Africa: Where black is not really beautiful
By Pumza Fihlani
BBC News, Johannesburg
Nomasonto Mnisi says her skin colour is “a self-esteem issue”
Continue reading the main story
The good, bad and ugly hair days
South Africa profile
South Africa is marketed to the world as Mandela’s rainbow nation, where everyone is proud of their race and heritage. But for some black South Africans there is such a thing as being too black.
A recent study by the University of Cape Town suggests that one woman in three in South Africa bleaches her skin. The reasons for this are as varied as the cultures in this country but most people say they use skin-lighteners because they want “white skin”.
Local musician Nomasonto “Mshoza” Mnisi, now several shades lighter, says her new skin makes her feel more beautiful and confident.
She has been widely criticised in the local media and social networking sites for her appearance but the 30-year-old says skin-bleaching is a personal choice, no different from breast implants or a having nose job.
Part of it is a self-esteem issue and I have addressed that and I am happy now”
“I’ve been black and dark-skinned for many years, I wanted to see the other side. I wanted to see what it would be like to be white and I’m happy,” she says candidly.
Over the past couple of years Ms Mnisi has had several treatments. Each session can cost around 5,000 rand (£360; $590), she tells the BBC.
Unlike many in the country, she uses high-end products which are believed to be safer than the creams sold on the black market but they are by no means risk-free, doctors say.
Ms Mnisi says she does not understand the criticism about her new appearance.
Continue reading the main story
BBC News, Dakar
An ad campaign for a skin-whitening cream that promises results in 15 days has ignited fierce debates on Senegalese social networks since September.
“Khess Petch” – loosely translated from the local Wolof as “All White” or “All Light”- printed on huge placards all around town portray a woman “before” and “after” she’d used the cream – she is seen black and then fair white.
Nearly 2,000 people signed an online petition to bring the adverts down, and soon after, a counter-campaign “Nuul Kuuk” was set up defending Black skin pride.
Doctors at the main dermatology hospital service in Dakar say they receive an average of 200 women per week in cases related to the use of skin-whitening products.
Reports have been broadcast on television about the risks of using whitening creams following the huge controversy.
Many women with bad skin damage have sought to encourage others to stop using these products.
“I bitterly regret having done that to myself,” a 51-year-old woman told me. “But girls and women with fairer skin would always seduce more men,” she said.
She wears a scarf to hide a long stain and spots that the products left on her skin. “It is ugly and it itches,” she says.
The health minister eventually met with Nuul Kuuk activists who were told that current laws couldn’t forbid ads campaign for these products, which are labelled as cosmetics.
The ads for Khess Petch are now down, but other creams have just started their own campaign.
“Yes, part of it is a self-esteem issue and I have addressed that and I am happy now. I’m not white inside, I’m not really fluent in English, I have black kids. I’m a township girl, I’ve just changed the way I look on the outside,” she says.
The dangers associated with the use of some of these creams include blood cancers such as leukaemia and cancers of the liver and kidneys, as well as a severe skin condition called ochronosis, a form of hyper-pigmentation which causes the skin to turn a dark purple shade, according to senior researcher at the University of Cape Town, Dr Lester Davids.
“Very few people in South Africa and Africa know the concentration of the toxic compounds that are contained in the products on the black market and that is concerning. We need to do more to educate people about these dangerous products,” says Dr Davids.
He says over the past six years there has been a significant increase in the number of skin lighteners flooding local markets, some of them legal and some illegal. This is what prompted their research.
Local dermatologists say they are seeing more and more patients whose skin has been damaged by years of bleaching – most of the time irreversibly.
“I’m getting patients from all over Africa needing help with treating their ochronosis. There is very little we can do to reverse the damage and yet people are still in denial about the side-effects of these products,” says Dr Noora Moti-Joosub.
In many parts of Africa and Asia, lighter-skinned woman are considered more beautiful, are believed to be more successful and more likely to find marriage.
The origin of this belief in Africa is not clear, but researchers have linked it to Africa’s colonial history where white skin was the epitome of beauty.
Some have also suggested that people from “brown nations” around the world tended to look down upon dark-skinned people.
‘I don’t like black skin’
The World Health Organization has reported that Nigerians are the highest users of such products: 77% of Nigerian women use the products on a regular basis. They are followed by Togo with 59%; South Africa with 35%; and Mali at 25%.
Studies have found that men are also beginning to bleach their skin
South Africa banned products containing more than 2% of hydroquinone – the most common active ingredient in in the 1980s. But it is easy to see creams and lotions containing the chemical on the stalls here. Some creams contain harmful steroids and others mercury.
While skin-lightening creams have been used by some South Africans for many years, they have become more common recently with the influx of people from countries such as Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo, where they are even more widespread.
In a bustling African market in the centre of Yeoville in Johannesburg, it is skin lighteners galore.
Walking through this community is like walking through a mini-Africa: you can find someone from any part of the continent here.
I notice that many of the women have uncharacteristically light skin faces while the rest of their bodies are darker.
Some even have scabby burns on their cheeks from the harmful chemicals used to strip the skin of pigmentation.
They don’t want to speak openly about why they bleach their skin, or even have their pictures taken.
Psychologists say there are also underlying reasons why people bleach their skin – but low self-esteem and, to some degree self-hate, are a common thread.
But skin-lightening is not just a fascination and obsession of women. Congolese hair stylist Jackson Marcelle says he has been using special injections to bleach his skin for the past 10 years. Each injection lasts for six months.
