How many times do we have to go through this? This is just a big fat nope.
A skin whitening brand in the Philippines is now under fire for using brownface in a recent ad.
SkinWhite posted on its social media accounts on Wednesday a photo of twins Marianne and Martha Bibal with the caption “Dark or white, you are beautiful.”
While the message is commendable and pretty off-brand for SkinWhite, netizens immediately noticed something off about the photo. It turns out that one of their models isn’t actually dark-skinned and was just wearing dark makeup.
A Facebook user by the name FeMo Barreiro Pagdanganan said in Filipino: “Guuurl both the twins are white (in real life).”
SkinWhite responded and said: “We featured real-life twins to get our message across. The use of twins was to creatively portray similarities in features except for their skin color to clearly show and communicate that they are both beautiful whether they choose to be dark or white.”
But not many bought their excuse.
Some netizens, like Tuba Khan, called out the brand and said: “But your product’s name is Skin white.”
SkinWhite responded to this and said that they are “not promoting dark skin.”
“We are simply telling everyone that you are beautiful whether you choose to have dark or white skin because SkinWhite respects the choice you make in defining your standard of beauty. Thank you!”
But can you really choose the skin you’re born with?
Marice Ashford wrote: “Being dark isn’t usually a choice though.”
Djanine Tara Tomelden said: “Using blackface is racist. Delete this. I am also reporting it for racism/racial discrimination. If you wanted to portray that kind of message you should have used actual twins with the condition (Albinism). This is distasteful and should be taken down.”
On Twitter, others like @kutziara also urged for the brand to take the post down. “Siz, delete this. You’ll embarrass yourself.”
Siz, delete mo ‘to. Mapapahiya kayo.
— Ziara Carmelli Tan (@kutziara) April 5, 2019
Twitter user @carmary said: “Maybe you should hire an Inclusion and Diversity person to explain how this ad is so cognitive dissonant? Or not try to be a showoff and sell inclusion, because, you are selling a whitening product? Dark or white is beautiful- and by the way we are selling a whitening product?”
Maybe you should hire an Inclusion and Diversity person to explain how this ad is so cognitive dissonant? Or not try to be pabibo and sell inclusion, kase di ba, you are selling a whitening product? Dark or white is beautiful- and by the way we are selling a whitening product?
— Icar Cadayong (@carmary) April 5, 2019
But others like Patrick Espinosa came to SkinWhite’s defense and said that he was surprised that people don’t understand the “creative portrayal” of showing people that they can be beautiful no matter what skin color.
“THE FACT that it’s coming from a whitening brand is a huge step in redefining what beauty means.”
Using blackface or brownface is a longstanding issue in the Philippines, where most actors have lighter skin tones. Many of them are mestizos and mestizas, or Filipinos that are part caucasian.
Just last week, ABS-CBN TV show Maalaala Mo Kaya got flak from netizens when they put actors in blackface and curly wigs to portray Aetas, an indigenous Filipino tribe in the country.
ABS-CBN also drew flak in February last year for casting mestizo actors in the drama fantasy TV series Bagani that’s based on Filipino mythological figures and then darkening their skin tone.
Seriously, when will we learn?