By Randell Zuleka Dauda
Yesterday I went to a local Beauty parlor to inquire about hair conditioner. As I awaited service, my eyes were fixed in the shelves: How can a little brown girl grow up to love herself when she's subjected to these images In her local "beauty" shop? We tell her to be herself and love herself, but we show her images of what beauty is and they are far from what she sees in the mirror.
Deep in the rural parts of one of Africa's oldest nation is a beauty store where these products sits. The images and Names depicts an utopia for beauty- an image out little brown babies can on strive for. Even when they think they have achieved what is advertised, they have to subject their skin to harsh chemicals. They look in the mirror everyday and we teach them to hate what they see. How can you live what is not fair or clear? With names like that, their brown skin become unfair and not clear. They see their faces as in need of repair. They try to "fix" a problem that isn't even there to begin with.
In the Liberian setting where we say things like "fine bright* geh" it only speaks down to those not so "bright" little girls. With the names of the products on that list, we are teaching our future mothers to hate their skin. There is nothing beautiful about a beauty shop that sends a message of hatred for our bodies. How can we love our children and husbands when we can't even love ourselves? Someone please tell me-
Brown skin girls are already taught to hate themselves at a very young age with the dolls we gave them. Please do not talk to me about children not understanding the concept of race. As those very same children grow into teenagers, they are again subjected to an image of beauty that does not look like them. The message here is clear- there is nothing lovable about the skin they are in. Our society sends a message that there is a problem that can be solve using these so called beauty products.
If someone will only tell them that the very solution is where the problem lies. You can not beautify what is already beautiful. Let me break this down a little bit. Dark skin does not need a product to make it glow because the very make up of dark skin dark is the pigmentation that naturally attracts sunlight! Let me repeat myself- Dark skin people naturally attracts sunlight. What light is more powerful than the sun?? How then can people try to sell a product that is suppose to make the skin glow make glow? We were created to shine! The next time you see a brown skin young woman, you better tell her to go ahead and keep shinning.
In fact, what gives anyone the right to want to perfect God's perfection? Did someone not tell these folks that the very skin that cover these young women are miracles within itself? Young brown girls do not need a miracle product when life itself is already a gift. I wish I can talk to each and every little girl that walks in and out of these "beauty" shops. Psychologically we are destroying our young people. The skin you find yourself is not a curse, but a blessing. Other women around the world spend hours and so much money trying to get darker skin in the name of tanning. Someone need to start telling our young women to keep skinning in the name of what is right! There is nothing more attractive than a woman who is happy in the skin she is in. The world does not have to tell her what perfection is. The image in the mirror is all it will take to portray perfection. White is not right, but neither is brown. When you look past the surface, there is a soul in each and every one of these young women. A soul that is corrupted with images like the one above. We need to love ourselves first and foremost. When we love ourselves, we give others no choice, but to love us. When we spread love, the whole world become a better place for all of us.
I am very disappointed and ashamed to even be writing this while residing in Africa. The fact that even deep in rural Africa the image of beauty is not a brown skin woman makes me disappointed, but I'm also motivated to change this. I hope each and every brown skin woman reading this can teach little girls that beauty is what she sees in the mirror and not what they sell on the shelves of our beauty store.
I love you brown girl.
I love you brown woman.
God loves us all.
*bright refers to a lighter skin tone.