Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Skin Lightening- Would you do it?

In a world where beauty often only goes skin deep and light skin is perceived by many as more desirable, dark-skinned women find it more and more difficult to love and be comfortable in their own skin.

Skin bleaching or whitening has unfortunately become a common phenomenon in many countries. These products are used by women around the world in order to obtain blemish-free, lighter and brighter skin tones. Yet, many ignore the health warnings associated with using these often dangerous skin bleaching products.

Nigeria tops the list of countries where women use these products most. According to the World Health Organisation, 77% of Nigerians use skin bleaching products on a daily basis – and this is not just confined to female users. Other countries where skin bleaching is popular includes Kenya, USA, Thailand and South Africa. In many African countries light-skinned women are considered more beautiful and believed to be more successful and more likely to get married. This ignited backstreet skin whitening markets with vendors selling their own skin bleaching products and injections promising to remove melanin. Women who use these products aren't trying to be white; it's more about fitting in and feeling more accepted by their society. Society should accept people the way they are to avoid damage to the skin. Skin bleaching techniques could have serious side effects and complications like inflammation (swelling and redness), skin irritation, or burning and itchy skin. Many skin bleaching products contain ingredients that have been banned in most African countries due to the dangerous effects they have on one’s health. But, there are safe, natural home remedies that can be applied to the skin such as lemon, honey, Aloe Vera, oranges and yoghurt which can help take away black spots. Why would we want to change our skin colour because of other people’s definition of beauty?

I do not think that one just wakes up one day and decide “I want to be a light skinned girl”. It is something a person would put a lot of thought into and to do it because one is not happy with the skin that they are in, to me that is a reflection of self-hatred and other self-esteem issues.

With that being said, people have different reasons for bleaching their skin - some to cover up dark spots and some to even up their skin tone, so let's not judge until we have walked in someone else's shoes.

Whatever your reason may be - if you have decided to bleach your skin, make sure you are ready and doing it for all the right reasons.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Shaming the Rape Culture

A friend of mine a long time ago was sexually assaulted at University and has never told anybody until recently when she told me on the verge of breakdown despite the fact that it happened a very long time ago. She has not recovered from it and is still struggling to be normal. I asked myself why rape is the only crime where victims are blamed. When she was sexually assaulted, people still asked her what she was wearing and whether she was drunk or not! That is actually not the point- the point is we teach men not to rape not how women should dress. Sexual assault and rape existed even before mini skirts and even in cultures where drinking alcohol is not common in women, they still get raped.

Below are some of the reasons why some women don’t report.

·         Feeling young and powerless  

·         Shame                                           

·         Self –blame                                  

·         Desire to move on                     

·         Belief that reporting will not do any good

·         Not wanting to turn a family member in 

·         Effect on future relationships                  

·         Afraid of further damage from attacker 

·         Afraid of legal process

·         Knew the person and didn’t want to destroy their life

According to UN, 30 percent of women worldwide have their first sexual experience as forced. This should not be happening. No more ‘boys will be boys’. There is no excuse for sexual assault and rape.

Please remember:

·         Being in a relationship is not consent to having sex

·         We have had sex before is not a consent

·         If they are not sober they can’t consent

·         The absent of ‘NO’ is not a consent

·         Flirting is not a consent

·         If you have to convince them it’s not a consent

·         If they don’t feel to say ‘NO’ it’s not a consent

Only an informed, sober, freely given ongoing enthusiastic ‘YES’ is consent.


Sunday, 10 July 2016

Lets talk about black hair

Hair in the black community is a complicated, volatile topic. Considering the amount of money spent in this industry, I am sure by now with that money I would have bought houses. Growing up I remember my mum shaving my hair so that I would not struggle every morning getting ready for school. In those days, the only thing we used on our hair was water and soap. So in my teens seeing the African American women celebrities with hair that looked like it was more manageable than mine, I wanted what they had and when cream relaxers hit the market in Zimbabwe, I jumped on the opportunity.

Historically, straight hair and curly/wavy hair has been seen as more socially acceptable. Curly/wavy hair is more acceptable than kinky hair because it's seen as closer to white. When growing up, a lot of black girls are fed a steady diet of media where the "good girls," the princesses, the protagonists, are blond and have streaming, manageable hair past their shoulders. It is only natural to want to emulate the hairstyles you grew up idolizing: but we need to make sure that girls of ALL physical types have access to media that tells them their hair is also beautiful, that they don't have to deny a portion of themselves as "unnatural" or innately ugly and irredeemable

Then I discovered weaves and wigs! Like many teenage girls at the time of growing up, one wants to look good. I wasn’t in for weaves to only look good but I had a theory that if I protect my hair from harsh weather elements and manipulation for 1-2 months, then definitely I was giving it a chance to grow long and longer hair is a dream for most young women. Another reason for weaves and other types of extensions is easy maintenance rather than emulating Caucasian women. We all lead busy lifestyles!

However, not every black woman with straight and/or blonde hair is wearing fake hair. There is such a thing as hair color, and relaxers or heating tools applied to natural hair will straighten it.

So, it's still their hair. And using a relaxer or a hot tool isn't any different from what many nonblack women do to take the curl out of THEIR hair. White women use flat irons to straighten their hair as well, relaxers for nonblack coarse hair do exist, and they color their hair all the time, but nobody accuses them of hating their hair.

I don't know a race of women that does not wear wigs, perm, color, and weave aka "add extensions" to their hair. 

Somebody said to me once, ‘Is that your hair or it’s fake?’ I told them it was of course my hair and not ‘FAKE’, but she could not believe it and kept on banging about how black women fake hair length by using extensions.

I wasn’t happy  because, I was actually rocking my hair and even if I wasn’t ,it was my business wasn’t it?

I personally know many women non-black, who wear extensions for special styles, or to add length or fullness, or to cover up a bad haircut, or dye job...whatever the reason. All cultures do it. Women of all races have done things to their hair for ages.

We are women just doing what women do ...anything and everything to be beautiful and sexy however that translates to the individual.

My hope is that every black woman will give their natural hair a shot; I've never felt as beautiful as I do wearing my natural hair.