African women, in general, need to be ok with the way they are, to see the way they are as strong, and to be liberated from fear and from silence. When I first came across these words from Wangari Maathai, I felt empowered. However, a major part of me felt as though society was letting our fallen hero down.
African women, in general, need to be ok with the way they are, to see the way they are as strong and to be liberated from fear and from silence. Click To Tweet
In the recent past, I have seen women defend themselves, they even had a black and white challenge defending women’s rights. I have seen men fight for the rights of black people. I have witnessed many black women getting applauded for their success in life yet no one knows their story, no one knows just how much they struggled to make it to the limelight.
The thing about being a woman in this century, you will probably have to offer more than just good grades. For a woman, their appearance takes the lead. I have seen my friends get turned down by on job interviews simply because of how they look. In fact, for a minute I almost didn’t believe them until when I experienced it first hand.
We are all talking about black lives matter. But we also need to reflect on our own culture in this part of the world. Colorism. Darker-skinned girls and women are treated differently.
We have to work twice as hard, be twice as smart to get ahead, because, what else do we have going for us, right? Because, inadvertently or otherwise this is the standard that has been set: light skin= beauty= opportunity= work = wealth= good marriage = beautiful children It is these attitudes that have fueled the skin lightening industry, where girls just get tired of fighting the stereotype, of proving themselves, of starting from a disadvantaged position, and so give in to the craze.
We may all like to focus elsewhere, but charity begins at home. Before you stand up for the BLM movement before you judge men and women for lightening their skin, telling them to love their skin, why not examine what got us here and how we got here?
On a personal note, it’s not been easy for me. Especially in this industry, I’ve seen the privilege that light skin has accorded others. I’ve seen them get away with murder when I’ve been held to a higher standard. I’ve been expected to be smarter because “you don’t have the looks so you’ve got to use your brain instead” It hasn’t been easy,
It’s exhausting at times, but it’s also rewarding. But it needs to change.
I went for an interview sometime back which ended with us being grouped according to our complexion. The light-skinned ones who many perceive to be a lot of the beautiful ended up getting the job while those of us with dark complexions got sent home. At times, we find ourselves in a position where opportunities get slipped passed us because of our appearances.
The thing about this century is that industries such as the media, film, modeling, and hotel industries require more than just good grades from a woman. For a black woman, once you get into the industry, the struggle for you will be twice as hard.
For as long as you don’t have the desired looks, people will still look up to you and expect you to be the brainy one, putting in twice as much effort in comparison to the rest after all they have nothing else to offer. There comes a time when people get tired of fighting for their rights and eventually give in to societal expectations.
When we speak in unison, we claim that black is gold and when we hide in the shadows we criticize those of the dark complexion. Should we all lighten up our skin in order to be a part of an organization?
You can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t sustain you, what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.
Women have turned into dependent people. We now depend on makeup to be beautiful, we depend on chemical products to lighten our skins and enhance our beauty, we have sleepless nights thinking of how to make our physique more appealing to the eyes of the beholder, we starve ourselves day and night in order to get a flat tummy, we have been made to forget that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that we are the beholders.
For years we have fought against racial discrimination in countries such as the USA. We have forgotten that charity begins at home, we are quick to engage ourselves in movement such as black lives matter and quick to judge the people responsible for getting to clear the rot in our own society that now we are the same people upholding racial discrimination in our home country against each other.
Many women might not be courageous enough to share their stories and experiences on the matter but the few like Yvonne Okwara are bold enough to stand up for the women rights which is why I totally agree with her when she says” Before you judge women for lightening their skin, telling them to love their skin, why not examine how we got there in the first place.”
Truth is our skin color is what defines us, we get rid of it, we lose our pride and sense of belonging. Women deserve to be treated equally despite their color.