“I pray every day and I ask God, ‘God why did you make me black?’ I don’t like being black. I don’t like black skin,” he tells me.
Skin lightening creams are popular in many parts of Africa
Mr Marcelle – known in this busy community as Africa’s Michael Jackson – says his mother used to apply creams on him when he was young in order to make him appear “less black”.
“I like white people. Black people are seen as dangerous; that’s why I don’t like being black. People treat me better now because I look like I’m white,” he adds.
Entrenched in the minds of many Africans from a young age is the adage “if it’s white, it’s all right”, a belief that has chipped away at the self-esteem of millions.
Until this changes, no amount of official bans or public information campaigns will stop people risking serious damage to their health in the pursuit of what they think is beauty.
Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment
One of the most illuminating role and identity
experiments was done a number of years ago by Stanford University psychologist
Philip Zimbardo and his associates.
25 They created a “prison” in the basement
of the Stanford psychology building; hired at $15 a day two dozen emotionally
stable, physically healthy, law-abiding students who scored “normal average” on
extensive personality tests; randomly assigned them the role of either “guard”
or “prisoner”; and established some basic rules.
It took the “prisoners” little time to accept the authority positions of the
“guards” or for the mock guards to adjust to their new authority roles. Consistent
with social identity theory, the guards came to see the prisoners as a negative
outgroup, and their comments to researchers showed they had developed stereotypes
about the “typical” prisoner personality type. After the guards crushed
a rebellion attempt on the second day, the prisoners became increasingly passive.
Whatever the guards “dished out,” the prisoners took. The prisoners actually
began to believe and act as if they were inferior and powerless, as the guards
constantly reminded them. And every guard, at some time during the simulation,
engaged in abusive, authoritative behavior. One said, “I was surprised at
myself. . . . I made them call each other names and clean the toilets out with
their bare hands. I practically considered the prisoners cattle, and I kept thinking:
‘I have to watch out for them in case they try something.’ ” Surprisingly,
during the entire experiment—even after days of abuse—not one prisoner said,
“Stop this. I’m a student like you. This is just an experiment!”
The simulation actually proved
too successful in demonstrating how quickly
individuals learn new roles. The researchers had to stop it after only 6 days
because of the participants’ pathological reactions. And remember, these were
individuals chosen precisely for their normalcy and emotional stability.
What can we conclude from this prison simulation? Like the rest of us,
the participants had learned stereotyped conceptions of guard and prisoner
roles from the mass media and their own personal experiences in power and
powerlessness relationships gained at home (parent–child), in school
(teacher–student), and in other situations. This background allowed them
easily and rapidly to assume roles very different from their inherent persona
lities and, with no prior personality pathology or training in the parts they
were playing, execute extreme forms of behavior consistent with those roles.
A follow-up reality television show conducted by the BBC that used a lowerfidelity
simulated prison setting provides some insights into these results.
agreement that sets out what
management expects from an
employee and vice versa.
Dayton, OH — A father who beat his two daughters with a cord has been charged with child endangerment and corporal punishment.
Greg Horn, 35, whipped his daughters, ages 12 and 14, with a video cable after walking in on the girls recording themselves “twerking.” Twerking involves wobbling or jiggling the hips and buttocks. Or, to borrow Miley Cyrus’s definition, “It’s a lot of booty action.”
The video was first posted on WorldStarHipHop.com before making its way to YouTube. Several reaction videos popped up shortly afterward.
According to the police report, one of the girls had visible welts on her legs and open wounds in the thigh area from being beaten with the video cable. The girls’ mother noticed the wounds and called police.
The 30 second video sparked a debate over whether Horn’s actions were abusive or good parenting. Some felt that he went too far — at one point, one of the girls screams, “Daddy, stop,” but he continues to beat her — while others felt he was teaching his daughters a lesson and preventing them from engaging in more inappropriate behavior. Ultimately, even though the video had gone viral and left many wondering why the police hadn’t been notified, it was the mother’s intervention that led to an arrest.
Horn’s indictment comes during the first week of Child Abuse Awareness Month.
“The goal is always to keep kids safe,” Montgomery County Children Services spokesman Kevin Lavoie said. He also added that when people are reporting cases of child abuse, they don’t have to leave a name or even have definitive proof that abuse is taking place. The suspicion of abuse is more than enough.
“It may be nothing,” Lavoie said. “But rather than analyze it, let our specialists figure it out and the best course of action.”
Although it was initially reported that the girls were beaten for recording themselves twerking, they told police they were beaten for sneaking out of the house.
Greg Horn is scheduled to appear in court on April 16 for his arraignment hearing.
Do you think Greg Horn was justified in beating his daughters with a video cable, whether for twerking or for sneaking out of the house?
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/603749/father-indicted-for-beating-daughters-over-twerking-video/#Qwvp6Vdqq6JlyXqb.99
****RULES**** 1. Debates and rebuttals are allowed but disrespectful curse-outs will prompt immediate BAN 2. Children are never to be discussed in a negative way 3. Personal information eg. workplace, status, home address are never to be posted in comments. 4. All are welcome but please exercise discretion when posting your comments , do not say anything about someone you wouldnt like to be said about you. 5. Do not deliberately LIE on someone here or send in any information based on your own personal vendetta. 6. If your picture was taken from a prio site eg. fimiyaad etc and posted on JMG, you cannot request its removal. 7. If you dont like this forum, please do not whine and wear us out, do yourself the favor of closing the screen- Thanks! . To send in a story send your email to :- [email protected]