In 19-year-old Khoudia Diop’s home country of Senegal, between 52 and 67 percent of women use skin lightening products on a regular basis (this from a survey taken last year). Elidje Ekra, a dermatologist working in Abidjan (in the Ivory Coast, where skin-whitening products are banned) told The Guardian, “In our cultures, some people think women with light skin are the most beautiful. This beauty standard…pushes many girls to de-pigment their skin.” These creams not only perpetuate narrow, skewed standards of beauty, they often contain mercury and hydroquinine, chemicals with a slew of side effects, not the least of which is skin cancer.
Diop, whose skin is a beautiful deep shade of ebony rarely seen in the media, doesn’t feel the need to conform to the status quo. Despite the fact that she grew up being bullied about her skin tone, she took the ignorance of her peers in stride. “It wasn’t always easy, but I found things I liked about myself and celebrated them,” Diop told Mic. These days, the self-described @Melaniin.Goddess uses her social media to showcase unconventional, healthy standards of beauty. (more…)