Advertisement

The New Economics of Colorism in the Skin Whitening Industry: Case of India and Nigeria

  • Ramya M. VijayaEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter explores the new economic forces that have led to the rapid expansion of the skin whitening industry in India and Nigeria and the potential for mobilizing against it. I evaluate the effectiveness of the different strategies to resist this expansion such as public health campaigns and direct discussions of colorism. I argue that to be impactful and sustained, opposition to this expansion must move beyond emphasizing localized public health campaigns and make explicit the industry’s global complicity in sustaining colorism.

Keywords

Colorism Multinational corporations India Nigeria Skin whitening Bleaching Economic capital Whiteness Neoliberalism Global Health Mobilization Counter-Narratives Market failure 

Further Reading

  1. Glenn, E. N. (2008). Yearning for lightness: Transnational circuits in the marketing and consumption of skin lighteners. Gender and Society, 22(3), 281–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Halley, J., Eshleman, A., & Vijaya, R. (2011). Seeing white: An introduction to white privilege and race. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  3. Roediger, D. R. (2007). The wages of whiteness. New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Said, E. (1994). Culture and imperialism. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar

References

  1. Acquaye, A. (2018, March 1). How unfair and lovely’s relaunch will combat colorism. Teen Vogue. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/unfair-and-lovely-relaunch-combats-colorism. Accessed July 19, 2018.
  2. African Development Bank. (2011). The middle of the pyramid: Dynamics of the middle class in Africa (M. Ncube, C. L. Lufumpa, & S. Kayizzi-Mugerwa Eds.). Abidjan: African Development Bank.Google Scholar
  3. Alatas, S. H. (1977). The myth of the lazy native. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Astor, M. (2017, October 8). Dove drops an ad accused of racism. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/08/business/dove-ad-racist.html. Accessed November 10, 2018.
  5. BBC. (2003, July 24). India debates ‘racist’ skin cream ads. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3089495.stm. Accessed July 10, 2018. Accessed July 18, 2018.
  6. BBC. (2017, October 19). Nivea accused of racist advert showing product lightening skin. http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/41683890/nivea-accused-of-racist-advert-after-showing-product-lightening-black-skin. Accessed July 19, 2018.
  7. Beirich, H., & V. Buchanan. (2018, February 11). 2017: The year in hate and extremism. The Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2018/2017-year-hate-and-extremism.
  8. Bonsu, S. (2019). Development by markets: An essay on the continuities of colonial development and racism in Africa. In G. D. Johnson, K. D. Thomas, A. K. Harrison, & S. G. Grier (Eds.), Race in the marketplace: Crossing critical boundaries (pp. 259–271). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  9. Brantlinger, P. (1985). Victorians and Africans: The genealogy of the myth of the dark continent. Critical Inquiry, 12(1), 166–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chandran, R. (2003, April 24). All for self-control. The Hindu Business Line. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/catalyst/2003/04/24/stories/2003042400020100.htm. Accessed July 18, 2018.
  11. Corral, P., Molini, V., & Oseni, G. (2015). No condition is permanent: Middle class in Nigeria in the last decade (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 7241).Google Scholar
  12. Davey. E. (2016, February). Illegal skin lightening creams being sold in London. BBC.Google Scholar
  13. Dhillon-Jamerson, K. K. (2019). Marketing marriage and colorism in India. In G. D. Johnson, K. D. Thomas, A. K. Harrison, & S. G. Grier (Eds.), Race in the marketplace: Crossing critical boundaries (pp. 121–136). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  14. Global Industry Analyst Inc. (2018). https://www.strategyr.com/MarketResearch/Skin_Lighteners_Market_Trends.asp. Accessed May 30, 2018.
  15. Goldsmith, A. H., Hamilton, D., & Darity, W., Jr. (2006). Shades of discrimination: Skin tone and wages. American Economic Review, 96(2), 242–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Government of India Planning Commissions. (2013). Press note on poverty estimates, 2011–12. http://planningcommission.nic.in/news/pre_pov2307.pdf. Accessed June 10, 2018.
  17. The Guardian. (2015). Ivoreans ignore ban on skin lightening cream despite damage to skin. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/14/ivory-coast-skin-whitening-ban-effects. Accessed October 13, 2018.
  18. Gupta, P., & Blum F. (2018). India’s remarkably robust and resilient growth story. The World Bank End Poverty in South Asia Blog. http://blogs.worldbank.org/endpovertyinsouthasia/india-s-remarkably-robust-and-resilient-growth-story. Accessed June 10, 2018.
  19. Hersch, J. (2008). Profiling the new immigrant worker: The effects of skin color and height. Journal of Labor Economics, 26(2), 345–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hogade, S. H., & Ismat H. (2017). Tropical steroids: Fairness fervour to fallout. International Journal of Research in Dermatology, 3(2), 234–238.Google Scholar
