Lighten up: Exploring Skin Lightening Practices among Canadian South Asian Woman
Dhillon, Amrit Kaur
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This thesis examines how and why South Asian women decide to engage in the beauty practice of skin lightening within Canada. Skin lightening involves the use of products, treatments and procedures to lighten, whiten and brighten ones skin tone. In particular, I examine this practice through the lens of shadeism, which is discrimination against darker skin tones. Through conducting qualitative interviews with South Asian women and South Asian women who work as beauticians, I uncover the ways in which light/er skin operates as a form of social capital with potential to improve life chances. In this thesis I trace the historical and ongoing impact of shadeism within the South Asian context by examining the legacies of the caste system, colonialism and the contemporary globalizing white beauty ideal.