UPDATE: I went on Youtube to view the latest skin whitening products in the Philippines and I was appalled how blunt many skin whitening commercials has become in giving Filipino women the wrong message about their skin. Here's an example from Ponds:
(the article below was originally posted on The Point blog)
Chris Rock’s new documentary, Good Hair, tackles an issue I was clueless about until I saw the film's preview, below. (Note: It contains occasional profanity and sexual references.) The movie is the comedian’s perspective on black hair and shows what black women go through just to have relaxed and flowing straight hair.
The preview clips were hilarious in a way that only Chris Rock can pull off, especially on a subject that may be sensitive to many African-American women. I could not speak for the black community, but Good Hair reminded me of the appearance issues we have in my own culture. Growing up Filipino, we viewed people with white or light skin as more beautiful and attractive than those with a darker skin tone. In fact, skin-whitening is a big industry in the Philippines and I once fell into that idea. Centuries of Western colonization brought about this mentality in the Philippines; a certain “caste system” was introduced, labeling the dark or brown-skinned natives as Indios who belonged to the bottom of the social hierarchy. To this day, we look up to Hollywood as the perfect standard for what is beautiful and admirable.
Whether reinforced by historical events, traditions or media, every culture has its own issues of inferiority. It’s human brokenness that manifests itself in a culture’s quest to change its appearance because of a notion that a certain skin color or physical feature is unattractive. The good news is that only God holds the true standard of what is attractive and acceptable. Until we know whose eyes we first need to please, our efforts to look new and different will be short-lived and insufficient.