Skin Bleachers’ Representations of Skin Color in Jamaica
Journal of Black Studies 2009; 40; 153
19 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2013
Date Written: 2007
This article deals with skin bleachers’ representations of skin color and the reasons that inform their representations. A content analysis was done of the reasons the participants give for bleaching their skin. The participants bleach their skin to remove facial blemishes, to make their faces “cool,” as a result of peer influence, to lighten their complexion, to appear beautiful and to attract a partner, to follow a popular fad, and to have the visual stimulus of the bleached skin because it makes them feel good. In Jamaican society, negative representations of dark skin indicate that dark skin is devalued, whereas light skin is valued. The hegemonic representation that elevates light skin over dark skin and guides the behavior of the skin bleachers has its roots in socializing institutions of the larger cultural milieu. The interaction of the government, the church, the education system, the media, formal culture, and popular culture from the colonial period to the present sends repeated messages that light skin is superior to dark skin.
Keywords: representations; skin bleaching; skin color; Jamaica
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation