Black & White Barbie Dolls.. “Shade Doesn’t matter Heart Makes The Lover… Girl You So Beautiful” By Dimo Wa Moraswi Sekele

18 Jun


“It is just a Barbie doll I don’t understand why you are stressing about it??”

#blackbutterflythursday: “The Caterpillar is a prisoner to the streets that conceived it” kendrick Lamar

Girls spent most of their early years playing with dolls which of course is nothing bad. In their playing they act as parents to the dolls, you have to admire the power of a young mind to reproduce all the things they hear which were either said to them, about them or in their presence. Or is it mother nature telling a tale of natural abilities, either way the little girls get to comb the long hair and admire the light skin pigmentation. Is it fair to let young girls hate themselves because they don’t have the same hair or skin colour as Barbie? Hell all they see around their environment is weave, lots of makeup and less of that natural hair.

Admiration for light skin, long eyelashes and long hair starts at an early age for most black girls, it is not a case of choice like we would like to believe. Even if we were to have a black Barbie, studies have shown that young girls would still pick the white one, even though women are the ones who suffer more studies have proven that men are equally affected by the issue of black skin versus light skin. One comedian argues “that is why when brothers get established they marry a white women” with this being true in some instance you can safely say it was a humorous observation. Lately a lot of men have added to the struggle of our black sisters by being so vocal about their preference for light skinned women (yellow bones) now with all these knowledge we can start to analyze what might be wrong if anything is wrong. Does light skin mean more beautiful or is it the after effects of colonization? Or the direct results of sensational marketing that leads to self hate if not adhered to. Is it because we were made to believe that the color of the skin somehow affects one’s IQ?

“1 out of 3 women in South Africa admitted to using skin lightening products, while in Nigeria the stats stand at 4 out of five”

Obsession with beauty can’t be left out of this analysis as research shows that in 2012 alone south Africa contributed to a share of $3.4 billion being the highest in the continent in regard to the sales of beauty products. Why would a nation be that obsessed with looking beautiful? Does this signal deep underlying issues that we are hiding under our heavy makeup, lipstick and long eye lashes? This is confirmed by the report released this year that 1 out of 3 women in South Africa admitted to using skin lightening products, while Nigeria boastfully takes home the win in this case with 77% of women using skin lightening products. One is tempted to ask if the choice these women make is based on what they truly like or what they think other people like. The issue of beauty for women in general has always been a complex one, with African Sized women trying to fit into a size 26, while in other parts of the world size 26 women are trying to attain that African booty. Light skin versus dark skin, short hair versus long hair, weave versus natural, blond versus brunette; but in the heart of all this issues we can’t help but observe that seeking validation and lack of confidence in one’s physique fuels this ongoing struggle to define beauty in the eyes of the second person or society in extreme cases.

“African Sized women are now trying to fit into that size 26, while in other parts of the world size 26 women are trying to attain that African booty”

While the general response you get when asking why people bleach their skin is “my skin my choice”. A study contacted in Tanzania shows amongst other reasons, women bleach to attract partners or impress them while others do it to be lighter and “beautiful”. With all this observations, it is obvious that the cut is deeper than we can imagine, the American music videos that have influenced our local videos with light skinned girls walking around is a billboard for marketing a cancerous psychologically linked image of beauty that is not only sad but life threatening. The photo shopped images in the weekly magazines and model ambassadors of beauty products also add to this pressure. But before the music videos, she had already started playing with Barbie hence I still maintain that Barbie should be black toned with an afro, dread locks or even better a brushed haircut.

While we can’t judge, ridicule or prevent people from bleaching we can help reduce the huge number by redefining African Beauty. And educating people about the side effects of these practices. If being beautiful means putting yourself at a high risk of getting skin cancer, liver failure, kidney failure, psychiatric disorder, severe birth defects for your unborn child then the beauty you talking about is unhealthy, let us not ignore the internal struggle that influenced the decision to bleach in the first place, assuming that a lighter skin will resolve that struggle will be a blatant lie. Low self-esteem and the pressures to live up to what society perceives as beautiful are the reasons sitting comfortably behind an annual $74 billion industry that serves no purpose, adds no value but still manages to sell our Naturally gorgeous African sisters illusions and dreams.

What happened to seeing things differently????? If we all are going to regard light as the only type of acceptable beauty, then we will be putting  more minds in danger as our little sisters and beautiful unborn daughters would go out there and try to live up these made-up illusions about beauty. All these has devastating emotional and psychological effects!!

Black is beautiful and so is white and so is every shade that falls in between this two extremes.

 “Shade Doesn’t matter Heart Makes The Lover… Girl You So Beautiful…Girl You So Beautiful…” Wale


Article by Dimo Wa Moraswi Sekele


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