NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ951928
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-0361-6843
Investigating Motivations for Women's Skin Bleaching in Tanzania
Lewis, Kelly M.; Robkin, Navit; Gaska, Karie; Njoki, Lillian Carol
Psychology of Women Quarterly, v35 n1 p29-37 Mar 2011
Why do many African women continue to use damaging skin-bleaching cosmetics that contain dangerous chemicals (e.g., mercury) that may increase their rates of infertility, skin cancer, and serious skin/brain/kidney disease? To address this question, our study investigated motivations driving the preservation of skin-bleaching practices in Tanzania. We conducted qualitative interviews with 42 urban women in Dar es Salaam who reported engaging in skin-bleaching practices and who were a subset of a larger sample of women from a study investigating the prevalence of skin bleaching in Tanzania. Results yielded six thematic motivations behind the practice of skin bleaching: (a) to remove pimples, rashes, and skin disease; (b) to have soft skin; (c) to be White, "beautiful," and more European looking; (d) to remove the adverse affects of extended skin bleaching use on the body; (e) to satisfy one's partner and/or attract male mates; and (f) to satisfy and impress peers. These findings provide empirical support for skin bleaching being linked to self-objectification, colonialism, and Westernization. Skin bleaching is discussed in the context of other potentially harmful body modification practices in which women participate as a result of external and internalized standards of beauty. Implications for future research and potential practice and policy interventions are discussed.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tanzania