Dakar, Senegal; where 10% of female patients that visit Aristide Le Dantec Hospital get treatment for infections and diseases caused by skin bleaching. Despite the increased risk of cancer that bleaching brings, many of the women there think it’s well worth the risk.
Similar to the U.S., the dark skinned women and girls in Dakar are repeatedly told by the media and the men of their country, that light skin is more desirable. While some women from Dakar aspire to become top models, others resort to bleaching in hopes that it will make them more beautiful, and help them reach their claim to fame.
While Europe in particular scouts Senegalese women with the darkest complexions, the top advertising agencies within Dakar, push the lightest models to the forefront. The city is congested with billboards, posters and other imagery promoting women with fair skin. However, despite the European modeling standard for their beauty in particular, Europe and the U.S. continue to export skin bleaching products to Senegal and other African countries for mass consumption.
I reiterate that colorism is still a widespread epidemic that travels outside of the U.S. and all over the world. Dark skinned women and girls everywhere are bombarded with beauty that is opposite of their own thus influencing them to self harm and risk their lives. Everyone involved in this programming has a shared responsibility to rectify this predicament.
By now, I don’t have to remind you why constant promotion, praise and encouraging self love for dark skinned women and girls is important – they’re the only logical solutions. Listen to the women and men of Dakar speak on skin bleaching in Senegal below.