Friday, 7 August 2015

Women: Chemicalized Beings

Once a lecturer said to us in class, ‘Women are the most chemicalized beings on earth’. This I absolutely understand and relate to. If it is not to enhance our body parts, then we are drawing map of Africa on our faces (make up), or doing the breast implant and the silicon injection. These days, lips are enlarged or reshaped and toes are shortened. A great number of women are into the eye lashes and contact lenses thingy, some are into tummy tucking aimed at enhancing curves and physique. Some are into surgery to lose weight when exercise the better option stares at their faces. Body piercing has gone worse as delicate parts of the body such as the genitals, navel, nipple, tongue and the trendiest, the lower part of the nose are now being pierced. Oh, God have mercy. Surgeries are also done to lighten and whiten the skin.
I am proud of the category of people who instead of going into these ridiculous surgeries and doing chemicals go for artificials like the buttocks and boobs enhancement wearing foam as butt in which case they pray fervently to Zeus that the position doesn’t shift mistakenly in public. Lol. ‘All na packaging’.

At this point, my emphasis would be on the most bothering of them all, ‘skin whitening’. Abeg, let us come to a term we all understand which is bleaching leaving all the funky names it has been given like toning and lightening. Bleaching has been there for a very long time. I still remember as a child how some women were stigmatized by the public for bleaching. These women were then called derogatory names such as ‘iru fanta, okpa coke’, Igbo way of saying fanta faced and coke bodied describing how these bleaching women have their faces fair while other parts of their skin are darker as most times only their faces come out right while other parts still remain dark. Though these days many of these women have done their learning and manage to flaunt nice fair skins not rainbow coloured. These women also smell like cow dungs oozing out awful odour. I’m sure you may have noticed this. I can also remember that these women had ‘children handwritings’ (green veins) which are usually as thick as they are clear as though written with green permanent pens.

I still remember that these things made some women desist from using bleaching creams. But, as the years go by the trend has become more popular and makers of skin care products and skin products users can boldly make claims of their producing and using skin care products respectively. Recently a report from the WHO has it that Nigerian women are the highest users of skin lightening products in the whole world with 8 in 10 of them guilty of bleaching. Some other reports have ranked Nigeria as the country mostly affected by the whitening obsession globally.

Then I wonder why our women are bent on giving us this bad record. Why the need for skin whitening? Why are Nigerian women no longer proud of their skin colour? Why the loss of confidence in our skin colour? Why the need for a fair skin? Is it an attempt to look more beautiful? An attempt to attract the opposite sex? Why the haste to whiten our skin? Why the quest for artificial beauty? Why the public display of low self esteem?  When did our skin colour become so inferior? Does bleaching cause any feeling of specialty? Does it in any way add to our esteem and personality?  How come the recent belief that being fair skinned gain one more favour in the public as well as get the one noticed?

I can’t just stop asking myself these questions as I don’t understand why one would let one’s skin colour dictate how the one defines one’s self. To even think of the disastrous after effect of the ‘make-me-white’ creams which women rush after as though their lifes hang on them. Studies have proven that skin whitening creams comes with hazardous health consequences including blood diseases such as leukemia and skin pigmentation. Some of these creams contain substances such as hydroquine or toxins like mercury which can cause swelling of skin, skin cancer, increased aging rate, cancer of liver and kidney among other severe skin conditions and infections.

Notwithstanding all these, women in their hundreds still crave for ‘make-me-white’ with mad rush and full force. God bless the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Genevieve Nnaji, Mercy Johnson and Annie Idibia. Not forgetting my dear friend Amaka, these are women who are proud of their skin colour any day.

At this rate, I call on Nigerian women to stop patronizing skin whitening products. Enhance the tone of your skin in moderation. Be proud and confident. Love your skin colour. Love how you were made to be, you weren’t a mistake as you are wonderfully and fearfully made. The Nigerian women natural skin glows in such unspeakable beauty. Leave the bleaching cream band wagon. Black is black and fair is fair. Be who you are, artifiicials don’t last.  You may wish to ponder on this, what if you choose fair today and in the next few years black becomes the in-thing, what will you do?  In Flavour’s words, ‘Black is BEAUTIFUL’.  

This article is written and sponsored by Ifeoma Ezeama.

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