This topic has been discussed previously by one of my friend (Mindy) however since I got back to Jakarta again, I’ve been ‘tickled’ to write my own opinion about the very same subject.
When I watched the local TV channels here, I’m somewhat appalled by some skin whitening commercials. Why? Because it portrays being dark skinned as ugly, even dirty, it’s so ridiculous, its discrimination in a way! People here are so brainwashed to think that being ‘white’ is the way to go for girls (and for some guys too!). Waves of commercials and beauty salons offering instant ways to be white had dictated definition of what being beautiful is in this country and that is sad. Of course this industry is a huge one, probably millions of dollars yet it is kinda sad to see us women trying so hard to fit into those unrealistic beauty standards (i.e.: white skinned and supermodel like skinny).
Is this one of the reasons why these ‘indo’ (a term used to define mix kids between Indonesian-Western marriages) so-called actors/actress are so popular on TV these days even when they can’t even carry a line let alone act? Perhaps, it got something to do with the public’s perception of what beautiful is.
Being naturally dark skinned, thanks to my father’s heritage from Ambon, I have to admit that I was once fell ‘victim’ to these kinds of commercial years ago. My mother is from Manado, they have naturally lighter skin color than let’s say Javanese people. Being the only girl in the family, I used to feel bad about my dark skin because my two brothers are so light skinned they could easily pass as a ‘bule’.
I had to admit that I fell for those kinds of commercial back then, even tried one of those silly bleaching treatment in hope to make me look ‘lighter’. How stupid! Looking back now, those commercials in the old days weren’t as bad as the ones these days. Whitening adds are everywhere! One of the commercial I saw the other day featuring Dewi Sandra, totally made me laughed. Indonesians should be familiar with her and knows that she’s mixed (part Indo part British) so of course she was already born with a light skin. WOW! That’s just too ridiculous that I can’t help but laughing.
Just as too much laying around in a tanning bed can be dangerous, same thing can be applied to these whitening products. Just Google side effects of whitening products and you’d be shocked!
It wasn’t until I started working at my last job when I came to term with my dark skin features and stop trying to change it. Then when I moved to the States I realized “Wow, these people wants to be tanned they’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars at the tanning salon!” However, there’s a difference in the western counterpart commercial compare to the ones here in Indonesia. They did not degrade women with light skin as ugly or dirty, well I never seen any commercial like that in the States so I can only speak for what I’ve seen so far. In the States, I was delighted to find the perfectly right foundation for my face that won’t make me look like I’m wearing a mask the way some make-ups in Jakarta made me feel like due to lack of options for dark skin tones.
In China, I was faced with the same problems in finding a ‘regular’ facial soaps/cleanser. What I meant by regular here is the ones without any whitening effects on it. Luckily I could find some imported facial soaps/cleanser that doesn’t come with magical promises to make you more beautiful because your skin will get whiter in just 7 days!
When I went to have body scrubs here I always opted for the traditional non-whitening ones because I had fell in love with my dark skin and had accepted it as part of my heritage. Being dark skinned doesn’t make you less beautiful, ladies! Just love your skin the way it’s been blessed to you and stop throwing your money down the drain for dramatic I-want-to-be-white dreams.
You can be purple if you wish as long as you’re healthy that’s all that matters, right?