Black women skin bleaching – to what end?

Skin bleaching or skin toning as some people prefer to call it has been around in Nigeria for a long time. In the ’70s Satina Skin Tone Cream was quite popular among the youths as the “thing” to do for a lovely skin complexion. I have known for a long time now that one main reason we have people peeling off their skins to be lighter than their original skin tone is lack of self-love. Most of what we were made to belief about what skin bleaching or toning would do to self-confidence only exists in the head.

Photo Credits: TJ Bello @ Nigeria Nostalgia Project
Photo Credits: TJ Bello @ Nigeria Nostalgia Project

Black women bleaching their skin to oblivion always makes headlines on newspapers not because it’s any positive news but because it shows how insecure the person under the skin was. Oftentimes, this is triggered by the fact that the society tend to equate light-skinned shades to being more attractive – this is not true and we all know it. Societal pressures and media skewed reports are all to blame for this.

At a recent US African Leaders Summit, Cameroon First Lady – Chantal Biya made the headline not because she is an African and a First Lady but because her look and hair bear no resemblance to an African she claims to be.  Washington Post had a few words for Cameroon First Lady and her ship-load of hair.  Also, the skin tone? No wonder lots of younger girls who looked up to women in her position for guidance were going nuts with skin damaging.

My question is as a First Lady you are already in a position whereby many people both women and men alike looked up to you as a wise one whose character is worth emulating, do you really need to go through several pots of bleaching cream to be noticed?

Nineteen years old of me did exact same thing. Working and earning my money for the first time in a big city Lagos. My sister was kind so didn’t ask for me to contribute to the housekeep and me having no responsibility spent my hard-earned naira on clothes and Tura+. This cream – I can’t even believe how it managed to get Health Minister’s approval to be allowed on the market. It was hot to touch like hell, within one week my skin tone was noticeably different – lighter. And yes, I was more noticeable mostly to the most unwanted crowd you can imagine. Their perception of me was based on what they see outwards whereas my reason for bleaching my skin was of low self esteem – a village girl in a wild city. And of course I did not find solace in the cream it was such a waste of time and money and needless risk on my skin.

I don’t particularly liked it when Nigeria religious leaders tie everything to God and heaven, it doesn’t work when you want people to see the truth about the damage they are doing to themselves. Cheesy reasons like the one Pastor Mrs Adeboye of Redeemed Church gave works for people who are under the spell of religion, hope they wake up soon enough.

Nigerian man needs sperm count test – Time to talk to the priests?

A friend got married ten months ago. In Nigeria, you were expected to get pregnant shortly after marriage and if you didn’t, all eyes will be on the wife. Grace hasn’t been too happy lately. The thoughts of her delayed conception weighs her down – a lot. She has done a few tests with her doctors in Lagos, the tests came out that nothing was wrong with her. She was advised by the doctors to wait until her marriage is one year to see if more invasive testing could reveal any reason she hasn’t conceived.

I don’t have any real advice as I have never been in Grace’ shoes however, I have heard and read a bit about the subject of infertility and I am well aware that in Yoruba culture, more often than not women are usually the ones that get blamed in the first instance for family challenge such as this. As Grace and I chatted along, then it occurred to me that it might be wise that Daniel go for semen analysis test just to be sure who among the couple needed help. Male infertility is less talked about in Nigeria, for some reasons, we always assumed men are perfectly made so no problem in that department. Well the only time we tend to talk about it is if the man in question has no erection at all and of course infertility goes beyond that. According to research, one out of three cases of infertility – the problem is associated with male and this include low sperm count, I guess it’s wise to check if Daniel’s little swimmers could in fact swim and at what rate, the shape of the semen, in which case the professionals will give appropriate advise. Also I read somewhere that some men experience absence of sperm during ejaculation due to blockage and that this can also be corrected by surgery – good news all round.

Grace agrees and said they have been told by another friend earlier but she wondered how the doctors would conduct a test on her husband. It probably would be less invasive compared to what women in the same situation go through. Physical tests, family history and perhaps semen analysis will be conducted, I added. “How would they do semen analysis”? Grace asked, “I don’t know, I have never been a man.” I joked. I sent Grace a link to this fertility clinic website so she learns the robes herself.

“Small minds have always lashed out at what they don’t understand.” ― Dan Brown

This is where Nigeria youths are very interesting indeed. Sometimes we waste so much time fighting over ideas that we do not fully understand and thank heavens we are blessed (pun intended) with religious priests to colour- code everything we do as black and white and tie all to that glorious day we get to heaven.

Grace is a 31 years old, smart and have university degree in Economics so don’t be quick to call her a villager. She is a good woman with moral values and of course she is a thorough-bred Nigerian, trapped between listening to the priests and using her head. She heard Rev TB Joshua and Pastor Chris Oyakhilome exchanging heated argument on masturbation a while ago. Both of these religious leaders have millions of Nigerians listening to them every week and most of the followers will take whatever they say literally. Their arguments were limited and tied to heaven, our bodies being temple of God reasons. Neither of them steps back to realise we live in real world where people like Daniel will have to masturbate to get his semen analysed and yet Nigerians listen to these guys!

The third pastor – my favourite – Rev. Adeboye of Redeemed church joined the “crusade” basically supporting TB Joshua’s agreement that masturbation is a sin to God’s temple leaving Oyakhilome as the only one among the trio to support that masturbation is not a sin and has nothing to do with God because it is your body.

If you really want to know a lot about Nigerians attitude – pay attention to their religious leaders.

Don’t be deceived by Oyakhilome’s support of masturbation – the only reason he supports the idea of masturbation as a perfectly healthy exercise for adults was because for the most part he lives away from where his wife was. He is based in Nigeria most of the time and wife in the United Kingdom so masturbation makes sense for him to stay out of trouble, if that was not the case he would have joined TB Joshua and Baba Adeboye to echo how ungodly the act is. They are all hypocrites.

None of these very famous Nigerian pastors mentioned the situation whereby men just have to masturbate not because he chose to but because he must do so to safe his family from heart ache. Still people listen to them.

Now Daniel is going to visit a Urologist soon (I hope he does) and likely to have to do semen tests, if he has been listening to these guys, he would have to unlearn some of the lies he was fed with and feed the “cup” so he can have a happy family. Now Grace knew a bit more about male infertility, she is willing to do all kinds of tests but now wise enough to encourage Daniel to do his part too as it makes no sense to put all the pressure on the woman when the man has not received “all clear” from the professionals.

So next time your pastors is preaching and relating everything to God, sins and heaven – I hope you can bring up an example of real life situation whereby we do need to solve our real life problems with real life practicalities.