There’s No Place for Shadism in Toronto

This past weekend, a number of news sources reported that “Skin Brightening & Lightening” ads were removed from the TTC subway trains after several complaints.  As stated on the company’s website, the company voluntary removed the controversial ad stating that it wasn’t meant to offend anyone.

“It has come to our attention that the TTC ads for have caused offense and concern. The ads were not intended, in any way, to offend. We apologize for any concern, offense or distress the ads may have caused and have requested that the TTC remove them immediately.”

They go on to say that the treatment is meant for medical reasons.

“The elective, natural skin treatment stated in the ad is used for medical reasons such as hyper-pigmentation from allergies, hypothyroidism, post-pregnancy, drugs reactions, sun damage and other conditions.”

The company did a good job covering their tracks…I suppose.  But I’m skeptical as to why they chose what seems an African and Indian girl, showing half their faces lighter and the other half darker.  Don’t hyper-pigmentation, sun damage and other skin conditions affect all races? So then why choose to only demonstrate the treatment on “darker skinned” girls in the ad?  Furthermore, why tag the ad with the headline “Get Brighter and Lighter Skin!”?

Clearly, this is a topic that hits near and dear to many women across multiple races, myself included. Refer to my previous post, Growing Up a Dark Skinned Girl.  Some women were interviewed and share their experiences with shadism.

Meera Estrada, Editor of Fusia Magazine is interviewed and says she was told,

“Don’t play out in the summer in the sun too much, you don’t want to get any darker…”

Asha McLeod, owner of a local hair salon, delves into her childhood,

“When I was 10 years old, my parents sorta rubbed me down with bleaching creams, and told me to stay out of the sun because I wouldn’t get married if I got too dark…”

The video linked in the article even shows celebrities such as Beyonce and Nicki Minaj’s skin colour lighten as they rise to fame.

There are plenty of skin bleaching ads, including lightening your private parts (WTF?) in other parts of the world, but please don’t bring that sh** here.  I’m happy to see how quickly such ads were removed and the light in which this was reported.  It just goes to show how multicultural and culturally aware Toronto is as a city.  To the company above, the people of Toronto have spoken and we say, There’s No Place for Shadism in Toronto.

Link to the article and video here.

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