A conversation, offered via a panel discussion, will explore the roots of pressuring women from racialized communities to meet the standards of beauty defined by whiteness and white supremacism, and the effects of such pressure to their health, in church and society.
The skin whitening industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that is growing on the back of the huge business it is doing in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, and the Pacific. This industry intentionally targets African, Asian, and Indigenous descent women—women who naturally have higher amounts of melanin. According to a study by CNN, the Asia-Pacific region appears to be the most lucrative for this industry.
The percentage of women from the widely racialized communities throughout the world using
these products is significant. Even though there are also men who are using these products, the
number of women using these chemicals dwarfs that of men.
Questions guiding the discussion will include: What is skin whitening, who uses it and why? In what ways is skin whitening racist, sexist, and a health concern? How have Christian teachings contributed to the desire for skin whitening?
Participants will come away with a new understanding of what drives the global appetite for skin whitening chemicals; and will propose how churches can address skin whitening among community members.