Our View: We encourage our readers to actively redefine “nude” and consider the subtle examples of racism they encounter every day.
Imagine this: you are a young African American woman who has run to the local department store to grab a “nude” colored bra to wear under a sheer outfit, say a game-day dress or a work interview blouse. But when you get to the store there is no “nude” lingerie, at least not for you. Bras in slightly different shades of pale peach abound, but there are few to no options for darker-skinned women and they aren’t advertised as nude-colored. How would it make you feel that the fashion industry and society at large has based its ideal of nude on Caucasian people? That the color of your skin doesn’t count as “nude?”
Fortunately, one lingerie company is shining a light on this glaring discrepancy and is actively redefining nude. Nubian Skin creates nude lingerie and hosiery for women of color and is built on the foundation that all women should have access to the same beauty products. The concept is so new that the brand’s online storefront hasn’t launched yet, but we posit the company will do quite well. After all, it is filling a hole in the market that larger lingerie brands have chosen to overlook.
Nubian Skin’s mission to bring nude products to women who aren’t white made us think about other subtle examples of white privilege we see in stores every day. For example, whenever you’ve had a minor cut or scrape and gone to reach for a Band-Aid, have you every used one that wasn’t made for light-skinned people? We guess probably not because flesh-colored Band-Aids for darker-skinned people don’t seem to exist.
Or think about nearly every advertisement you’ve ever seen for “nude” makeup or “flesh-colored” clothing? What exactly was the tone of those flesh colors? Almost definitely not shades of brown or anything darker than a pale pink, which is ridiculous considering nearly a third of the U.S. population was non-white as of the 2010 census.
We aren’t trying to condemn the entire fashion industry or all manufacturers of commercial goods as intentionally racist. What we are saying is there are subtle instances of racism ingrained into our daily lives; instances so commonplace they often go unnoticed. We commend Nubian Skin for recognizing the need for nude products that accurately represent nude for people who aren’t white.
We encourage all of our readers to think critically about the small instances of racial bias they encounter each and every day. While you may not have ever had to deal with being unable to find flesh-colored products in the actual color of your skin, it is the reality of commercialism for millions of Americans.