The evening before I left Lisbon to go to India for my new spicy life, I decided to go bra shopping. I didn’t know what kind of lingerie I’d find in Delhi, so I thought it’d be a good idea to go equipped from Portugal itself.
I visited one of the outlets of the famous chain Women’s Secrets and asked the shop assistant to find me some bras my size. I liked one of the models she showed me and so I asked her:
Z: “Do you have this bra in any other colors?”
Shop Lady: “Yes, we have it in white, black and skin color!”
The last thing she said got me thinking!
I am white and she was black and
she is trying to sell me a “skin color” bra!!
What the hell am I supposed to assume skin color means?! I know, from previous experience, that skin color means a darker shade of beige, closer to the caucasian skin color, and that it’s used mainly by white people when they wear semi-transparent clothes, as “skin color” doesn’t show through.
But isn’t the term “skin color” wrong to refer to this tone? I think it is. I guess people just don’t think about it. Otherwise I doubt this lady, being black, would say it, when the color doesn’t clearly correspond to her own skin tone. I wonder how she would have reacted if I had asked “black?!” in response to when she said “skin color is available”!
This is what comes up on Google images when you type “skin color bra”:
I guess it’s not a racist thing as such but
it’s one of those little details that can be annoying
when you think about it.
And after this bra episode, I thought about other products that come in “skin color”.
The most obvious one and that actually shows (unlike bras – or most of the bras, let’s say!) is band aids. I never thought why band aids look like they do, but now I realize that they are supposed to be “skin color”. That color exists so that band aids are discretely covering your wounds… but what about when people don’t look that same “skin color”?!
Then, they look like this:
I know now they start making band aids for different skin tones (or even see-through ones, which might be a better solution for all!), and they should!
But what they should also do is rename that “skin color” term so commonly used, particularly in the fashion industry, for “beige” or whatever color this might be.
SKIN COLOR IS SO LAST SEASON!
Fashion Industry: it’s about time you change this old fashion term!