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Why do we whiten?

November 01, 2013

Every corner of every shelf in the beauty department has the word "whitening" plastered on it. Before and after photos showcasing the awesomeness of whitening products are almost impossible to avoid. Sometimes on billboards several feet into the air, the word "whitening" glows in all its majesty. Whether these products really do work, or if they are just cocktails of Photoshop and marketing, it doesn't really matter. The word "whitening" holds a lot of power in the Philippine beauty industry. Like putting Lady Gaga on the cover of magazine, it may spark some controversy, but those magazines will fly off the shelves in no time.
There's a reason why whitening products are so hard to avoid. The truth is, they are manufactured because people want them. They want them bad. They've been sought after for years, and with the advances in technology, almost anyone can get their hands on a bottle of miracle potion or a bar of magic soap. And love them or hate them, they sell. They sell big. Not because they work, which is definitely to be contested, but because of a promise. A promise that was ingrained in the Filipina psyche centuries ago. Back then, "fair" and "beautiful" were one in the same (Snow White, anyone?). White skin meant respect, success, wealth. It meant you didn't have to work in a field all day, earning your keep just like every other indio. It meant that you belonged to a race of self-proclaimed gods, who oddly enough claimed that there was only one God we should worship. 
Centuries later, with those "gods" long gone, the promise lives on. It dictates so many things in our lives as Filipinas, from our definition of beauty, down to the color of our nail polish. True, not everyone thinks this way, but those who disagree are definitely outnumbered. But it doesn't have to be a war. There is beauty in all colors, all shapes and sizes. It's 2013, people. Let's all participate in a new kind of beauty, one that isn't dictated by anyone else, except the one looking in the mirror.
What is beauty, to you?

Love and lipstick,
Founder & CEO
CarmenClaire Cosmetics

Next time: White skin and those things we call men.

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