|Exploring Self Perception via Broken Mirrors by Katie Thompson|
A friend tweeted yesterday about females who work in Zenith bank, asking if it was true that light skinned women have it better than dark skinned women. Saying if you're light skinned you get to work in CSU and if you're dark skinned you get directed to the cashier/teller section. This got me laughing coz its not the first I've heard of it with this bank (and by the way i bank with them and this has nothing to do with their services which i like), but it also got me thinking a lot about how this issue will and already has affected the self perception of a lot of women generally.
History shows that most cultures, if not all, from the beginning of time have been bothered about their appearance and physical attractiveness. However, in modern times, it is obvious that these normal concerns have now become an obsession for a lot of people. It is very safe to say that the media and technology are to blame. TV, adverts, billboards and magazines all portray thin and attractive people as having more fun, being more successful and happier. Pictures of models are air brushed and photo-shopped therefore making them appear as being perfect! An accomplishment most of us could never achieve, no matter how hard we try. The effort and energy put in by people to look better is not only exhausting but also severely decreases their happiness and life satisfaction.
In Nigeria, the issue of light-skinned females used more by the media than the dark-skinned females is a major issue and this makes some dark-skinned females less proud of their skin tone. I know of a few ladies who used to be darker than myself (and I'm not even a dark skinned person, I'm not light either but very well placed in between, lol) but now they are really light skinned, some people refer to them as being 'Yellow'. They are well known, working in fields associated with the entertainment/media industry. I try to wonder what it was that made them feel they weren't pretty enough with their natural skin tone, sometimes I make excuses for them and say 'Maybe they had skin issues, and the doctor advised on bleaching', Lol.
I know sometimes it isn't easy when you look at yourself in the mirror and you just all of a sudden don't like what you see. About 3 months ago, I had a serious acne break out on my face which I'm still battling. A friend saw me last night at the Chinua Achebe event, she had to ask 'Lola where did this break out come from' and I replied 'I feel like I just hit puberty all over again'. Its sometimes hard for me to step out of my house coz I don't feel pretty and I complain, infact I complain everyday, my cousins are tired, lol. But after much groaning and mood swings, I pull myself together, look in the mirror and say 'Lola you are beautiful, fuck the acne', and I'm good to go.
Self-esteem and confidence is needed to be happy in life. Know and always remember that you are unique so you should be proud of who you are. Be happy about the body you have and your life. Self-confidence is what gives other people trust in you because they can see that you know what you are doing. Stay positive, stay happy.
I would love to focus on more issues like weight, style, relationships and how they affect your self perception but i will touch them one by one, this is the first.