According to South Africa administrative capital Pretoria, 35 percent of South African women use skin bleaching products. 75 percent of women in Nigeria and roughly 52-67 percent of Senegalese women use skin bleaching products. West African women are actually more likely to use skin bleaching products than any other African region,with a rate of 70 percent of women as consumers of the skin bleaching industry. What do all of these regions with high skin-bleaching usage have in common? They were all targets for European colonizers in the late nineteenth century.
As countries tried to expand their economies to many non-industrialized countries, they left a lot of damage that changed the psyche of many Africans today. The idea of “whiteness’’ being superior made Africans believe they are less, or lower ranked. 
Betsy Kim, long time beauty supply owner in Dorchester, noticed a pattern with the kind of people walking into her store buying skin bleaching products. “They are mostly black,” Kim said. “Black, but they are mostly foreigners; you can tell from their accents. A lot of them are light brown. You never really see the darker women buying those stuff.’’ Kim mentioned that she believes that the reason behind why darker women don’t really use skin bleaching is because it’s harder to get lighter natural results from these products.
The practicing of skin bleaching comes with serious risks. Health issues associated with this practice include permanent skin bleaching, thinning of skin, uneven color loss (leading to a blotchy appearance), redness and intense irritation, dark gray spots, skin cancer, acne, increase in appetite and weight gain, osteoporosis and neurological and kidney damage.
Mariam Killo, 16, from Hyde Park, has seen women in her family use these products since she was a child. “Being a dark skin girl, watching everyone try to get lighter made me really insecure,” says Killo. “It made me think ‘well, I'm that girl everyone would never want to be.’”

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Hibo Moallim, an 18-year-old Muslim student, walks into Mr. G’s Place in Roxbury and begins perusing the racks in search of an outfit. She says hello to the store owner as she picks up vibrant headscarfs and flowing skirts. Mr. G’s Place is one of the only spots in Boston that specializes in modesty wear. 
Mikaela Martin, 16, from Mattapan, thinks modesty wear is “being conservative of what you wear and being mindful of what it means to you.” 
To Moallim, modesty wear is any dress below her ankles. “I don't like showing my arms so I always have a long sleeve on. You can’t wear ripped jeans or too tight jeans,” she said. 
Moallim went all over town to find an outfit for Eid, a major Muslim holiday. 
“You don't want to go to a Somali store because everyone is going to go there and everyone is going to have the same clothes.” She eventually found a dress at H&M, but it was too short, so she had to improvise. 
Moallim and her family frequently order their hijabs and other clothes online from a store in Minnesota that specializes in Muslim modesty wear. “If you really want to pop out for Eid or an event, you gotta order your clothes from Africa or Minnesota,” she said. 
Modesty wear should be more accessible all over the country, not just in concentrated pockets across the states. 
In Boston, there are two Muslim clothing stores that specialize in affordable modesty wear—Mr. G’s Place and Mabruuk Fashion, both in Roxbury. There are also a few stores that young people like to shop in that do not exclusively specialize in Muslim modesty wear - H&M, Marshalls, T. J. Maxx and occasionally Forever 21.
For such a prominent corner of the market, the Muslim population does not receive enough representation in fashion. According to the 2015-2016 State of the Global Islamic Economy Report, the global Muslim community spent $230 billion on clothing in 2014. 
The number is expected to grow to $327 billion by 2020. These soaring statistics are because 29 percent of the global population is estimated to be Muslim by 2030, according to Al Jazeera America. 
Why has it taken so long for the high fashion industry to cater to such a prominent market? Martin believes that merchandisers are hesitant to feature Muslim fashion because because “Islam is never viewed as something that is positive.”
 Western designers are beginning to make modesty friendly lines for Muslim women. The hijab and abayas are becoming normalized by the higher fashion brands like Dolce and Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, and Oscar De La Renta according to Vogue. 
Hana Tajima, a Muslim fashion designer, has recently teamed up with Uniqlo to create a new line of modesty friendly, affordable clothing for Muslims. Her collaboration is one of the first modesty friendly clothing lines that has hit mainstream clothing stores. 
As the Muslim market continues to grow in size, designers are slowly beginning to accommodate this large percentage of the population. 

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If the hoodie fits: Boston police stopping black males without justification
Imagine being with your friends, and then a patrol car pulls up. You and your friends know of the police brutality going on in the world, but you don't know exactly what to do.
