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1 ONDINE THREAD on Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:07 am


This thread is for ondine.......

2 Re: ONDINE THREAD on Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:00 pm


Thanks, MAHARANI! That was FAST! Very Happy

This is a "Whos, whats & whys" skin lightening thread. It isn't meant to make members 'fess-up' their reasons but to encourage a discourse around the topic. So often other topics morph into this one so I thought a separate thread might prove useful.Here goes!!

In your culture(s) of origin or the one you presently reside in, how is skin lightening treated by the society? This is a big question since in some places, like:

- Japan, it is NOT linked to 'colonialism' but has an ancient history as a female aesthetic practice (think of Geishas!).

-In India, to this day, fair skin is associated with being of a high caste & a few shades can be truly life-altering for a girl.

- In America, having a TAN is 'the' look du jour for Caucasians (that healthy outdoors California 'thing'. Ironically, the most adored female 'black' stars are tan/brown too (either naturally or chemically assisted)

Lightening has a much longer, more diverse & culturally entrenched history than does tanning (a VERY recent trend begin by Coco Chanel). Thoughts, anyone?

3 Re: ONDINE THREAD on Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:00 pm


I honestly have no idea what my immediate family feel about this subject as the topic has never arisen. I have lightened siginficantly in the past but my family have been "polite" enough not to comment or question me about it. The nearest I have gotten was my Mum suggesting that I looked like I needed a little sun.

I do not feel comfortable admitting what I am doing, amd this may stem from the fact that my origins are Jamaican and whilst in some areas it appears to not be a big deal, there is also a definite disapproval in others.

The area in London that I have lived in all my life is very mixed but is predominately caucasian. I have never come across anyone making an issue of lightening or really being interested and I doubt I ever will. Apart from maybe wanting to know how it is done, I cannot imagine anyone wanting to know anymore.

However I have been employed in areas where there have been predominately black people. At this time I also worked with a Jamiacan born female, who spent the majority of the day making derogatory remarks about individuals who she suspected were, in her terms, "bleaching" or "rubbing". This used to make me extremely uncomforatble, especially when she decided one day to loudly ask if I was doing the same !!! I did let her know that I felt that whatever someone chose to do was entirely their business, But I most definitely did not let her know what I was doing. It does make me sad that I was not able to be honest, but when someone clearly looks down on something and you have to face them on a daily basis, the easy option is not to be open about it.

4 Re: ONDINE THREAD on Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:52 am


Valued Contributor
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I am a bit like Maharani in that I have not had an open conversation about what I am doing and would not be entirely comfortable if someone asked me straight out. I have not had a conversation about what I am doing with my family but I do get the impression that they would not approve. My home area is mostly black and I have seen that those people who look like they have obviously lightened tend to get a lot of double taking, loooking back on and sniggering. I find it really rude. Even if I was not doing it myself my family brought me up better than to look down on others and openly mock them. I do feel sad that there is such a stigma to this area.

ondin I would luv to know what it is like in Canada

5 Re: ONDINE THREAD on Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:03 am


Quebec is akin to a distinct & separate nation within Canada. Montreal & the nearby suburbs are so diverse that there are no racially 'exclusive' neighbourhoods.Some areas have a greater concentration of one ethnic grp, though. The black people here aren't at all like African Americans. Most AAs have been in the US for up to 4 centuries. Here, 70% of all black people arrived after 1970! Most of the remaining 30% arrived in the 60s. Few were here before then. My father's family are in the 1% or so who emigrated here in 1900.

There's no sense of 'one' community & no need for it. Most came from French Africa: Senegal, Congo, Niger & Cote D'Ivoire or French Caribbean (Haiti). Speaking French makes integrating in much easier! We also have Jamaicans & Bajans BUT I've never met an 'African American' living here.

There's no heavy racial polarization or even 'consciousness'. The perpetuation & preservation of the French language is what's salient here. We are surrounded by a sea of Anglos & we refuse to assimilate.

How does this affect views re skin? Firstly, there are no skin bleaching products in regular stores here except a few 'age spot' type creams for Caucasians (2% HQ, AHAs etc)QCers are BIG on having a tan & QC overflows with tanning salons & creams, sprays, gels etc. Many dark people use these to get a glow & to look more evenly toned. If a person here were to speak of bleaching out their colour, the likely response from a white person would be utter bafflement & confusion. Hating people because of colour alone never gibed with QC culture. CULTURAL & linguistic differences are more likely to cause tension.

People new here from India & The Middle East are BIG on lightening as their cultures value 'fairness'. They understand bleaching & get their products in their ethnic stores or on line. There isn't an obsession with US celebs & few here care about them much so the whole MJ/Rihanna/Beyonce light/dark 'thing' is unheard-of. This has a liberating effect: I never even think about what others will think or how they'll react to me. As a mixed person in a very mixed & diverse family, anything goes.

6 Re: ONDINE THREAD on Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:35 pm


Valued Contributor
Valued ContributorPrivileged
Sounds like an ideal environment for being able to get on with a skin care routine without having to deal with criticsm, mocking or disapproval. Even when I go into an afro shop I am careful not to go down the skin lightening aisle as I don't want anyone looking me up and down deciding whether this is what I am doing. The couple of things I have gotten have always been when the shop is quiet. I am so thankful that items can be purchased on line. How are your family about skin lightening, like your Mum for instance? I am sure mine would not be happy about it but have never had a direct conversation about it.

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