African Press International (API)

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Do men prefer light-skinned women?

Posted by African Press International on July 11, 2009


Whether its through television commercials, billboards or local and international print and electronic media, the cosmetic industry is giving away their secret to making your skin look fairer, and hence more beautiful. Suddenly, every woman wants to be noticed, and the only way to achieve that is by bleaching their skin to look fairer.

Theres a common misconception in our society, and especially among women, that only light skin is beautiful. Regardless of the health risks involved, many women with darker skin tones are opting for skin lighteners to improve their skin colour.

Absurd as it may appear, most beautiful, dark-skinned women believe they would look better if they had a lighter complexion. For instance, many women will openly come clean that they have skin lighteners among their beauty products.

Although some of these women claim to use these products with the aim of removing skin blemishes, looking fairer is usually the hidden agenda.

Consequently, manufacturers of skin lightening products are making huge profits because light skin is the new in thing. Its no wonder scores of Kenyan women are opting to have mixed-race babies because they want fair-skinned, beautiful kids!

I know it sounds outrageous, but you better believe it. So whats this craze about looking fairer, and must one be fair to be attractive?

Here are some interesting findings
Catherine* admits to using harsh skin-lighteners and declares she isnt quitting any time soon. She says, I use what is known as mkorogo, a combination of skin-lighteners that work effectively and very fast.

Just two weeks after using this product, my complexion changed and I looked completely different (meaning beautiful). Initially, I used to buy the cream from a woman who imported beauty products from Uganda, but now it is available locally.

Thanks to mkorogo, my self-esteem improved and I started feeling beautiful. I loved my new skin tone and was definitely getting more attention, especially from men. Even those who used to ignore me started talking to me. I even got involved with a white man who ended up marrying me.

I wouldnt have achieved that if it were not for my new, glowing and light skin tone. Its no secret that men love light-skinned women, and thats why we go to great lengths to please them. Light skin sells, and Im living proof

Sadly, this damaging mentality is prevalent among many women. During my research, I was disappointed to discover that many women sail in the same boat as Catherine.

And it doesnt matter their level of education, yet one would expect the educated ones to know better. Of the same opinion was Prisca*, a beauty spa owner in Nairobi who said, When I was in hairdressing school, I used to have very beautiful, light-skinned friends.

I envied them so much because most men used me as a platform to get to them. This hurt me tremendously and gave me the feeling that I wasnt good enough. I actually started to avoid going out with these friends because no man would look at me if I was with them.

So when I opened my spa and started earning a good income, I didnt think twice about buying expensive beauty products that would lighten my skin. Nowadays I go for products advertised in magazines like Essence, Cosmopolitan and Ebony because they are used by celebrities.

My skin looks so much lighter now and it feels great to get so many compliments thrown my way about my complexion. Although these products cost a fortune, its all worth it.

I have used them for many years and the issue of side-effects do not worry me. Its not like using backstreet skin bleaches that damage skin. These are high society products that are extremely safe

Is a light complexion more beautiful?
With the invasion of our culture by Western vlaues, a pattern has been created where a light-skinned woman is considered more beautiful. Most women, even girls as young as 12-year, believe that one must be light skinned to be beautiful.

Take a look at our fashion icons and models in most cases, lighter skin tones continue to get preference over their darker skinned sisters. But this is not just as a result of what the media promote all around the world.

Just like Catherine and Prisca, most women prefer to look lighter because it makes them feel good about themselves.
Unfortunately, what most dont realise is the fact that beauty is only skin deep. Unless you feel good on the inside, you will never be happy by changing your skin tone from dark brown to yellow. Regarding this issue, here is what some men had to say

Anthony*, a systems engineer, is of the opinion that women are making a big fuss about the question of skin tones. He says, A womans beauty does not depend on how light her skin is. Women have been misled into thinking that men will only pursue them if they have a light complexion.

Before I got married, I dated many women, and some of them had lighter skin than others. But even so, the issue of skin tone played no role in my selection criteria. I was looking for someone who is beautiful all round, someone with a big heart, someone who is kind and intelligent.

Eventually, I found my perfect match, and she was a black beauty dark-skinned and beautiful both inside and out.

So women should know that its not about the tone of the skin but rather, the whole package. You could be light-skinned but if that is was all you have, it doesnt make you attractive

And on the same, James* who works for an international humanitarian rights organisation says, I think its a slap in the face to our African culture when women try to change the way they look. Be it skin colour, hair or body type, women should appreciate and cherish how beautiful they are naturally.

Being beautiful is not a matter of how light or dark-skinned you are but rather, what you have to offer in terms of character and your personality as a whole.

Western culture and its idea of what is beautiful has eroded our womens minds and suddenly, they are going for skin lighteners in a bid to try and look beautiful.

For your information, men like natural beauty. What I know is that most men would rather avoid women wearing heavy make-up or those who bleach their skin.

Women need to know that some of these unnatural things are a complete turn-off for men. While everybody is free to do what they want about their appearance, in my opinion, natural beauty should be more valued

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