That Nordic beauty ideal again

It is an almost worldwide  form of racism and I have commented on it a couple of times before (here and here): There is a largely wordwide ideal of beauty and that ideal is Nordic. A more "incorrect" thing to note would be hard to imagine but the facts of the matter are there. One cartoonist put it rather cruelly as under:

Even Mrs Obama clearly likes the Nordic look.  All she can do towards it is to straighten her normal "nappy" mop of hair but she regularly does that. Other than that she has no Nordic attributes at all.  If her skin were white she would be seen as ugly.  She has received acceptance for political reasons only

Like it or not, the de facto worldwide standard of female beauty is Nordic -- narrow faces, fine features, white skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. Light brown hair instead of blond hair can squeak into the top standard and tanned white skin is OK but that is about the only variation accepted.

Even some Japanese ladies blond their hair.  To black males, a white wife is a trophy.

We may deplore the Nordic standard but saying that people should adopt other standards for females that they like to look at is pissing into the wind.  It won't happen.  It will have zero influence.

An episode in my life highlighted the prestige of the Nordic look. When my son was about 18 months old, we took him to Lone Pine Koala park here in Brisbane so that we could all see the Koalas.  And a lot of Japanese people go to Lone Pine to see the Koalas too.  And they come with cameras at the ready.  So when Jenny was wheeling Joey along in his stroller, that came to the attention of the Japanese.  With his paper-white skin, emerald-blue eyes and golden-blond hair he looked like an angel to them.  So Joey was as much photographed as were the Koalas.

And something that Americans and Indians will find familiar has recently become big in South Africa:  Skin bleaching.  Even where the Nordic ideal of very white skin is not available, any approach to it is seen as prestigious. Report below:

MEN and women in South Africa are turning to highly dangerous skin bleaching creams, in a desperate bid to whiten their skin and become “more successful”.

In an underground report, correspondent Tania Rashid takes viewers into the “illegal” yet booming trade of skin bleaching products.

Speaking to young men and women living in Johannesburg, the desire is simple — to create a look of “yellow bone” — which is slang for light-skinned black men and women.

While it is illegal to sell any products that claim to bleach or whiten skin in South Africa, the products are huge business.

Containing the chemical hydroquinone, the creams have been slammed and banned by dermatologists and scientists because they can lead to skin cancer and other potentially deadly skin conditions.

But the warnings do little to deter the alleged one in three men and women who use the cream across the country.

Jeff says having lighter skin is the secret to his success rate in picking up women.

“I have four numbers so far,” he boasts while on a night out, indicating that wouldn’t be the case if he had darker skin.

Part of the push is celebrities in South Africa — and around the world — turning to the bleaching creams to enhance their look.

Famous singer and rapper Mshoza, who is “an icon in South Africa” and has been using the creams for many years — says lightening her skin colour has completely changed her image, and re-energised her career.

“I can’t stop [young black girls] from doing it. They are already doing it,” she said. “I am always on the TV, I am on newspapers. They are bound to read and want to be like someone who is on TV.”

Mshoza’s manager, Xolile Sonamzi, said that celebrities need to look lighter to get more work, especially in South Africa. “It works better on screen,” he said. “It works better with make-up, and we’re selling an idealistic world out there. “In TV we have to sell a fake world. That’s our job.”

With some creams able to take skin shades three to four shades lighter, there are some variations that only allow for a slight change in colour. “It depends on how you want to look and what your goal is,” one of the women applying the product to Mshoza said.

Mshoza’s make-up artist, who is also a fan of skin bleaching, said the attention of having lighter skin is worth the risks the product may cause. “When you walk in the club and you’re yellow, people notice you,” she said.

“Yellow-bone, yellow-bone yeah she’s light skin ... you are more visible to people. And even though you go to interviews, and you’re slightly fair skinned, you will probably increase the chance of getting the job by 50 per cent. It’s got a huge impact on how people treat you.”

While stockists who sell the product can face prosecution, vendors continue to restock the product through import because of the cream’s popularity. But the problem is, as soon as the creams are confiscated, the vendors restock through import.


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