Kenyans online have , for the last one week, been actively debating online and in radio shows, the subject of bleaching and skin lightening among women. This is following revelations that a lot of Kenyan women are seeking ways to lighten their skins, a practice that has has increased with most taking more drastic measures which entail use of injecting needles. Most of these are procured from Nairobi’s back street of River Road.
The first Kenyan Socialite and video vixen Vera Sidika was also in the spotlight for lightening her skin and following an interview with Larry on the trend, she has since appeared in various newspaper articles talking about what led her to bleach her skin as well as to clarify to anyone who cares to know the difference that her’s was a very expensive procedure of skin lightening and not bleaching which is cheap.
All the interviews have been focusing on how much it cost her despite the figures being unverified and unrealistic, where she got the money and whether she is a role model.
What no one is asking is, what is leading so many women to bleach their skins or use extreme methods in a bid to become light skins. Although the appeal to men plays a huge role in this decision, there is a worse underlying problem.
The environment that a child grows in deeply shapes how they turn out in life. I deeply believe that the barbie girl dolls, the princess videos and the Hanna Montana series and merchandise that our girls interact with when young plants the seed for more appreciation of long blond flowing hair and light skin.
If kids do not grow watching cartoons of characters who have kinky hair and dark skins then they will grow up feeling that light skin and long hair is superior to others.
We therefore need a Lupita doll that children can own, play with the short kinky hair and dark skin and know that the real life character beat all odds and same prejudices to win the Oscar, be on the cover of every international magazine and be voted as the most beautiful person in 2014.
Maybe when we have a lot more Lupita dolls on toy shelves and in our kids’ bedrooms, our kids will mature into women who will not need a man or chemicals to define who they are.