In today’s millennium, I am taken aback at what I have seen some black women do to significantly lighten their skin complexion. Skin bleaching has become one of the most fastest growing multi-million dollar industries; while medicine and health experts race to keep up. In other words, unless you have at least a hundred thousand grand to spend on top notch dermatologists who can provide you with the best skin bleaching treatments, you’re most likely opting for a less expensive and thus more dangerous route to bleach your skin.
And why are people even doing this? Even if proven safe and effective under affordable prices, what would prompt a beautifully melanated woman to bleach her skin? For medical reasons like vitiligo, I can understand. But to willingly purchase a product that would literally kill the melanin in your skin, is beyond my understanding.
Melanin is one of the most striking wonders of health and beauty because scientists and doctors are still trying to understand the magic behind it. The more melanin in the skin, the more protection it provides from sun exposure. This often leads to less age spots, less deep wrinkles, less rough texture, and a less likelihood of premature aging—hence the adage “black don’t crack.” More melanin has also been tied to decreasing one’s risk of getting skin cancer.
These melanin benefits are what people should be paying for. Not chemically infused products that cause more harm than good.
Besides the obvious health risks associated with skin bleaching, another major issue I have is the psychological detriments skin bleaching leaves on the minds of our young black girls. But I believe that that specifically is connected to an even bigger issue. When we look at magazine covers and see the portrayal of beauty being depicted in a lighter skinned black female, it sends an unspoken message to young viewers: “This is what beauty looks like.”
Now that may be true, and please understand that I am not trying to debunk or discredit the beauty of lighter skinned black women. But we don’t have enough Lupita Nyong’os on magazine covers. We don’t see enough dark skinned beauties on mainstream media. That’s the problem. When you are bombarded with only a seemingly one-sided portrayal of beauty, it is easy to believe that that is the only standard of beauty. So then if that becomes the perceived standard of beauty, emulation is inevitable, and an ‘eye’dentity crisis is apparent.
Failure to see with the naked eye that you, who you are in your own skin is good enough. That you are beautiful beyond what you see on television or on social media or on magazine covers. You are perfect. Just the way you are.
You don’t need to have lighter skin. Your black is beautiful. You don’t need to wear waist trainers. Your figure is impeccable. You don’t have to look like Gabrielle Union or Halle Barry to be considered a good-looking black girl. You are just as stunning, just as alluring, and just as gorgeous as they are!
This is the message I wish we as black women did a better job spreading. We’ve made huge strides and we have come a long way, but we can still do better.