Skin bleaching has become a norm these days. The practice is common among women, girls and recently men. What happened to our black is beautiful? I am black and proud? Where did we go wrong?
How serious is skin bleaching?
When I was in primary school, people never knew about skin bleaching. I had this one female friend who also happened to be my desk mate. Back then she was black. Her nickname in class was “black beauty”. She had such a soft, and smooth skin rich in melanin and whenever we would rank the most beautiful girls in class she always took the top spot in a class with light skin girls.
After completing primary school, we shifted to another town and given the fact that back then we didn’t know about social media and our parents couldn’t afford to buy us mobile phones we had no means of communication. 10 years later as I was walking on the street of Nairobi I heard someone call me by my primary school nickname. I was sure this was somebody who knew me very well since the nickname ended after I moved to another town.
I looked back to see the lady calling me and there was this light skinned girl, faced covered with swollen pimples and black spots. Even as she hugged me, I have to admit that I had no clue who she was. After she saw, I didn’t recognize her she told me she was my deskie back in primary school. I responded, “Black Beauty”? She said yes but judging by the tone of her voice, something was not okay with her.
1.Men partly to blame for bleaching
Personally, I love memes and there was this one time when I came across a meme reading “valentines is for the light skinned girls the rest can wait for Black Friday.” Sounds funny right? What do you think a black skinned girl reading the meme would feel? Most men in African and particularly Kenya, find light skinned girls more beautiful. 90% of the men will dump a black girl for light skinned one without hesitation. I thought we grew up being taught that black was beautiful? What happened?
Women want love and given attention. What do you think she will do if she realized only her light-skinned friend(s) are getting all the attention? Yes, women are mesmerizing and strong but not on this occasion. Men have a part to play in the increased bleaching cases. Lucky to them women have not yet changed their taste, they still prefer tall, dark and handsome.
Let a spade be called a spade and not a big spoon. Name me 5 adverts in Kenya that use dark skin women. I have one of my own, only Nivea, snaps and dark & lovely. Over 95% of the adverts will use a black man and a light skin woman. Somehow, black is beautiful for men but not to women. Before bleaching, over 75% of the population was dark skinned. In my opinion, advertisement companies are to blame the most when it comes to bleaching.
Most of the media houses in Kenya have 90% of their female news anchors as light skinned. Does it mean that there are no black beauties in Kenya? Or are they not attractive enough to appear on TV? Why find dark-skinned men attractive and not women? Media housed are killing the dreams of young, beautiful black girls wishing to become news anchors. I have a proposal to make, let us change the minimum requirement for studying journalism, “to study journalism you have to be light skinned” That’s the only way this will make sense otherwise there are hundreds of dark-skinned girls out there who are qualified news anchor but unless they engage in skin bleaching practices they will never get a shot at fulfilling their dreams.
These skin bleaching reagents, who approved them? Are people taught that bleaching can lead to skin cancer? The government is turning a blind eye to the whole issue, I guess this isn’t any of their concerns as long as they are routing money.
5. Women are to blame
Women should not succumb to the pressure of bleaching. Black is beautiful and it has always been. If women don’t bleach and step our wearing sexy and be confident perhaps people will change how they view them. Here is a kick in the nut, if you get pregnant you will give birth to a black baby, does it mean you would like him/her to bleach? I adore one Akothe, despite all the money she has bleaching has never been an option for her.
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Written by Francis Nderi