Lighter skin or Photoshop?

by Isarin Furutani

Evelyn Nakano Glenn covers the previously discussed concept of how people seek whiteness in terms of cosmetics and creams more from the corporations’ perspectives. According to the basic economic rule of demand and supply, there are extremely high demand for skin whitening creams (many reasons we have discussed before), if high demand exists, capitalists will then seek to fill up the space by creating the supply and make profit through this. In this, people, especially women, demanded the product even if it was made illegal. Therefore we see the smuggling being done. The market is also huge and segmented at the same time, meaning that despite the existence of the same demand for skin whiteners, people in different categories demand for something a bit different. This category can be done through age, race, ethnicity, or location. This concept is pretty standard as different cultures have different perspectives on whiteness but more do share a trait of seeking for “whiteness”.

Global whitening is currently a huge market especially in Japan. According to one of the sources, Japan has the largest market in skin lightening ($2bn) and this market has been estimated to grow more in the future to $10bn. This might not as surprising from seeing how men are also starting to buy cosmetics or facial creams looking at the ads in Japan.

In my presentation I will talk about the market in Africa, America and India. I have found one interesting article on the Fair & Lovely company that originated from India.

This picture has been criticized by consumers and specialists in providing the wrong message through the use of “photoshopping”. Dermatologists have analyzed the product and the product actually contained no chemical that could bleach or whiten the skin. The product is safe because there are no bleaching chemicals but without those chemicals the whiteness created in the picture was very questionable. The picture was not taken from the women who used the product throughout time but a mere fake illusion of the product image the company wants to make. Is this type of advertising really ok is very questionable.


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