This exact scenario happened in 2010 in Boston when police officers were alerted of a break-in near Roxbury and got a description of three black males, one wearing a red hoodie, another wearing dark clothing and a third wearing a black hoodie.
When I read this description of the men, I looked outside and saw about four black males who fit the description. It reminded me of how many of those men could have been stopped, and how vague the description was. This vagueness contributes to the disproportionate stoppings of black men and women.
 Boston is an open and diverse city. The mayor constantly speaks on the police department’s improvements in racial relations, but the statistics don't show it. According to statistics reports by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, 63.3 percent of civilian stops in Boston from 2007-2010 were black people. That statistic would make sense if blacks made up the majority of Boston, but that isn't the case. At the time when these statistics were captured, blacks made up less than a quarter of Boston's population, yet made up more than half the civilian stops. 
The amount of civilian encounters are disproportionate among the races, and the Boston Police Department gave no justification for the disproportionate stops. In fact, according to the ACLU, 75 percent of stops weren't justified, with only “investigate person” written on the police report. Furthermore, only 2.5 percent of stops resulted in finding contraband.
An incident recently took place where five teens were almost arrested for trespassing and breaking and entering. I spoke to two of the teens, Mattapan 15-year-olds Jamie Giovanni and Lexi Turotcher. They were playing around, one of them with a large rock in her hand, when a police car pulled up. One woman in a police uniform and another male police officer out of uniform directed the teens not to run. They cooperated with the officers, telling them their names and addresses, but then something weird happened with the male cop and the male in the group. 
“The boy in our group was black and wore all black and had his hoodie on,” Giovanni said. “We were asked different questions compared to him. They asked him if he had weed or any weapons on him. He said no.” Strangely, the female holding the rock was not asked about drugs or weapons. This again shows the amount of pressure that is put on black males when they encounter police.
Now how can we repair this system? First, we can start by making all data more public. Also, we need to be able to read more reasoning for the stops rather than just “investigating persons”—what was the point of investigating them? What made you pursue them? Did you see them commit a crime? Finally, we need to make sure citizens are constantly reminded of their rights. If they’re asked to be searched, they need to know that they are not legally obligated to answer any questions form a cop without reasonable cause. These are all just beginning steps in changing a system that has been broken for awhile.

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AFH Photo // Fabio Tave
This November, everyone will be heading to their local movie theaters to see DC’s Justice League or Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok,whether that be for the popularity of the characters, the action, or the gritty storyline. Naturally, there will be a competition between the two films. 
While it might seem all the superhero movies are the same, there are actually three separate studios that each own big superhero franchises, Marvel Studios, Warner Bros. (DC), and Fox. While each studio has its fanbase, Fox stands out among the others. Do you see Marvel Studios or Warner Bros. experimenting with R rated films like Fox? Fox, the leading bannerman in superhero movies can pull off funny R-rated films (2016’s Deadpool) but at the same time can make a gritty dark R-rated film (this year’s Logan).
Fox began the superhero franchise craze with X-Men (2000). Fox had time to stabilize the franchise with a groundwork of actors, directors, and producers. The X-Men are relatable because they are just normal people with special genes, not some Norse god frozen in time like Marvel’s Thor. They have real stories with real loss, like when anti-hero Wolverine (Hugh Jackman)’s adoptive father gets killed by his biological father or when 11-year-old X23 (Dafne Keen)’s own parents die in front of her.
As Fox developed a passionate fanbase, they also laid the groundwork for R-rated superhero movies. Initially, executives at the studio weren’t sure that Deadpool would succeed since it was rated R,  but we fans pushed for it and we made it happen. “One year ago to almost today, some [explicit] in here leaked that footage, and that’s why we’re standing here,” said Ryan Reynolds, who played Deadpool, at Comic Con.  “You guys, the Internet, fans, you guys made the studio do this. You bent their arms behind their backs, twisted their [explicit] necks, and here we are.”
The test for Fox is the departure of Hugh Jackman, who was the constant in the franchise that we could always count on. However, with new actors like Dafne Keen, Evan Peters and James McAvoy, the future of the X-Men franchise is in good hands. 
After the success of Fox’s X-Men universe, Marvel Studios decided to begin a franchise of their own with Iron Man (2008), led by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a playboy and egotistical genius. Since Iron Man, Marvel has added more and more new heroes and villains, but  the villains have become dull and the action feels repetitive. Marvel just doesn’t seem to have the same flair as X-Men and Deadpool. The Avengers seem more like co-workers, while the X-Men seem more like family. I don’t dislike the movies—I go watch them because I like superheroes—but if it is The Avengers or X-Men, I’m team X-Men. Regardless, each of Marvel’s movies continue to score big at the box office, so you can’t deny that their films are the most popular and profitable.
