An Open Letter to Pond’s and All Whitening Products
by Renee Juliene M. Karunungan
January 2, 2013
This is an open letter about your latest TV advertisement. While beauty products are there to enhance a person’s face and body, I believe they should not exist to define what beauty is.
Your latest TV advertisement about a young girl who was “stopped by her dark and oily skin” in doing what she wants sends a wrong message to all girls and women out there. Why should one’s skin color dictate what you can or cannot do? What is the difference between a girl who has dark skin versus a girl with light skin? Does a person who have lighter skin color automatically become more beautiful, more empowered? Does she gain more friends, admirers?
For centuries, many people have tried to stop discrimination based on race and color, have tried to empower women and girls by teaching them to love their own bodies. And this is why I find it very alarming: because while the struggle for equality is still ongoing, advertisements that favor one skin tone over another, that tell girls to become someone else, is promoted in televisions, seen by and influencing millions.
Why not, instead of making girls and women feel insecure, make them proud about the skin they’re in? Why not celebrate differences? Why not teach true empowerment than tell them to be empowered is to look a certain way?
Filipinos are brown. A lot of times we talk about Filipino pride and yet we are ashamed of our own color, or, we are dictated to be ashamed of our own color. And yet we see the likes of Venus Raj, Shamcey Supsup, and Janine Tugonon, proving us that morenas can be absolutely beautiful too.
I hope beauty products like you become a tool of women empowerment. In a world that struggles to put women at an equal footing with the rest of the world, the least you could do is build their confidence and allow them to love themselves, no matter what size, what shape, what color they are.
I am writing this in behalf of girls and women who have dark skin and who have always been proud about it; for girls and women who feel bad about the skin they are in when they shouldn’t; to girls and women, to tell them that they are beautiful, period — no if’s, no buts.
I look forward to the day when women don’t have to defend and prove themselves because of the skin they are in.
A Girl Who Loves Her Dark Skin
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