hair · jews of color · women/feminism

Would you like some bleach?

So a bunch of us women folk are sitting around discussing the drama that is female body hair. The summer never ends in Los Angeles so even on Labor Day, we’re talking waxing, bleaching and laser removal. Fun times. Tomorrow, we’ll move onto Jewish guilt and cooking for an army and still feeling we haven’t cooked enough.

Once we’re done discussing who has a mustache and who doesn’t, who has the stray chin hair and who doesn’t, one of the young daughters of the women folk leans in to ask me a question out of ear shot. She’s been half-listening to our conversation about body hair removal.
“If you want, I can lend you some bleach for your skin,” she says. I think she means chlorine bleach for my mustache and I tell her that you can’t put that kinda stuff on your skin but she adds, “I have this special cream that bleaches skin.”
I stare at her. She is a white Jewish child, albeit deeply tanned from the Los Angeles sun. G-d only knows where a ten-year-old would find bleaching cream so I ask, “Why do you have cream to bleach your skin?”
Undeterred, she mumbles something unintelligible and switches back to, “I will lend it to you. I can go get it and you can use it.”
So I take a deep breath and try, “Why would I want to bleach my skin?”
She says, “Because you’re getting really dark from the sun so you should bleach your skin.”
I said, “No thanks, I like my skin just the way it is.”
Sigh. What are we teaching our children, people? If a brown mustache isn’t okay, then maybe brown skin isn’t either?

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