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Pursuit for Lightness

Pursuit For Lightness

Bleaching is a common phenomenon in today's world from the US to India to Africa to Malaysia.


This pursuit for lightness is very common in African cultures and a topic of debate everywhere. It recently came up in the Zimbabwean community on Twitter where a young woman had posted images of herself and had everyone questioning whether that was her natural skin tone, someone then went onto Google and found an older image of her where she had much darker skin than her recent photos. The young lady also admitted that she had unintentionally bleached her skin using beauty products.

My Twitter timeline went crazy and a large majority of people disagreed with bleaching and said it was against God and some said well it is her life and her skin, but really where does this pursuit for lightness come from??? Why are people obsessed with light skin? This article states that 77% of Nigerian women use these skin bleaching products and they also say that for some people, lighter skin is the route out of poverty. Another article states that colourism is the route of this obsession and for a large majority of men, their preference is light skinned women. Colourism can be traced back to slavery not only for African American's but for Africans and Asians as well.

For me growing up my mother was much lighter and I felt that she was so beautiful and I would compare my skin to hers wanting to be lighter as well. These thoughts and feelings were further enhanced by the media and society in Zimbabwe and when I moved to the Western Society. On TV there would be light skinned women getting all the male attention, having success whilst the darker skinned women were in poverty, bitter angry women.

Even today, we see men lusting at women who are lighter because they are just viewed as more beautiful and sexually appealing. In the black society light women represent beauty, success and perfection and people are willing to damage their skin to look "perfect" and "admirable".

For some, perfection is as close as you can get to looking White. Some black women will bleach their skin, wear blue contacts and blonde weaves/wigs and that is beautiful to them.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.



This post first appeared on The Modern African Woman, please read the originial post: here

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Pursuit for Lightness

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