Teaching exposed me to one of the social issues among the grassroots people of Nigeria especially secondary school teenagers as it relates to skin bleaching. It is no news that once the word ‘bleaching’ is mentioned, the first image that comes to our mind is someone who was once black turning artificially white overnight through the aid of any cream from a local chemist shop, whether in the form of a tube cream or otherwise, we know to bleach is very easy. Just ask the chemist next door for a whitening cream…lol.
Skin bleaching as we know is something usually done by older folks but quite recently, the quadrant started sifting towards the younger adolescent generation. For someone still wondering what skin bleaching is all about, let me give you a brief on it.
Skin bleaching is using hydroquinone and organic mercury contained creams in changing the skin’s pigmentation, whereby collagen sheds off. Collagen as it were, helps fight off bacterial, fungal infections and a host of others. Now, when collagen sheds off, a lighter skin appears. This process looks like shaving a life cow off it fur, you know once the fur is gone what appears is the white calve which can never protect it from weather and nature. More plainly, skin bleaching is changing the color of your skin, body (the one that human eyes can see without microscope) by using creams that have ingredient to do that.
Straight to the matter, I came in contact with teenage girls who have taken to this trend. As one of them said, her mother had bought her the cream. Another student said she liked the feeling it gave her. She loved being fair-skinned and nothing would deter her from pursuing her desire. Lastly, the particular case that broke my heart was of a junior school girl whose skin was badly blemished from the use of bleaching cream. The sight of this beautiful girl was not a good one to the eye and the awful thing was her parents knew about it. Thankfully, when I confronted her, the situation was already being remedied but still the deed was irrevocable.
As it stays, many parents expose their children to the ills of this epidemic in ignorance. Some have knowledge of what they are buying into but when nemesis catches up, the devil blame game takes hold. This is jeopardizing futures for deathly pleasure.
Secondly, our girls (doesn’t exclude boys too but more of cases revolve around girls who are either pressurize by media, friends and magazine models) are so exposed to the negative side of the media and what they perceive to be vogue, they emulate. The media should be agent of positive social change especially to the young adolescents. Instead of promoting celebrities with shallow mindsets, female icons with exemplary lifestyle and achievements should be projected. We should create a chain of positive role-modeling.
Let’s save our girls and boys too from this distorted mentality, let’s save their health and future, let’s project the dignity in our color. Bleaching doesn’t change the value of our worth, only the altitude of our thinking does. The big picture says:
“Black is real, Black is vogue, Black is me”
But really, there’s no black nor white except as we’ve chosen to classify ourselves as such. What’s more important is that we embrace who we were created to be and let nothing created by human faculty be a stumbling block.
Found this worthwhile? Read How I Began to Love Scars.
© SL Kreativez, 2017.