Pretty Hurts! On Skin Whitening and Boob Jobs

Mama said, “You’re a pretty girl.
What’s in your head, it doesn’t matter
Brush your hair, fix your teeth.
What you wear is all that matters.”

Just another stage, pageant the pain away
This time I’m gonna take the crown
Without falling down, down, down

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

Blonder hair, flat chest
TV says, “Bigger is better.”
South beach, sugar free
Vogue says, “Thinner is better.”

Just another stage, pageant the pain away
This time I’m gonna take the crown
Without falling down, down, down

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts (pretty hurts)
Pretty hurts (pretty hurts), we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

Ain’t got no doctor or pill that can take the pain away
The pain’s inside and nobody frees you from your body
It’s the soul, it’s the soul that needs surgery
It’s my soul that needs surgery
Plastic smiles and denial can only take you so far
Then you break when the fake facade leaves you in the dark
You left with shattered mirrors and the shards of a beautiful past

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst (pretty hurts)
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

When you’re alone all by yourself (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
And you’re lying in your bed (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Reflection stares right into you (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)

You stripped away the masquerade (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
The illusion has been shed (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)

Yes
Uh huh huh

Beyonce – Pretty Hurts

Chimamanda QuoteI’ve been listening to this song for a while now. And I can’t help but think about the words and how true they are. They remind me of the time people were saying Beyonce isn’t a feminist. I mean, look at her song “I woke up like this” that includes words and voice from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! Isn’t that kinda feminist? But I digress.

I’ve also been thinking of Vera Sidika. And all the work she’s doing to her body. First she went and did something to her butt and hips. I remember her clearly from way way back in the day. We were Facebook friends and I really thought she was a pretty girl. Slim and pretty. Then she disappeared from Facebook and a few years later poop! She’s out there looking all faboo and voluptuous. Sheeiish!

I keep asking myself “to what end?” So she will whiten her skin, (by the way there is no difference between skin whitening, skin lightening and skin bleaching…I read!), do her boobs, then what? She’ll transplant ‘human hair’ to her scalp???

Look, I mean no judgement here. I say this because I myself ain’t ‘natural’ whatever that means. Currently I have a human hair weave. Long like those Indians! I put on modest make up mostly to cover skin blemishes. I don’t do too much eye makeup and use clear mascara since my eyes are sensitive and the black mascara affects my contact lenses.

The point of saying all this is to admit that no one is perfect. And the idea is that what really is perfection

Personally I have what people call “rangi ya thao”. That light skin that (apparently) men love and women desire. That colour of money. That colour that says you can get whatever you want in life without hustling too much. Well… yes, I have that skin colour. Do I hate it? No. Do I particularly like it? Well, it isn’t for me to say.

I sometimes feel like I am pressured to act a certain way because of my skin colour. Furthermore, because I have a slightly deeper understanding of the underlying stigma that dark skinned girls face (maybe more in the US than here in Kenya/Africa but who knows) I sometimes feel a little guilty. My bestie is a dark skinned girl. We are close and we have a lot of fun together. We are so different but we complement each other. There are those who like her the way she is and there are those who like me the way she is. But I can’t help wonder in my head what people think. I’ve head sometimes that apparently light skinned girls like hanging out with dark skinned girls so that they can get all the attention from men. I’ve also heard that dark skinned girls like hanging out with light skinned girls so that they can get men easily – like the left overs (oops!).

I don’t like my boobs. I think they’re tiny and wish I had like a perfect C. Hmm… perfection. That word. I dread. What is perfection? What will life be like if everything was perfect? My boobs are a small B. I have to wear padded bras for me to feel comfortable enough to go out in public. I remember rejoicing when I saw Lupita Nyong’o in her white bikini and with her teeny tiny boobs. I was like “yay! There’s hope for me after all!” It gave me the courage to go out and buy a black bikini for myself. I don’t like bikinis. It means I have to show off my big bright birth mark, (yes, there’s a big lighter patch of skin across from my belly all the way to my back to the left), and expose my tummy.

Self esteem. It eludes us all. Even the most strongest of us.

That’s it. I wanted to share a little of what’s on my mind. After seeing Vera do her boob job and whiten her skin, all I could think was … well, if only I could afford my own boob job 🙂

Live and let live people. Penda Maisha!

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