I’ve watched in horror as story after story of news that another prominent African woman is embroiled in some skin-lightening scandal. And for some reason, it offends me to my core, because if women from our mother continent, the source of our blackness are rejecting it, then something is deeply, deeply wrong. From the Daily Mail…
Former model Irene Major is a wealthy woman who knows all about looking after her skin. The wife of Canadian oil tycoon Sam Malin, she has tried everything from super-expensive Creme de la Mer moisturisers to the services of the most exclusive Harley Street dermatologists.
But Irene, who’s originally from Cameroon, West Africa, has a shocking admission; she also regularly uses skin-lightening creams to alter the colour of her complexion. ‘When my skin is lighter, I just feel prettier,’ she admits with startling candour. ‘It’s a taboo subject, and people get judgmental about it, but that’s how I feel.’
Last month, High Street health store Holland & Barrett came under fire for selling a legal skin-whitening product called Dr Organic Royal Jelly Skin Body Whitening Cream, which retails for £9.99.
‘A skin-lightening regime has been part of my life practically since birth,’ she claims. ‘There are many different types of African skin — from dark charcoal to a lighter version — and you grow up knowing that the lighter ladies are the prettier ones. It’s just a fact.’
Her younger sister, Elsa, 27, agrees, explaining how disturbing hierarchies of skin colour are still influencing African girls. ‘Being lighter shows you belong to a different place on the social ladder. All the rich, successful black African men marry either a white or a very light-skinned girl because they too grew up thinking that the lighter is the most pretty. It doesn’t matter how dark a man is, of course — the pressure is all on women.’
The last paragraph is really something to behold. So even successful AFRICAN men are marrying light skinned and white women?! Does anyone black like being black anymore??!
Not only does this woman look hideous after she’s bleached and put on a blond wig, she’s literally endangering her life by using these creams. The paleness looks synthetic, sickly and unnatural, but she appears to be absolutely giddy with delight about her new look.
Maybe if my skewed perception as a Westerner, but it really seems like African women are becoming obsessed with achieving light skin. By comparison, I don’t know one single black American woman who would deign to use this stuff.