bela padilla skin whitening issues FHM March 2012

Ring the Alarm: FHM's March 2012 Boo-Boo Cover


I take it that FHM Philippines didn't do research for their March 2012 cover in coloring models in black/brown paint, letting a snow white Bela Padilla pose with them and how this can cause major racial issues in our very much conservative Filipino society.

But then again, they are not the first! 

Photos credit to:

Although the concept is different.. the message that came across was similar.

In the October 2009 Issue of French Vogue, they got a serious beating from everyone by covering the usual pale models (Lara Stone in the photos above) in black painting. It was called the controversial "Black Face" earning comments that they were "culturally insensitive" and "tactless". And who wouldn't agree, right? Why not hire a black model instead.As if there's a scarcity in that.

Same with FHM, seemingly wanting show that Bella Padilla has stepped out of the shadows and now taking on the life she is meant live. But cast the "shadow" as women who have dark skin is obviously racial.Was there no other creative way to represent shadows in her life.

This isn't a cover that is "much ado about nothing". These magazines are sold in bookstores, convenience store and places children can easily get to see them. Young impressionable kids who have dark skin may think they are not worthy enough if they don't have lighter skin.

Well, let me tell you that you're worth it! No matter what skin color you are, fair, medium or dark, you get a chance in this world. It only depends on how you see yourself. Your skin is not a hindrance in achieving whatever goal you have. Our skin color doesn't define who we are same as what people think about it.

There is a difference in enhancing or improving your skin from completely changing your physique to please society.

And I'm not a hypocrite and tell you that I'm not a fan of whitening. I am! But only to an extent that I think I need to. I am as comfortable in my skin as I am in my "pambahay." You don't have to care what everyone have to say.

Confidence doesn't come in makeup, soap, or a bottle. It comes from within... if only you'll allow to see the real marvelous YOU!

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9 fab comments

  1. Great job on this post, Shen!

  2. There was this segment last Sat about her. She was interviewed and i don't remember if she's the one who said it or her sister in TV "kung NORMAL kami na tao siguro maitim din kami.."

    Naloka ako!

  3. BC Fragrance27/2/12 4:39 PM

    Nice post, Shen! Will share. 

  4. Great post Shen. I also have more to add regarding dark-skinned Filipinas. I had an experience that really shook me to the core, and filled me with disgust - the racism and abuse that is directed towards Asian, expecially Filipina maids here in the Gulf. When I get exposed to sun, I tan quite a lot, and as such, am frequently identified as Filipina, which is just fine with me - I am Asian, after all. What I HATE is the the racial abuse directed toward me when I'm NC35 instead of NC25! A drunken next door neighbour here in Muscat (you may have seen my tweets) thought I was a Filipina maid sent to her door the other morning at 4:30 am to complain about her drunken noise - and she told me to F*off back to my country (somewhere in Asia, of course) and slammed the door in my face. When I spoke to her and her husband (she is Lithuanian, and her husband, Danish), she said that she looked at me and thought I couldn't possibly be her neighbour (e.g. a property owner!) and that I must have been from "across the road" - e.g. a Filipina maid lives across the road. I was (and still am) incandescent with rage from that experience! How dare she treat a "darker skinned" Asian woman like that - how dare she treat ANYONE like that! I am working with the Estate Management team to get the owner to evict these racist drunks. So, you can see that I can get very angry about presenting fair skin as the beauty ideal in Asia, and disparaging darker skinned Asian women as not beautiful and being of low status. Thanks for letting me rant.

  5. Great post, Shen. Have the same reaction with that fhm cover.

  6. I have no problem with models being painted black/brown paint but that cover does bring up some racist ideas. It's kinda wrong that the 'fair model' looks great while the rest are more plain looking.

  7. They may say na it's their intention; but when you use dark-skinned people to represent shadows (which pretty much means something negative) then you do have a racist thought somewhere at the back of your mind. We cannot deny the fact that we do become judgmental at some point but it's never okay to shout it out loud and worse, MAKE IT AS A MAGAZINE COVER. Tsk.Tsk.

  8. Ang weird lang din kasi. If you use dark-skinned people to symbolize shadows (which imply something negative)... and you put in there "Stepping out of the shadows."  
    It's like implying dark skin is a negative and that it's one to be considered a "shadow" to get away from.  Plus, they should've made the darker-skinned girls fierce looking instead of sad or envious-looking.

    But then again, maybe we're over analyzing things. Many men won't even think it offensive. This after all, is targeted to them. But whatevs, there's still something so wrong with this.

  9. Very nice post Miss Shen!  There is something really wrong about the concept of this cover.   They could have used other things to represent the shadows but not those dark skinned models.  Having dark skin is not something to be ashamed of!  There are a lot of dark skinned individuals who have achieved so much in their lives so skin color does not define one's character.  :) I also have a tanned skin and I love it and I am proud of it! :)


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