BEAUTY TALK: Dencia's Negative Exploitation Of Beauty
The issue of skin lightening has always been and will always be a subject that initiates an immediate reaction of disgust, concern and disappointment - depending on the eye with which you choose to look at it. I've always been one to refrain from the taking part in criticism that I feel is more of an attack towards a person, rather than an objective analysis of their actions, hence why, it was not reported here on Afronoire. This was because I didn't want to limit the article to a non-constructive and condemning criticism of Dencia and to play a part in the popularisation of her product and contribute, (again) to its obvious negative exploitation of beauty.
It doesn't say buy whitenicious and look like Dencia, it says 'say goodbye to dark spots and hyper pigmentation'
In her interview with Channel 4, Dencia and her 'I can do whatever I want' attitude with which she expressed her views immediately shuts down any willing listener; it shows irresponsibility as a business-woman as well as brand insecurity. Her aggressive-like approach to defend 'Whitenicious' appears to hint at a subconscious guilt and is a poor attempt at emphasising that her product doesn't encourage the whitening of one's skin colour.
This product is after all a business initiative and the negative press surrounding it, beneficial PR. If we are to look at its branding and the meaning of branding as what it once were and what it is today, it is that branding is a symbol of consistency hence why today, it is ubiquitous. The name and the image of the product achieves the branding goal of connecting to the emotions of a group of people. But it seems Dencia is hell-bent on convincing and imposing on those who are concerned about, and have criticised her product that their interpretation of its function is wrong when, the message 'say good bye to dark spots and hyper pigmentation' next to the 'whitened' image of herself and the name of the product itself are all signifiers, signifying that the product is supposed to make one appear white(r) and 'delicious'.
Initial reactions to the images were of disappointment and worry because I was able to immediately recognise the dangerousness of popularising this product and the effects it would have on young, mature women and men whom after having been influenced by the complexity of the western standards of beauty, will run to this new product, hailing it as a solution to their problem - this problem being the colour of their skin.
It's no secret that many of us are being plagued the psychological impact of slavery and colonialism and of course neo-colonialism. This psychological plague is evident in the words we use to describe ourselves when it comes to our hair, the colour of skin and in our adopted discriminatory attitudes towards each other. Though these words: 'nappy' 'tough' 'blick' 'lighty' 'darky', 'oreo' may not upon utterance appear to have a grave impact on the utterer and its receiver, but can result in a subconscious internalisation which leads to the exhibition of negatively-motivated actions that are many-at-times reflective of an inner self-dislike.
Freedom is our most valuable asset as human beings, we have the luxury of certainly doing whatever it is that we want but at what point must one be held accountable for their actions? It's important to always stop and ask ourselves, to which extent are we really free; what are we allowing our freedom to afford us and the impact of this use of freewill on the greater society.
People have and will continue to change the colour of their skin, long after the debate surrounding 'Whitenicious' has faded. As individuals who disagree with her actions, we must also hold ourselves accountable for the way in which we respond to what's been thrown at us. The aim should be to educate each other and have a positive outcome derive from a controversy which has publicised an issue that's rampant within African-Caribbean (as well as Asian) communities and ignored because it's considered to be a norm.
If you're feeling outraged, what are the actions you will be taking to assuage the perpetuation of this issue? Changing personal attitudes towards each other is a start. Changing our buying habits when it comes to certain beauty product will contribute to a positive change. Endorsing and praising artificial beauty ideals would be confounding, not integral and dishonest.