The skin whitening is not very well seen in Africa because it contributes to stereotypes that dark skin is not beautiful and pushes women, and sometimes men, to clear the skin from spreading. The whitening cream is known as mkorogo ( Swahili mix ) and a concoction made from various ointments and chemicals.
In Kenya the subject is talked about quietly and those who use these products are very reluctant to admit it. So it was quite a surprise that Vera Sidika, belonging to the jet setKenyan, admitted in a live television interview that she cleared up her skin.
He claimed that 15 million Kenyan shillings (about 118,000 euros) had been spent on the treatment. Thank you for using the right word. I have lightened my skin, I have not bleached it, which is what they do at River Road ”, said Vera.
Effie Joan works in a bank as an administrative assistant. You feel marginalized when men say they like fair-skinned women, because their skin tone is dark. “Having fair skin is a great advantage because most women who have it can get jobs as receptionists and also as event hostesses,” she says.
Joan says they make cruel comments to her and ironically call her “albino” because they don’t want to call her black, and she feels terrible about it. She has friends who have lightened their skin to get jobs easily and some to be more beautiful.
“If you want to know if your skin is dark, you just have to walk down River Road and the saleswomen will try to get your attention and sell you oil, which is actually whitening cream,” he adds.
Jimmy Kitiro, a journalist, says there are several reasons why people want this treatment. Understand that many people have low self-esteem and believe that their tone is an inconvenience, and that the only way to be beautiful is to carry out this practice.
“Most of the time, people notice them more. His complexion immediately draws attention. I think this is also a factor that leads them to make that decision. It affects women more because they want society to accept them and they stop at nothing when it comes to feeling beautiful.
They make an effort to fit into what they think is the ideal, ”he adds. Kitiro has never thought of lightening her skin, but she knows a few people who have. So far you have not seen it negatively affect them.
If you want to know if your skin is dark, you just have to walk down River Road and the saleswomen will try to get your attention and sell you oil, which is actually whitening cream
Melissa Wandia works as a communication expert and believes that some people in her environment try to change their natural tone using chemicals.
“I have not done it because I am very comfortable with the tone that I have. But I have heard people say that lighter skin is beautiful, ”says Wandia. He claims that the background of the practice is insecurity and that some have no idea that the products they use contain harmful chemicals.
“I prefer not to name names, but just watch the news in prime time and count the number of light-skinned presenters. We are in Africa, the birthplace of melanin, and it is impossible for only fair-skinned women to apply for the position. This puts pressure on women with a darker complexion who aspire to those jobs, ”he says.
I prefer not to name names, but just watch the news in prime time and count the number of light-skinned presenters. We are in Africa, the birthplace of melanin, and it is impossible for only fair-skinned women to apply for the position
Lillian Wambui works as an accountant. He has dark skin and that has never been a limitation. “People say that my dark skin is beautiful, although it has never given me an advantage over others. I have a friend who has clarified it, but keeps it a secret.
Fortunately it turned out well and it is almost impossible to know that it has been done to him ”, he says. The treatment sensitizes the dermis and they cannot be exposed to the sun. Also, it can cause red and black spots to appear on the surface.
Joanne Kuria is the founder of Double X Agenda, which ran a campaign in 2018 called #myblackisbeautiful [my black is beautiful]. The campaign highlights the discrimination faced by people with dark or chocolate complexions.
“The campaign is important because we try to dismantle the stereotypes and biases that exist in our society. The problem dates back to colonial times, when dark-skinned slaves were put to work on farms because they were considered stronger, while lighter-skinned slaves worked at home because they were considered delicate and more agreeable ”, Explain.
At the beginning of the campaign, after interviewing a few women, Kuria realized the magnitude of the skin color problem: The stories varied, but, for example, black women said they only dated white men. Not necessarily because they liked them, but because they could have mixed-race children with light complexions.
“They don’t want their babies to go through all the teasing and trauma that they had to go through. One woman remembered that in primary school they used to call her usiku, which in Swahili means night , giza, darkness , or kiwi, which is a brand of shoe polish, ”she adds .
One woman remembered that in elementary school they used to call her usiku, which in Swahili means night, giza, darkness, or kiwi, which is a brand of shoe polish.
Joanne also remembers another woman who had self-esteem issues and used to go to River Road to buy bleaching products.
Her father had to ask her to stop because he could no longer recognize her. She also spoke to an actress who said you could only land roles as a servant to the rich, fair-skinned actress.
“On women, society imposes what is considered beautiful. One day they tell us that beauty is in being a size 6, but then Beyoncé Knowles comes and now we have to have a good butt to be beautiful. Most women change their appearance following the dictates of society, but we should not.
Beauty is a buffet that offers variety and not an à la carte dish where you can only order what is on the menu ”, says the founder of Double X Agenda.
In a society that considers a man handsome because he is tall and dark, men can achieve many things because for them the standard of beauty is not very high. For a woman it is not enough to be tall and dark. Joanne points out that a newscaster only needs to have a pretty voice and be capable, but a newscaster also needs good hips, a fair complexion, and a long hairpiece.
“The beauty standards for women are very high. There is a discrepancy between how society views men and how it views women.
This puts a lot of pressure on them to adapt to the expectations of society. We should pay tribute to all women and let them know that they are all beautiful and have something to offer, ”says Joanne.
He says that the most ridiculous comment they made was “you’re pretty … for a dark-skinned girl.” At first, when she was young, she felt very happy thinking that this was a compliment. Now he has matured and is aware that it was an insult.
“I grew up with a mother with a light complexion, and she was very pretty. Leaving aside our skin color, we looked a lot alike, but everyone considered her more beautiful because of her complexion ”, he adds.
“Light-skinned women are called rangi ya thao in slang , because their skin color resembles that of the 1,000 Kenyan shillings banknotes, and as it is the highest denomination, it means that its value is higher.” Joanne explains. “I always joke that maybe I’m more like 500 shillings.
I hope to do more campaigns, because the first one started to get a lot of attention towards the end. The idea – and our hope – is to talk about this issue until people listen and act on it. This problem affects not just girls in Kenya, but all over Africa. ” Her longing, she says, is to see close people on billboards and dark-skinned presenters on news.