The situation at Warner Bros. is complicated. They have superhero films, but they can’t seem to find a lead actor that can lead a series. Right now there are three main actors that are spearheading the studio’s franchises, Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), and Henry Cavill (Superman). The big film that started this universe is Batman vs. Superman because it introduced Batman to this version of the universe for the first time. Batman is my favorite in the DC universe. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was easily the best film franchise of all time. If there was an Oscar for the best trilogy of all time, the Dark Knight trilogy would win in a landslide. But now that Christopher Nolan has been replaced by Zack Snyder and Christian Bale has been replaced by Ben Affleck, their portrayal of Batman is entirely different. Zack Snyder’s DC movies aren't bad, but they seem like garbage next to Christopher Nolan, However, we as fans all have high hopes for the arrival of the Justice League franchise.
Now each studio is on an upward path, and the future's looking bright. This is the golden age of superhero movies, and we should all rejoice in its light. 
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AFH Photo // Ashley Chung
Death shapes our lives. The knowledge that our time is running out lights a fire beneath us, forcing us to achieve our goals, form relationships, and create something to leave behind. Death is like a guardian angel, driving our decisions and making sure we live a full life before it’s our time to pass. But it is also our greatest enemy. For all of history, we have been seeking ways to avoid death. For example, Qin Shin Huan Di, the first emperor of China, drank mercury because he believed it would grant him immortality. Ironically, this very elixir killed him.
Today, the quest for immortality continues. Scientists are developing several options for technological fusion, such as uploading memories into an unaging casing, keeping the human brain in a robotic body, and, most popularly, integrating nanobots into the human body and brain, allowing problems at the microscopic level to be fixed as soon as they begin.  Leading minds in Silicon Valley, including Google cofounder Sergey Brin and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, have invested money, expressed interest in or stated outright that they desire immortality. Some, like Aubrey de Grey, a leading advocate for immortality, insist that aging is a disease that must be cured. “The reason we have an imperative, we have a duty, to [stop aging] as soon as possible is to give future generations a choice,” said De Grey in conversation with Sherwin Nuland, author of How We Die.  “People are entitled, have a human right, to live as long as they can; people have a duty to give people the opportunity to live as long as they want to.” 
However, the unpredictability of immortality obviously creates several moral issues. Death is a central but subtle part of our lives. There is no way to know exactly how the lack of it would affect the human race. “Immortality changes the very nature of human interaction,” said the Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, the director of the Ethics Initiative at the MIT Media Lab and an ordained Buddhist monk. “Part of the reason that we tend to deeply care for and deeply love one another is that we know those people won’t be there forever...we cherish the limited time we have together.” 
What is the value of life if it never ends? “If we were immortal, we wouldn’t get out of bed. We’d have no reason to,” said Priyadarshi. “When Death is Good for Life,” a study published in Personality and Social Psychology Review, found that “the awareness of mortality can motivate people to enhance their physical health and prioritize growth-oriented goals; live up to positive standards and beliefs; build supportive relationships and encourage the development of peaceful, charitable communities; and foster open-minded and growth-oriented behaviors.” 
But it’s no secret that immortality might have equally unpredictable benefits too. Multiple studies have shown that awareness of mortality increases in-group preference and out-group hate. An Atlantic article by Hans Villarica about terror management theory asks readers to remember their childhood fears. Many will remember monsters, the dark, and deep waters. All of these could cause harm and, potentially, death. A child’s security net is their parents. With age, fears take a more abstract form and the expectation of safety shifts from the parents onto the culture. When reminded of their mortality, people lean back onto the culture that has protected them thus far. Some experts attribute the increased political polarization in our society since 9/11 to this theory. Without the fear of mortality, therefore, perhaps it will be possible that we will also stop fearing people different from us.
As life extension technology continues to evolve and the possibility of immortality becomes more realistic, we must seriously ask ourselves—what, ultimately, is the reason for immortality? Some, like de Grey, suggest that humans have a right to experience life at the maximum. But perhaps living life to the maximum isn’t about quantity—rather, it’s a matter of quality. 
“Very rarely can you say that somebody used all 70 or 80 years of their lives meaningfully,” Priyadarshi points out. “People want immortality simply because they don’t want to die.” 
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