Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the lightest of them all?
Is skin bleaching a mental disorder? Can we attribute skin bleaching to body dysmorphia? If you answered yes to both of those questions should we be more sensitive to those who choose to lighten their skin? I recently learnt that Blac Chyna, an American socialite has partnered up with a Nigerian female entrepreneur who owns a beauty brand called ‘Whitenicious’ to launch her own skin whitening creme. I understand that we live in the age of entrepreneurship and everyone wants to have financial freedom but this (lightening creme) is the equivalent of selling crack to your own people. Obviously we can’t always influence people choices and I suppose black people who want to lighten their skin are going to buy it from anyone whether its the Asian or Indian man (because they are the ones that stock it in the black hair shops, but thats another subject), I guess this Nigerian entrepreneur and Blac Chyna have the mentality that “it is better they buy it from me” type syndrome.
Anyone that knows me personally knows that I am anti skin bleaching and whitening. My reasons go beyond the ridicule that dark skinned people endure from their peers. Being dark skinned myself I have endured ridicule first hand growing up, but I was lucky enough to have a beautiful mother and father who taught me to love the skin I am in. Unfortunately some black people are born in parts of the world where its part of the culture to love lighter skin. Let’s take Jamaica for example, cake soap (a skin lightening soap) was promoted by popular artists like Vybz Cartel and when you are a big influence over a lot of people this can trickle down into society. I’m not saying that Vybz Cartel is the sole reason for the skin bleaching epidemic in Jamaica but he did contribute a tremendous amount.
The effects of skin bleaching are horrendous. Its damages range from hair loss, kidney damage hyper pigmentation, permanent scaring and even death. There are many celebrities that have succumbed to the mental poisoning like Micheal Jackson, Sammy Sosa, Lil Kim, Nomasonto ‘Mshoza’ Mnisi and many more. Even those who don’t bleach are made to look lighter in magazine and on TV.
Although social media is doing a good job of promoting a melanin popping discourse, there are still a large amount of people that are literally dying to be lighter. I called the title of this post Sleeping Beauty and the Bleach because I believe that people who do not think their dark skin is beautiful are asleep. Its like wake up and see the coffee. the same way you would encourage an anorexic person to eat and get medical help we should continue to encourage our sons and daughters (because all this does start from the home) to love the skin they are in, and to encourage them to love all shades. I know mental illness is taboo within the black community but in the same way you would admit an anorexic person to hospital, I think the sam thing should happen to those who lighten their skin. It seems harsh but the effects or bleaching your skin is worse. Another thing to remember is that this is not just a problem within the black community its all over the world. The world view needs to change, European standards of beauty is not the only standard. There is beauty in all nations, a rose is a beautiful flower but it comes in many colours. Say no to bleach. If you haven’t already I encourage you to watch
Skin lightening; What I didn’t know about it, on youtube.