  21. Ifijeh, M. (2015, October 9). NAFDAC raises alarm over unsafe bleaching devices. This Day.Google Scholar
  22. Karnani, A. (2007). Doing well by doing good case study: ‘Fair & lovely’ whitening cream (Michigan School of Business Working Paper). https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/49327/1063-Karnani.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y. Accessed July 10, 2018.
  23. Langan, M. (2017). Let’s talk about neocolonialism in Africa. Global Policy Journal. https://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/16/11/2017/let’s-talk-about-neo-colonialism-africa. Accessed October 13, 2018.
  24. MarketLine Industry Profile. (2017). Skin care in India.Google Scholar
  25. Mishra, N. (2015). India and colorism: The finer nuances. Washington University Global Studies Law Review, 4, 725–750.Google Scholar
  26. Monk, E. P. (2014). Skin tone stratification among black Americans, 2001–2003. Social Forces, 92(4), 1313–1337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. NAFDAC. (2018). Cosmetic product (prohibition of bleaching agents) regulations 2018. http://www.nafdac.gov.ng/wp-content/uploads/Files/Resources/Regulations/COSMETIC_REGULATIONS/Cosmetics-Products-Prohibition-of-Bleaching-Agents-Regulations-2018.pdf. Accessed July 19, 2018.
  28. Norwoord, K. J. (2014). Color matters: Skin tone bias and the myth of a postracial America. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Nwankwo, M. E. (2017, October 20). Nivea ad for ‘visibly fairer skin’ sparks controversy in West Africa. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/10/20/558875377/nivea-ad-for-visibly-fairer-skin-sparks-controversy-in-west-africa. Accessed July 18, 2018.
  30. Onishi, N. (2016, January 5). Nigeria goes to the mall. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/05/world/africa/nigeria-goes-to-the-mall.html.
  31. Ostry, J. D., Loungani, P., & Furceri, D. (2016). Neoliberalism: Oversold? Finance & Development, 53(2), 38–41.Google Scholar
  32. Painter, M. A., Holmes, M. D., & Bateman, J. (2016). Skin tone, race/ethnicity, and wealth inequality among new immigrants. Social Forces, 94(3), 1153–1185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Parameswaran, R., & Cardoza, K. (2009). Melanin on the margins: Advertising and the cultural politics of fair/light/white/beauty in India. Journalism and Communication Monographs, 11(3), 213–274. https://theshadeofbeauty.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/melanin-on-the-margins.pdf.
  34. PM News. (2017, January 25). NAFDAC cautions against dangerous skin lightening creams. https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2017/01/25/nafdac-cautions-against-dangerous-skin-lightening-creams/. Accessed July 18, 2018.
  35. Rosembaum, N. (2018). You have dark skin and you are beautiful: The long fight against skin bleaching. National Public Radio. https://www.npr.org/2018/02/25/588632658/you-have-dark-skin-and-you-are-beautiful-the-long-fight-against-skin-bleaching. Accessed October 13, 2018.
  36. Said, E. (1994). Culture and imperialism. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  37. Standard Bank. (2014). Understanding Africa’s middle class. Insights and strategy, July.Google Scholar
  38. Tate, S. A. (2016). Skin bleaching in black Atlantic zones: Shade shifters. London: Palgrave Pivot.Google Scholar
  39. This Day. (2017, April 11). Beiersdorf, German multinational, injects N7bn in Nigerian economy. https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/04/11/beiersdorf-german-multinational-injects-n7bn-in-nigerian-economy/. Accessed July 15, 2018.
  40. United Nations. (2015, July). World population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/2015-report.html. Accessed July 10, 2018.
  41. United Nations Population Fund. (2014). The power of 1.8 billion. The state of the world population 2014. https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/EN-SWOP14-Report_FINAL-web.pdf. Accessed June 15, 2018.
  42. Vega-Centeno, J. (2019). ‘Dirty braids’: How hair is disrupting dominant racial narratives in Puerto Rico Post-Hurricane Maria. In G. D. Johnson, K. D. Thomas, A. K. Harrison, & S. G. Grier (Eds.), Race in the marketplace: Crossing critical boundaries (pp. 137–150). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  43. Vijaya, R., Eshleman, A., & Halley, J. (2015). The cultural of class and its economic impact. Review of Black Political Economy, 42, 7–18.Google Scholar
  44. World Bank. (2017). Nigeria overview. http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/nigeria/overview. Accessed July 10, 2018.
  45. World Health Organization. (2011). Mercury in skin lightening products. http://www.who.int/ipcs/assessment/public_health/mercury_flyer.pdf. Accessed May 5, 2018.
  46. Yip, J., Ainsworth, S., & Hugh, M. T. (2019). Beyond whiteness: Perspectives on the rise of the Pan-Asian beauty ideal. In G. D. Johnson, K. D. Thomas, A. K. Harrison, & S. G. Grier (Eds.), Race in the marketplace: Crossing critical boundaries (pp. 73–85). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stockton UniversityGallowayUSA

Personalised recommendations