Showing posts from August, 2017

Why banning skin-whitening products is not enough

Previously, I wrote about why skin-whitening products are trash and why the companies that produce them are shady AF . To recap, many skin-whitening products are highly toxic; they can cause permanent skin damage, they can be carcinogenic, and can even cost lives . Companies that produce these products can therefore be seen as culpable of harming the health of people of colour, particularly in the Global South, where the sale of these products is most prevalent. Crucially, even when less active products are deemed ‘safe’, the marketing used to promote them is both toxic and far-reaching, affecting not only consumers, but also all those in the communities in which the company is operating, including children and other vulnerable groups. The prevailing message in skin-whitening advertising equates lighter skin to improved life prospects, confidence, happiness, and wealth. This serves to reinforce and perpetuate systemic racism and colourism in the societies these products are being sold

Beauty standards, bodies, and virtual reality

Last April, I co-organised the workshop “The role of the body in virtual reality” at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Two of the talks given were, I think, of particular interest for raising philosophical questions on body and beauty in relation to technology. Stephen Gadsby (Macquarie University) spoke about “Disorders, body representations and virtual reality” and Robert Sparrow (Monash University) presented a talk on “Teledildonics and rape by deception.” Photo by Paul Bence   Stephen Gadsby has done research on how the distortion of body representations relate to body disorders, specifically anorexia nervosa. Gadsby presented how body representations can directly guide perception of affordances in the environment. For example, a person with anorexia nervosa might, when walking through an open door, move their shoulders at a steeper angle than would be expected based on their physical body size -- the suggestion is that overestimation of their own body image guides