We know how most of us would do crazy things all for the love of beauty and fashion. With society dictating that what’s beautiful is whatever it is you are not, it’s no wonder that petite girls despair over not being tall enough, flat-chested ones (and even those that are not) opt to get breast augmentation, plus-sized women scramble around to find the perfect diet or at least clothes that make you look thinner, and the rest of us choose to go through even the most painful of beauty routines, from waxing to wearing ridiculously high heels.
The problem though is that in some cases, beauty practices are not only painful or ridiculous, but are downright unhealthy.
Take tanning and skin bleaching as classic examples of beauty over health. We all know that dangers that these beauty procedures bring, not the least of which is skin cancer. And yet women (and men) from all over the world continue to go sun bathing or go to tanning salons to find the perfect tan in the west, while those in African countries like Senegal opt bleach their skin to get the perfect “café au lait” color. It’s crazy. But it’s the reality.
Perhaps this is why it’s so refreshing to hear of those in the fashion industry standing up to societal pressures and pushing the boundaries to change the way women see beauty. Just this week in Dakar, fashion legend Adama Paris, announced that models using skin-bleaching creams will be banned from the Dakar Fashion Week. While this is but a small step to change the perception of beauty in the country, it does send a message to girls all over Senegal that you can be a successful model whatever skin color they may have. In the end, that message matters more because it translates to something tangible rather than paying mere lip service and not really doing something about it.