared that she had banned skin-bleaching models from the week-long event.

This is what I call real revolution. Creating our own platforms and making our own rules.

Many of my aunts skin-bleach. My church is full of women with yellow faces and black hands. One of my aunts bleaches so well that I was almost fooled–having not seen her consistently since toddler-hood. It seems that those who use the pills versus the creams see more believable results. And are probably more likely to get cancer or have heart problems. Praying for my aunts.

Upon searching for “Skin whitening pills” you will get many more links to suppliers than you will research or commentary =( Want some? Buy some here, here, oh and here. But don’t stop there, the stuff is everywhere. Good luck finding stuff on the dangers.

The most interesting thing to me about skin bleaching is that this is a verb that can not effectively be used in past tense. Did you know? Skin bleachers have to continue the process for life because when they stop using the creams, their skin takes on an even darker complexion than what it was to begin with. I have so much to say on this topic, but for now I will leave it at this article below from Reuters. My commentary in teal.

Dakar fashion week takes stand against skin bleaching

(Reuters) – Backstage at Dakar Fashion Week a group of young women squeeze into impossibly high heels while others sit still as make-up artists paint their eyelids a shining emerald color.

Look At That Skin

Look at that skin. How can you tell me that is not God[ess]?

All legs and cheekbones, the models are subject to the same pressures as their counterparts walking runways in London, Paris, and New York. And perhaps more.

Like many women from the streets of Senegal, some fashion models in West Africa have bleached their skin, seeking to achieve a “café au lait” color regarded by some as the aesthetic ideal.

This year, however, Senegal’s marquee fashion event is making a stand against the damaging practice.  Damaging psychologically and physically. Self hatred is a drug…

“I am against it,” said Adama Ndiaye, better known as Adama Paris, who started the annual fashion fete in 2002.

Ndiaye announced at the opening of Dakar Fashion Week that she had banned any models using skin depigmentation cream from participating in the six-day event.

A local newspaper, Sud Quotidian, claimed more than 60 percent of Senegalese women use skin bleaching products for non-medical reasons. What the heck is a medical reason for bleaching your skin? Vitiligo? How about we find a cure in the bush? I hope that’s the only possible “medical” reason, even though I don’t want to consider it one.

Women of all classes and education levels use these often unregulated skin creams. Well-heeled and unshod women across Senegal bare the tell-tale signs of long-term bleaching – blotches of discolored skin on their arms and faces. That’s because they’re using the cheap stuff.

skin-bleaching-gone-bad

“mercury in skin lightening products also causes skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.” – Vanguard

“I’m trying to teach them to like themselves,” said Ndiaye of the natural-toned models selected for this year’s show.

Self-esteem is not the only issue at stake, according to dermatologist Fatoumata Ly.

“In my practice, I see a huge number of women with complications from this practice,” Ly said.

Women often use prescription-strength corticosteroid creams to lighten their skin, she said.

“When absorbed into the blood stream, corticosteroids pose serious risks, particularly for the heart,” she said. Skin cancer is also a potential side effect.

This year’s collections emphasized sleek minimalist designs, in forceful primary colors and jet blacks, with designs targeting international women. Models strutted in towering Louboutin platform pumps down a runway inside a luxurious nightclub.

The African designers showcasing their talents hailed Ndiaye’s public stance at the event, which ended on Sunday.

Sophie Nzinga Sy, a couturier educated at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in New York, was infuriated when she saw huge billboards promoting skin lightening products springing up around Dakar.

“It was ridiculous,” she said of the blanched face used in the advertising campaign. “Our skin is something that we should value.”

This woman did her one better in saying: 

“Society is constantly telling us that fair-skinned women are beautiful – in the media, on TV – and Senegalese women have started to believe it,” Deme added. “So we want to show that dark-skinned women are really beautiful, and that natural black skin should be celebrated.”( Aisha Deme, Entrepreneur, Dakar )

Sidling nervously between hair and make-up stations, models also expressed their support for Ndiaye’s initiative. “I think it’s a great idea,” said Dorinex Mboumba. “It will discourage others from the practice.”

“We don’t need to change the color of our skin to be beautiful.”   How about “our skin is gorgeous. The notion of bleaching it is insanity.”?

The Adama Ndiaye

The Adama Ndiaye

For Ndiaye herself, the stand against skin bleaching largely boils down to aesthetics.

“It’s not even pretty,” she said. “For me, it’s just a turn off.”

I sincerely hope her politics are deeper than this offline…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Re)Sources:

Uproar in Dakar over billboards promoting bleaching:

http://www.biyokulule.com/view_content.php?articleid=5534 (They didn’t know that the new Senegalese don’t get down with that BS. That incredible Black skin…bleached away…?

Dangers of skin bleach components:

http://odili.net/news/source/2012/jan/27/325.html

Fashion Ghana repost:

http://www.fashionghana.com/site/skin-bleaching-models-were-banned-from-dakar-fashion-week-2013/

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