Local beauty brand SkinWhite recently posted an ad promoting both light and dark skin tones, emphasizing that they’re beautiful. However, the whole thing felt like an April Fools’ joke—except it’s not.
— SkinWhite (@SkinWhitePH) April 3, 2019
The video and poster showed two sets of men and women with contrasting skin tones. At first, people thought it had an empowering message, even praising SkinWhite for finally highlighting a skin tone other than white.
Beauty is a choice. Thank you @SkinWhitePH for choosing to send a beautiful image to everyone. Very good job!👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
— Ann.V.Aleonar (@Ann80070470) April 5, 2019
— Joseph (@Josephistheman2) April 5, 2019
— Karina (@Karinamercado99) April 5, 2019
But here’s the kicker: The two models, sisters Marianne Bibal and Martha Bibal, aren’t dark-skinned. SkinWhite darkened the skin of the latter to portray their message. Some even thought they were “fraternal [biracial] twins” before finding out the truth.
Am thinking fraternal bi-racial twins. Pero if fake tan yan, ay, in the words of the president, putang-ina.
— Tʜᴇ Rᴏʜᴀɴ 🇵🇭 (@The_Rohan_) April 5, 2019
If you want to see what Marianne and Martha look like, here’s a series of photos from netizens, including other models they allegedly black/brownfaced for the shoot.
Neither one is morena so 😕 pic.twitter.com/POB4HZVs1p
— Colmenares | Diokno | Tañada | Gutoc | De Guzman (@kristinamisajon) April 5, 2019
Neither of them are dark. UHM SKINWHITE WTF PO WITH THE BLACKFACE pic.twitter.com/e4xBdO6gJ1
— Tin Gamboa (@suzy899) April 5, 2019
Wait. Did they literally blackface every single pair of twins for this ad? pic.twitter.com/mNa95fptjs
— j (@judygarci) April 5, 2019
More proof that SkinWhite darkened their models’ skin: their Twitter page’s cover photo.
Hello to their Cover Photo too 😳 pic.twitter.com/roXxpGORFV
— Lord R. (@dailyvagabond) April 5, 2019
Several called out SkinWhite for using this tactic and not hiring actual dark-skinned talents for the ad, and rightfully so. For the longest time, we’ve seen ads that say “looking dark is bad or ugly,” and lighter skin is glorified.
Why not hire a naturaly dark skinned model?? The blackface is showing.
— 🍩 (@cristrovert) April 5, 2019
WOW… this is… WOW
also BLACKFACE??? WOW…just WOW pic.twitter.com/sMMUSs5iNo
— carˡᵒʷᵉˢᵗofˡᵒʷˢ (@thurdofhisname) April 5, 2019
95% of ad show sequences that dark or white, it is beautiful. but the dark ones are fake, it's all make up. then ad shoots itself in the foot at the end – it's a whitening product, Skin White.
— WhatAWasteofAdMoney (@wawam) April 6, 2019
“Theres no such thing as standardized beauty” pic.twitter.com/VfkjcIVaLX
— ✖️DREW✖️ (@Donver_Medalla) April 5, 2019
What’s even more interesting are netizens defending SkinWhite’s ad. Many insisted it wasn’t blackface nor racist because “they’re (the Bibal twins) both Filipino.” Wow, that’s a lot to unpack right there, honey.
This is the filipino version of blackface. You disguise as a member of some ethic group. Yang ad ng SkinWhite, thats not blackface. Thats just an overly tanned woman who colored her hair black. pic.twitter.com/OdANFdO6gr
— Ruffa G (@guchenez) April 5, 2019
I agree with the sentiment @SkinWhitePH . I choose to look at the positive outlook of the message. I also don't find this racist. How is it racist when all of the models are filipinos? #darkorwhiteisbeautiful
— Madeline (@Madelin44923380) April 5, 2019
Diversity means including people of all types, regardless of their gender, body type, and skin color. You include with the mindset that it’s normal, not because you want to meet a quota or gain popularity points from the general public. Especially when you’re misleading your audience with your promotional material.
Video screengrab from SkinWhite’s Instagram account
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