White Skin : New Status Quo of Beauty? A young Asian woman dressed in beige camisole is seen in the print ad of Imedeen, . The tagline for the ad is “My secret to beautiful skin, I swallow’. Indeed, the ad raised furor among women since the ad sends out confusing messages laced with sexual undertones. Before discussion of the issues would be presented, it is proper to establish that the purpose of the said advertisement was to promote a skin pill known as “Imedeen” to females in Singapore.
From the age of the model, the niche of the product are young women in their early twenties. What may seem as a simple marketing campaign became an issue for moral panic. For one, critics viewed the ad as racist since it promotes white skin as the foremost criteria in being beautiful. Sadly, Singapore is also a melting pot of various Asian races such as Filipinos, Thais, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malaysian and Japanese. This ad imposed on the mind of Asian women that fair skin makes one beautiful and brown Asian skin is unacceptable.
This is where Focault’s regime of truth sets in. As Hall ( 1997 , p.49) argues “ not of the truth of knowledge in the absolute sense, a Truth which remained so, whatever the period, setting, context- but of a discursive formation sustaining a regime of truth”. The media disseminates a certain truth that public unknowingly digests and accepts as valid. Most ironic of all, the product does not really promise fair skin but better skin texture.
The Imedeen website does not even emphasize fair skin at all. However, the Imedeen campaign in Singapore intentionally projected a fair-skinned Asian model. The media has created a stereotype that affects the behavior of the general population. As a result, the beauty market is flooded with skin whitening products that can be harmful since not all of those products have met compliance standards with a country’s drug regulation agency. Sadly, Asian women like the model on the ad strive to acquire fair skin so that they would be perceived as beautiful.
What is more ironic is the fact that media is responsible for perpetrating this stereotype. Why is this important? Well, Schneider (435) argues that “ the content of stereotypes has enormous impact on how we behave toward people”. While there are men out there who would not “ judge a book by its cover” when choosing women, the majority of the male population would choose a fair-skinned Asian woman. The issue is not just projecting a bad stereotype as the media portrayed in the said Imedeen poster.
However, the more important things is how influential media is in modifying behavior of people. Aside from men, HR officers may have more bias towards fair-skinned applicants since they met the “criteria” for being beautiful. The ad does not only downgrade a woman’s substance but also distorts the general public’s concept of beauty. The model is thin and fair which conveys the message that fair and slim young women are the goddess of this contemporary life. In conclusion, this ad taught me to change my perspective when accepting information.
Information must be discerned and filtered for it to be productive. Mass media and popular culture can be used for education or for propaganda. It all depends on how we want to see things and how we must use them. Media is very responsible for that. WORKS CITED Hall, S. (1997). Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. New York: Sage Publication. 49. Schneider, David J. The Psychology of Stereotyping. New York: Guilford Press, 2004. Questia.
Web. 23 Jan. 2010.