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WOMEN'S TALK

Black Authenticity: #Women Talk

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Society has of late and if not for centuries decreed that dark skin is ugly and for one to be more appealing and readily acceptable they have to be light in complexion more so for women.  Many Africans strongly believe, “if it is white it is beautiful”. This has resulted in black women bleaching their skin.

Most people attribute skin bleaching to black women due to the black race being mentally imprisoned due to colonization, white skin was the epitome of beauty and or to the media that often portrays light-skinned black Africans as the mouthpiece of the whole race. I strongly believe it’s a choice we make every day as a people because only you can define who you are.

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If we were born with the mentality that, “Black” was intended to mean inferior after a time our ancestors had suffered psychological mayhem of internalized self-hate due to colonization that was not our mistake. However, if we live feeling inferior and loathing our dark skin that is now our choice we have made.

A young black actress who has been labeled a revolutionary for black women after she went through backlash for her casting in the movie, The Hunger Games once remarked, “……My blackness does not inhibit me from being beautiful and intelligent.  In fact it is the reason I am beautiful and intelligent”.  Her empowering words helped me realize that the problem with us black women is loathing our blackness as a choice we make because it is either we wish were lighter then bleach our skin to look lighter or we simply embrace our blackness and love the skin we were born in. 

When a black woman uses chemicals to bleach her skin she is not only saying she thinks she is ugly, but she is screaming “hey I have some degree of self-hate and I have low self-esteem.” African women are hence unequivocally telling their daughters and sisters that they are ugly.  If we are women of faith we have to recall that God does not make mistakes.

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A recent World Health Organization report said Nigerians are the highest users of skin bleaching products, with 77% of Nigerian women using skin bleaching on a regular basis.  They are followed by Togo with 59%, South Africa with 35%, and Mali at 25%. 

Skin lightening use is also rife in Zimbabwe.  More women are resorting to using skin lightening products ostensibly to look more beautiful and attractive. And it seems they are not deterred by the government’s warnings about the adverse effects of skin bleaching products.

Apart from psychological negative effects, skin bleaching has negatives health effects and these include skin cancer, thinning of the skin, neurological and kidney damage due to high levels of mercury used in the creams, psychiatric disorders among many others.

The aforementioned is by no means meant to scare people because the fact of the matter is no amount of official bans or public awareness campaigns will stop people from wanting a temporary enjoyment of what they presume to be beauty, even if it means risking serious health problems in the long run, until we change the entrenched messages in our minds that black is inferior.

My fellow black women, we have to rise up and see our blackness as a gift, make our blackness into something we are proud of not something dictated to us by people who don’t have to and who will never live our lives for us. We are strong, beautiful, courageous black women, and something seemingly small as what we put on our skin and why we put it on can either make us or break us. Liberating ourselves from the internalized self-hate of our black skin is a gift we can only give ourselves and hence pass it on to our children and their children’s children.

Black is just extremely so beautiful. Look at the evening sky and how pitch black it is on a winter’s night with a hint of stars, it’s a breathtaking view, which is how our blackness shall be if we let it be.  We, (Black women), are that beautiful dark sky, and the light of self respect,  and belief in ourselves as a people are those stars.

 It is a privilege to be born a black woman as noted in the quote by Maya Angelou,  “I can’t believe my good fortune, I’m so grateful to be a Black woman, I would be jealous if I were anything else”. These words should repeat themselves in the mind of a black woman every day. Being black is good fortune and we should therefore be grateful and jealously guard our blackness.  As we embrace our blackness we become living and breathing monuments to the fact that Black is indeed beautiful.  Rise up young black woman and love your blackness! Maya Angelou appreciated being black with writing which follows:

“You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still like dust I’ll rise

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

 I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide

Welling and swelling I bear the tide”

                                          Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise”                     

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CHIEDZA PRINCILY MANDINIKA

Twitter~@the_real_divaP

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WhatsApp_ Mom Talk +263715777715

My name is Chiedza Princily Mandinika. I am the founder of Mom Talk. Mom Talk is a compilation of online support groups for women covering almost every aspect of women's lives from pregnancy, motherhood, cooking, fitness, marriage talk, single moms club, business, prayer groups, kids academics groups, grieving support groups. Anyone interested in joining Mom Talk community can contact me on Facebook or message me on +263715777715.

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WOMEN'S TALK

Better And Stronger Together: #WomenTalk

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Women Talk

By: Chiedza Princily Mandinika

In the words of Sojourner Truth, “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!”

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These words ring truth today more than ever. As women we are accustomed to the culture of comparison, of bickering, cat fights and raining on each other’s parade so much so that it now feels normal, it seems engraved in our DNA.  But it doesn’t have to be so.

In days of old, women were used by God to do great things that saved nations.  Look at Esther, the sons of Israel were saved through her. Look at Mary; she was the mother of Jesus, though whom mankind came to have hope.  God used women because He has important roles for women in his kingdom, what is your role?  The first Eve “turned the world upside down” and the second Eve who is Mary the mother of Jesus “turned it back”.  As 21st Century women, it’s up to us to choose, are we going to be the first Eve or are we going to be the second Eve. When you open your mouth, what kind of words stream out most of the time, are you the kind of woman who is always turning things upside down, what are you known for in your church, in  your community, in your family?

We need to be women who feed each other’s souls, women who fan each other’s flames. An old adage says “a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”, being kind, being nice not only lights up others but it fans our personal flames as well.  It is easy to get caught up in all the negative energy of only seeking to harm other women, but it is just as easy to want to be better women, we have to want to be better.

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As a woman it is trying to live in a society that wants to drain you, more so when it is your fellow women, we have to learn to stand tall, when you are knocked down, learn to adjust your crown and keep walking. Other people’s perceptions of who you are do not have to be your reality and above all else, remember, in the words of Steven Furtick, “Everyone’s approval is not a blessing.”

Furthermore women need to be present for one another but in order to do so; we have to take time to work on ourselves first.  You see, hurt people hurt, you cannot love your fellow sister when you don’t love yourself, you cannot see the good in other women when you can’t see the good in yourself, you can’t say nice things about the next woman when your inner voice can’t say nice things about you.  Work on your core, as an individual, work on being the best version of you that you would be proud of, only then can we start having women who build other women up. 

Each one of us is fighting a battle of some sorts, some of us are on the verge of giving up, some of feel lost, we may never know the battles being fought by each one of us but being kind, being patient with one  another, a simple smile in the supermarket, a simple can I help you sister, a simple gesture of kindness could be all it takes for us all to stand together as one, after all, we are all descendants of Royalty, Daughters of the true God. So please remember these words and may you draw some inspiration from them;

 “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!”

Together we can move mountains!

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