In honor of Women’s day, I would like to jot down a few thoughts about the ideals of beauty in Sudan which may resonate with the ideals of beauty nowadays globally. It is sad that politics and divide-and-rule politics has created a hybrid population short of the right dosage of self-esteem to flaunt their own natural beauty the way it has been beautifully created to radiant beauty in and of itself. It is sad that the idea of beauty has been tampered with to fit the ideals of politics, commercialism, capitalism, society, parents, friends and bystanders. Basically our own individualistic ideals have been left out of the equation and we have just inevitably fallen prey to what everyone and anything thinks is beautiful. Unique is no longer beauty but rather its antithesis, compliance, is the perceived notion of beauty in our day and age. It is akin to a brainwash that comes from a higher agenda of nihilation for us to be malleable enough to be controlled by our governments, capitalism or society, and so in efforts to “feel better about ourselves” we oscillate towards conforming. Yet, we still tend to react when we see a woman who has bleached her skin to cancer susceptibility, saying “what was she thinking?” when our conformist attitudes may have led her to act that way. In honor of Women’s International Day, fight for the right to be unique. Fight for the right to be beautiful outside of the shackles of conformity whether be it politics, capitalism or society.
I have recently read this blog which echoes some of my thoughts on the matter about beauty in Sudan:
A friend told me in disgust how “all the cashier girls at Afra Mall supermarket have bleached skin”. My friend’s disgust she said was because of the light face dark hands thing “fanta face, coca-cola body”. Which’s a direct result of the cashier girl’s economic position, cheap cosmetic products, not enough money for a full body job, etc.
Now Keep in mind where both my friend and the cashier girl stand on the socioeconomic relationship between them. I find it often that those skin bleaching haters are above the hated on the socioeconomic ladder, those haters who happen to be tolerant of a dyed hair, which costs more money than a dyed face, and usually happens within their class, many people I know who love to deny other women their cosmetic choice of a skin tone, do not oppose other choices like change of hair color. They use derogatory terms such as “this person faskha washaha/her face is skinned”, no such terms are assigned for hair color changers. I jokingly told my friend that’s she’s merely hating on the poor. She argued, ”Hey I am disgusted by Beyonce bleached skin too, and she’s rich”.
But Beyonce is also a subject of a certain socioeconomic relationship where she is forced to alter her skin tone, compared to her “masters” in the so-called “show-biz”, Beyonce is as poor as that cashier girl in Afra Mall.
Sure, both Beyonce and the cashier are probably suffering from an inferiority complex of a sort pushing them to alter their complexion, that’s the “social” in “socioeconomics”. “House slave, field slave” dichotomy people!
I walked through the supermarket in Afra Mall today, and NOT A SINGLE CASHIER has a black face, it is safe to say, if those girls did not bleach their skin, they wouldn’t have landed the cashier job.
But also, I choose not to ignore how a bleached skin person feel about themselves, just as I respect the feelings of a white person with a tanned skin, I only wish black women who chose to lighten their skin tone, avoid harmful products, and make that choice away from stigma.
We are being bombarded with huge billboards in #Khartoum bearing light skin models setting the standards for who is beautiful and who’s not, Our joke of national TV stations are showcasing light skin faces on daily basis as the face of success. Our schools curriculums are filled with glorification to Arabism and very little tribute to our Africanness, even school names, in areas where almost all the inhabitant are black, are named after Arab figures, women are brought from Philippines to waiter in #Khartoum restaurants because no one wants their business face to be black, and I won’t even speak of blatant racism in Sudanese society, all this and more, are stigmatizing people of black skin.
So be disgusted with the socioeconomic inequality, be disgusted with the vendor who sells harmful skin products, be disgusted with racism, be disgusted with the disgusting system that subordinates and enslaves people that is imperialism, and do something to change them. Don’t be disgusted with the little girl hiding her dark hands in gloves so the contrast with her light face don’t disgust you when you’re paying for your low-fat milk that keeps your choice of body shape intact.