Ever bought shoes, stockings, or maybe lingerie and asked for a “skin tone or neutral” color?
You probably have. And you were probably handed over a sandy, fair, peachy “white” option. And as you were handed over that option, you took it without blinking.
Fast forwarding to 2019 Tru Color Bandage came through with the first ever real skin colored bandages. Thanks to Apollon, a 45-year-old social justice researcher, he realized that for the first time in his life a skin-toned, flesh-colored band aid actually represented his color. He tweets this message alongside a picture of his band aid clad finger: “It’s taken me 45 trips around the sun, but for the first time in my life I know what it feels like to have a “band-aid” in my own skin tone. You can barely even spot it in the first image. For real I’m holding back tears.”
For hundreds of years, society has run on the white discourse. Everything natural, instinctive and representative of the human body was white. The world was conditioned into believing that being flesh-toned meant being the color of the white man, until Rihanna knocked down the dominant ideology with Fenty Beauty’s 40+ shades of foundation and concealer, becoming the first brand to ever cater to the rich African skin.
With mixed race births and pools of genetics merging to create people with their own beautiful pigment, and cultural/ethnic consciousness all around, why did it take so long to refine what “skin-tone” meant? The universal flesh-toned bandage isn’t the pasty strip of peach and pink anymore – it’s any color that looks like the skin of its wearer.
Even in 2019, under-representation of people of color exists, although more subtly. Just like it took the world years to break apart and excavate what skin tone means, it has left a few of us wondering whether we’re missing out on more.
Thanks to representation crusaders, we’re finally beginning to pick up the cues. Maybe, this time change is coming, slowly and steadily, and is here to stay. Perhaps the racial consciousness will begin to challenge appropriation, the normative values and the white-wash conditioning to spark a conversation about color.
It’s amazing how a small band aid can jolt us out of our stupor.