Woman, What Is The Color Of Your Skin

Woman, what is the color of your skin? Because mine is brown and I’m certain of it. Brown like mahogany, kissed by the sun, and baked to an even perfection. Some seasons it’s lighter than the wood-like exterior that I brag about, but I pay that color no mind. I like being brown. I see nothing wrong with it. I see nothing wrong with yours too. In fact, yours and mine are almost alike, only you’ve turned yours into the ghostly hue that pales the richness of your ethnicity.

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Tell me about this box that has immobilized who you truly are. Is it worth the hours wasted on pills, creams, and make-up that were designed to enhance the tone of your skin? Is it worth risking your life to go under the knife just so you can look “fairer”?  Does it really enhance your self-esteem to look so unlike the shades that you were blessed with from the start? Did it give you the confidence that you claimed was lacking in your life when you were still donning the colors that were genetically yours ? Mind you but let’s not forget that this is the same color that belonged to your mother, and their mother, and the mothers before them.

I think that box is too cramped, too shallow, too nominal for you. How can it contain the copiousness of your  heritage? The brownness of your skin speaks of the legacy of coastal-trading communities who knew of the barter system long before it was published in books, it is proof of the countless revolutions that your ancestors fought so you will enjoy the freedom that was handed down to you at no cost, it is the emblem that you carry around the globe so that other nations will know the beauty of your existence.

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Proud women.

Who taught you to measure your worth against the images you see on billboards and beauty magazines? Who said that looking better meant that you have to look fairer? In truth, enlighten me please, what does ‘fairer’ even mean when it could be as relative as all other adjectives that you can think of. How could you fall into the trap of putting the standards of social media ahead of the standards of better judgment? And what is this obsession with riskier plastic surgery  just so you can recreate the surgically enhanced , doll-like appearance of those spooks on TV? This fixation for comparatives like bigger eyes, breasts, and bums or smaller waists, thighs, and jawlines has wrongly convinced you that this will present a superior status.

Who told you to starve yourself so you can lose weight and look like the living twigs snapped too soon from the healthy branch? How could you isolate those whose body measures go beyond the borders of the commands of our superficial society? Even your silence, when others violate the rights of these people to free movement and bodily integrity, insults the dignity that you wave around like a flag with no coat of arms.

Don’t sit there and pretend that you are not guilty of this. Speak Woman, tell me the color of your skin.

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