I understand why people might want to bleach their skin. After all, it is harder for one to feel beautiful when society is telling you that you are the opposite of what they consider beautiful.

I watched an episode of a popular 90s TV show yesterday where the female protagonist decided she wanted to have a breast augmentation transplant. She came to this decision because she was tired of losing out to females with bigger, bolder chests. She was smart and lovely, but didn’t have the equipment necessary to get her lead female roles.

These days we don’t have the understanding, nor the self-love to be satisfied or pleased with what God made. Instead we look for ways to pump our lips, lighten our skin, add to our body parts and so on. Because of this, we create a society of people who are influenced by the outward appearance, forgetting that it is what is on the inside that counts.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “beauty is only skin-deep?” It means external attractiveness has no relation to a person’s kindness, good humour or wisdom. We spend so much time polishing what is on the outside, ensuring that we are wearing all the right clothes, sucking our stomachs in, changing the colour of our skin, and less time polishing our characters.

Kahlil Gibran said “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”

But it’s easier said than done, right? We all want to be noticed, we want to walk by and have girls or guys turn their heads to take a second look, we want to be admired. And slacking on your outward appearance is not the way to get admiration. So, our makeup has to be slick, we wear waist cinchers, and we bleach to convince the world that we are indeed good enough and worthy of notice.

But is it possible to change society’s standards of beauty by refusing to yield to them? Think about it: “If all girls started wearing no makeup and comfortable clothes, guys would have no choice but to fall for girls because of natural beauty.” This quote by Akosiminminmin, definitely has one thinking about the web we have woven for ourselves.

But this article doesn’t apply just to the ladies; men have become increasingly superficial these days. Men spend less time leaving their caves to hunt for wildebeests and more time at the barbers, getting the hair shaped just right. I knew a guy who would travel for three hours to see his barber because only that barber could cut his hair. And I hear men bleach too!

I don’t expect that one should neglect one’s looks, but we should not forget that looks are in the end just the surface and it is the brain and the heart that we should spend our time and our money improving.



Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo and has been freelancing as a writer and editor since. She has had short stories published in anthologies and has also self published work. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top ten spoken word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam.

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