Culture Jam Assignment

Original Ad

This is an advertisement for a skin whitening product called Moisture White by The Body Shop. I chose to critique this advertisement because I strongly disagree with the message it is sending out to the consumer. To briefly break it down, this advertisement claims that by using this product, one can achieve fairer skin in just four weeks. If you look carefully at the additional text at the bottom of the advertisement, it says, “Whitening skincare with Japanese shiso for early action against melanin production. Nature’s way to beautiful.” I found this to be a very harmful and ironic statement — to claim that this product would prevent one’s natural melanin production and then state right afterwards that one’s natural self is beautiful was off-putting and discouraging. In a society where we are fighting for diversity and the break down of racial barriers, I couldn’t help but feel that this advertisement was promoting a message that is still stuck in the past — that being lighter and whiter is more beautiful and attractive. This advertisement indirectly implies that dark skin is not desirable or attractive and is something that needs to be changed in order for one to fit society’s beauty standards. North America’s history of colonialism, colorism, and racism has prefaced  our societal norms and our standards of beauty — as can be seen in the large masses of beauty advertisements such as these that promote the curation of brighter, fairer skin in our society today.


Jammed Ad

This is my jammed version of the advertisement. As you can see, I completely changed the headliner of the advertisement in order to depict more clearly what the advertisement’s original message truly is. I felt that the original advertisement was stating that lighter skin is more beautiful, and found it absurd that they claimed this could be achieved in just four weeks. To lighten one’s natural skin color in order to become more “beautiful” for a price of using this product for a span of just four weeks is ridiculous and speaks volumes as to how the messages media sends out can be very unhealthy at times. Thus, I changed the statement to state that “LIGHTER + BRIGHTER = MORE BEAUTIFUL, IN ONLY 4 WEEKS” in an attempt to emphasize the absurdity of the original advertisement.

I also changed the additional text at the bottom of the advertisement. I added, “BECAUSE LIGHTER SKIN IS MORE BEAUTIFUL” and changed the original advertisement’s statement of “Nature’s way to beautiful” to Natural isn’t beautiful”.  By advertising and selling a product that lightens one’s natural skin tone, they are claiming that one’s naturally darker skin tone is not beautiful. They then state that their product is Nature’s way to beautiful. However, in actuality, they are claiming that natural is not enough — and that one cannot be beautiful if they do not have lighter, fairer skin.

I feel strongly that it is time we broke down the harmful mindset that lighter skin is more valuable and desirable. This Eurocentric standard of beauty should no longer be taken as the universal standard, and we should no longer hold ourselves to them. The historical roots of viewing lighter, brighter, and whiter skin as more pure and more beautiful are inherently racist, colorist, and rooted deeply in historical colonialism. I created this jammed ad in an attempt to shed further light upon these aspects that are still prevalent in our media today. I hope that as society progresses, we come to acknowledge diversity and uplift all skin tones.