4 the World blog

Empowering collaborative communities

The Mixed Messages Surrounding Dark Girls

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I just finished watching the documentary Dark Girls 

 broadcasted on OWN.  The film depicts ” the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color particularly dark skinned women, outside of and within the Black American culture” (http://officialdarkgirlsmovie.com/).  The powerful documentary exposes bias while highlighting the beauty of women of color.  However, during the broadcast, a 2 minute infomercial on skin cream aired.  And what complexion were all the models? White.  This sends a mixed message.  Dark skin is beautiful, but not enough to be a skin model.  When children, who are more vulnerable to outside messages, mostly see fair-skinned people as representatives of beauty in the media, they can internalize this to believe that fair skin is more beautiful.  While the documentary is a good start, the commercials prove we still have a way to go.  People from the media claim that media is just a reflection of society, and that society not the media is therefore responsible for the bias.  But I say that the media has a voice and voice equals power.  With great power comes great responsibility.  The media, if being socially responsible, should use their power for good, not for perpetuating bias.   (Ok, so actually that wisdom isn’t what I say, it comes from the Bible . . . and Spiderman).

Colorism, the term used in the documentary to describe bias of darker complexion, is not just an American phenomenon.  Skin bleaching cream makes up 2/3 of the creams sold in India and 77% of women in Nigeria use a skin-bleaching cream, according to The Economist (http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2012/09/beauty-nigeria).  These statistics show how the effects of Imperialism are not just lingering but directly affect the way people think and act today.  This issue goes deeper than skin.  The history class that teaches that civilization comes from Greece and all great ideas from Europe, sends an underlying message of white supremacy.  As the African proverb stated on the documentary says, “Until the lion has a historian, the hunter will always be the hero.”  We must view our world from many different perspectives, in order to really see the truth and to see the beauty that surrounds.  Read more about Colorism at http://www.oprah.com/oprahdotcom/Colorism-and-the-True-Definition-of-Beauty.


Author: 4 the World

4 the World identifies and collaborates with communities across the globe to empower them to identify and solve the most pressing needs of their communities within the areas of health and education. By partnering with the communities in these areas, we provide critical support and capacity-building initiatives to ensure these communities are capable of continuing to grow and thrive in the future.

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