When I saw this picture of Lil Kim a few weeks ago, it literally stopped me in my tracks. We’ve known Lil Kim to do drastic things to her looks over the years for the sake of entertainment…I guess, but this right here makes me so unbelievably sad and honestly just makes my heart hurt for the young women and young girls growing up.
I’m raising a daughter in this era of enhancements…of every kind, so it makes me wonder when will things lighten up a bit and girls just get back to the basics. A little nip, a little tuck…I get that. I am not opposed at all to doing things in moderation because I believe self-expression, in women especially, is a beautiful thing. I’m not shaming women for doing things subtly to enhance their beauty or for playing around with products to have fun or make themselves feel better. We all do it to a certain degree. I color my hair and buy push up bras! I wear makeup and get my eyebrows waxed and fill them in. And back in the day you couldn’t catch me without my long, bomb ass acrylic nails. So there! But my point is when does it stop? It seems like girls these days have no limits. It doesn’t stop and THAT is scary. The boobs, the ass, the hair, the lips. They just keep getting bigger and bigger and more and more unnatural and unrealistic. Not to mention the horrendous things happening to women in illegal shops all for the sake of shutting down the internet…or at least trying to.
What’s even scarier is women around the world buy into the crazy idea that lightening your skin provides a better life, better opportunities. It’s crazy to me that women are dying in India, Latin America, and Africa from using hazardous, toxic creams to lighten their skin because this is what they’ve been fed to believe is better. It has become such the norm in these countries that the market is saturated with these creams. This is a true story…I went to a little African store on Crenshaw to buy this bar of soap I had heard about to whiten my clothes. I walk in and ask for the soap and the cashier points me to it. One of the other customers says to me…”hey girl, you like that stuff huh, it’s working!” I looked at him like he was crazy, I had NO idea what he was talking about initially. So I guess my perplexed look threw him off and he explained he thought I was getting the soap to whiten my skin. I was blown away not because I didn’t know this was happening but because it was so in my face.
I do feel that women SHOULD feel good and we feel good when we look good and sometimes that means adding a little here and there, you know. That’s cool. But I have started to question the intention of a lot of girls I see and as we hear more and more of people dying of addition to prescription medication, we have to question what is REALLY GOING ON HERE!?!?!?! It makes me incredibly fearful as I raise my daughter and watch my nieces grow up in this crazy, fake world.
And then to think of who women are looking up to now. It’s mind blowing. When do these young girls (and even not so young in Lil Kim’s case) start to believe they are enough? Cause really that’s what it bottoms down to…and of course society reinforcing that they ARE enough. When will girls on the gram and on snapchat start to believe that they are worthy just as they are and they don’t need snapchat’s filter to make them look pretty or skinnier or lighter? When do they begin to accept and love themselves without feeling like they have to drastically change their appearance and come out looking like a completely different person just to fit in to what society says is acceptable?
I really don’t know. I tell my kids all the time…take the road less traveled. Be you, everyone else is taken. I don’t ever want Zoe to feel like she has to fit into a mold but to instead always focus on her inner beauty, the core of who she REALLY is. Is that enough though? It IS good to see the industry embracing all forms of beauty like model, Chantell Winnie, Shaun Ross, and Marquita Pring to show that being unique or simply yourself is a gift in itself and self-acceptance and self-love takes you to your higher self. I come from the era of “Make sure you stay out the sun, wear sunscreen, you need to straighten your hair so you look presentable…” That’s why I love and embrace the “Natural Movement” and honor and applaud women on the gram like, Rebekah Letch, LaTonya Yvette, Latham Thomas, Alex Elle, Felicia La Tour, Neffi Walker, Jodie Patterson and Mel Burgos who push the envelope when it comes to what is considered acceptable all in the name of promoting #selflove. Some of these ladies are mothers who are are teaching their children the path to wellness, self-expression and self-love by honoring their individuality from an early age and that’s where the change comes from. What a beautiful step in the right direction! And when an artist like Meghan Trainor can pull her music video because the production company photoshopped her to look thinner, that shows us there IS progress. It’s about changing our mindset and rediscovering and honoring our truth.
Change starts with every single one of us. “Be the Change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi