This is my daughter

As I watch her grow into a young lady, I stay mindful to not use insensitive words that will make her question her choice in attire or how she wears her hair.

My daughter is beautiful and she expresses her individuality with her fashion sense. I’ve acknowledged that she’s at an age where her looks and impressing others are important to her. So as her mother, I encourage her to continue to express her individuality, but it’s also important for me to tell her as much as I can remember that she’s beautiful.

When I took this photo of her, I had to plead with her to “show her teeth” because she has  lovely smile. She didn’t want to because, in her words, she doesn’t like her teeth. I consider her inability to form a bigger smile as a small sign of being self-conscious. She worries about what others make think of her smile when in fact, there’s nothing wrong with it.  I now worry that her being self-conscious will become deeper as she gets older. I’m convinced she’ll pressure herself to keep up with popular trends with her friends.

There’s also the influence of the so-called beauty industry and the young girls who soak up all the beauty standard garbage, brainwashing them into thinking they’re not good enough, or pretty enough, or light enough, or dark enough, or skinny enough, or even thick enough. It’s no wonder there are so many horror stories of women becoming disfigured or worse…dying from illegal butt injections, breast implants, etc. Black women are bleaching their skin to make their ebony dark skin lighter, so they can be “prettier”.  According to The Wip, in Nigeria 77% of women are reported to use skin lightening products on a regular basis, the highest amount in Africa. According to The Huffington Post, Dr. Margaret Hunter, head of the Sociology Department at Mills College, has seen the popularity of bleaching creams surge in recent years. “Skin bleaching is a growing phenomenon around the world and it’s becoming a bigger business,” she says. “Now it’s a multi-billion dollar business and all the biggest cosmetic companies sell products that are supposed to lighten your skin.” While you won’t find many products in the U.S. that blatantly promise to bleach or whiten skin, Dr. Hunter says they are commonplace in other parts of the world. “They’re popular throughout many African countries, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East, India, Philippines, and Japan.

That’s why it’s so important to tell our little girls how beautiful they are the moment they come out of the womb. They are a part of a world that is constantly telling then that they aren’t. From the beauty industry to mainstream media, even music and television, they are constantly bombarded with images that will blatantly downplay and disregard Black Beauty. That’s why I’m thankful for publications like Ebony and Essence that’ll remind us that we are indeed beautiful in any shade and shape. I appreciate documentaries like Dark Girls that sheds light on the self-hate our girls develop which is a seemingly common issue in the black communities. Kudos to the authors who specialize in writing about the importance of loving ourselves and embracing our uniqueness.

Tell your little girl she’s beautiful today.

 

Lakia Nichole
Lakia Nichole's Blog is a platform to showcase love for my people, our culture, and all positive things in-between.