“No butts, Vera is a national issue” A headline on of the lifestyle magazines in Kenya today.
Very interesting. Within days of the now ‘famous’ Vera Sidika Ksh.50m skin lightening procedure, she has had numerous interviews on both local and international media. On social media, a majority are clearly against her changing her complexion, while a small number say its her body and she has a right to do whatever she wants with it. The other negligible percentage don’t know who Vera is and keep asking what the fuss is all about. In PR, there is no such thing as bad publicity. They all direct spotlight at the brand. Vera’s business has been given a boost, heck! She might even go on and meet Kim Kardashian and become bottom buddies!
Now, I don’t want to start on whether whatever she did is right or wrong, as that would never be conclusive. However, I would like to suggest the following;
For every one socialite (whatever that means), can we have 10 other women doing extraordinary things being given the attention that the likes of Vera have been getting. For instance, #KOT (Kenyans On Twitter) were very capable of making Captain Koki Mutungi, the Kenya’s first female pilot of a Dreamliner a Trending Topic(#TT). Instead, we chose #bleachedBeauty and #campusdiva. None of these TT had anything productive. Just backlashes. Well, maybe a few tweets here and there were positive. Let’s face it, we are not having healthy online conversations. The power social media has in the 21st century is massive, so much that it sets the agenda for what is aired on traditional media. Now if mainstream media won’t join us in the ‘One for 10’ campaign, then lets use Twitter and Facebook and arm twist the Tv and Radio stations into seeing through our now(hopefully) refined eyes.
If you are one among many women who have been spewing serious bile on this issue, I dare you to do something about it! While you are busy condemning others on their inability to be proper role models for young girls, I bet you the same girls are yearning for ‘a big sister’ or friend to sit and just talk. Just because. Your financial status not withstanding. You can speak life to this teen. Oh, and don’t go bossing them around with a know-it-all attitude!
3. Don’t just let your kids grow up, raise them
I know this question might border close to unrealistic but, can we not let our children be raised up by the media? Can we give them the best grounding and foundation that the first place they are going to look for role models is at home? Mom, Dad, Big Sister or Big brother. The excuse, the media is corrupting our children is getting old. In giving credit where it is due though, the media has done its fare share of CSR, having exposed us to some great minds and personalities. So we need to stop complaining, because most of these media houses are in business and they need to make money(apparently the only way is to air this rot we do not agree with). Yes, let’s apply pressure till they budge; but until then, lets raise our children as we would love to see them turn out, then trust them to sieve what the media exposes them to and only pick what they feel is best and relevant in their lives. Sometimes they’ll chose paths that we don’t think or feel are right but ultimately the choice will be theirs. You would have done your part.
When people see kids misbehaving, they don’t ask..What TV channel does she watch? OR What does he listen to? They mostly ask,”Who’s her mother, father? Who raised him?
4. Let’s keep the conversation alive
“I am glad Vera did this skin lightening thing,”a friend remarked. “As far as I can remember, this is the longest we’ve had this conversation in mass.” I agree, only that I need to add that the conversation needs to stop bordering on condemnation and crucifixion and more towards positive engagement. I can bet on my mama’s spiced chicken that we all know of family or friends have gone down this road. We were scared to confront, well, ask them about it…but now…:) Today we celebrate Lupita Nyong’o, her dark skin and all. We must realize that this celebration is as a result of a long time journey for Lupita, having also battled with issues to do with ‘beauty and skin deep’. We also need to be willing to walk this journey with the people we love.
I am not offering very concrete solutions here…am I? 🙂 but while we wait, who’s with me? Is there a chance that these might actually work?