African Phenomenal of Bleaching skin to look “white”


while growing up in 1980’s most kenyan women used to buy mecurial soaps and lotions like popular brand in kenya called Ambi to bleach their skin so that they could make their skin appear light skinned to attract African males who due to mental colonialism preferred light skinned women. The light skin is seen as sign of beauty because of the inferiority complex imposed on africans by whites who made Africans look at whites as the yardstick of humanity and beauty.

However, as society became enlightened by education and gained knowledge that whites were not superior and that their skin pigmentation was not the the yardstick of beauty most African women abandoned the practice of bleaching their skin but in some countries such as Nigeria and Zaire men and women continue to bleach their skin. I was watching music videos by zairean musicians and that is when I noticed most performers in the band were of light skin pigmentation and after further inquiry I realized it was due to bleaching of skin.

So my question is how wide spread is the skin bleaching madness among africans in Africa and Diaspora? Do you know some one who bleaches their skin

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5 thoughts on “African Phenomenal of Bleaching skin to look “white”

  1. Stephy says:

    My background is zairen sadly both my parents bleach but my dad does it to maintain a chocolate colour my mom on the other hand wants to get as white as possible when I turned 16 my mom let me start bleachin she didn’t want me to but I pointed out she was bein hypocritical I only wanted to do it because I look like my mom and I was constantly bein told if I was the same color as her i’d b more pretty. Eventually I stopped after a few months cz my skin became so sensitive and nothing else was changing colour but my face. When I turned 19 I moved out and my sister came to visit me and as she walked towards me my fiance asked me why did my sister look yellow (he’s caucasian) trie enough my sister had started bleaching she was 17 at the time she thought she looked amazing and I didn’t wana boss her around so I told her to take it slow because she looks like someone with a skin disorder her answer to me was “yur just jealous yur not the hot one anymore” that absolutely broke my heart cz I understood in a small way how she felt anyways eventually sge ran away from home and was living with her caucasian friend and they went away dyring the summer and my sister called me crying because she had gotten too much sun and was turning blk and ugly and she wanted me to buy her some bleach so when she gets home her friend will think sge just got sunburnt she didn’t her caucasian or blk friends knowing she bleached I refused to buy the lotion.

    I later found out that my brother wbo was 14 at the time had started bleaching my sister kept going on about how handsome he was now that he looked like chris brown.

    Yhere are 7 kids in my family. Me bein the eldest it makes me sad to think that EVERY child in my family will at some point bleach because its seen as somethin to make us beautiful

  2. Laura says:

    I honestly do not understand why african men prefer ‘white’ looking women?…i am not from africa…so perhaps this is an objective opinion….is this ideal accepted all over africa ?..or just in some parts..?

    • njamba says:

      it must the legacy of colonialism where white was seen a beauty, progress while anything black was defined as backward and ugly. Most societies have fought hard to reverse this This practice is only remaining mostly in Francophone countries such as Zaire and West Africa region in countries such as Nigeria and cameroun. In Zaire both men and women lighten their skin. why these societies still embrace this must be a question of sociologist to answer. I know in DRC (Zaire) men are know to be what in west we would call Metro Sexual. The western culturne in Zaire allows men to do make up, straighten their hair, do manicure and pedicure, paint nails etc.. It is acceptable.. while in countries such as Kenya and others in East and Central region such acts are seen as gay and are strongly discourages

      • Laura says:

        Hello there, laura here. I am from Ireland. I have a friend that is Ghanaian and she has this attitude toward her own skin also….her husband is very much her master she makes comments about her skin being ‘too dark’ ..and also about the differences she has encountered here in Ireland, in regards to the attitude(s) toward women and their appearance..i find the difference in how she was treated in Ghana hard to understand…she is beautiful…!!

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