Appreciation of our dark skinned women.

We are beginning to appreciate our sisters who are as dark as the night, with short natural hair and prominent and fabulously full lips

SCIENTISTS looking into the  attractiveness of woman suggest  that men from all races find fairer- skinned woman most alluring.

Yet the mass-marketed myth of  female attractiveness as young,  thin and fair-skinned, with Anglo  features, is slowly but surely dying.

Take a walk at Sandton or Rosebank Mall, you will be surprised at  how many white men have African  beauties on their arms.

During the recent Africa Fashion  Week held at Sandton Convention  Centre one could not help but  notice the excitement caused by  dark models among photographers  and guests.

In 2008 Sowetan reported that  modeling agency boss Kgomotso  Seboko of KS Models, one of South  Africa’s top black-owned modelling  agencies, complained that South  African Models did not have “that  Y-factor” and their faces are too  ordinary. He complained that they  had Eurocentric features.

Was that a sign of where things  were going?

According to Felepe Mazibuko, a  well-known fashion stylist, more  and more modeling casting directors are opting for darker-skinned  models.

Meeting the criteria of urban  modeling no longer boils down to  light and bright.

“More than ever South Africans  are realising that black is beautiful.  As a nation we have overcome the  baasskap mentality that suggests  that anything dark is ugly and  therefore undesirable.

“Politically we are maturing and  we are taking pride in who we are.  This is filtering through to the modeling industry and the media,”  Mazibuko says.

Mazibuko observes that the  curse of the darker skinned woman  was broken by African model Alek Wek, a Sudanese refugee who made  her US modelling debut a few years  ago. She has since become one of  the most sought-after models in the  business.

In addition to her magazine covers, Wek has modelled for scores of  top designers, walked in major  fashion shows all over Europe and  the US opening shows for huge  names such as Ralph Lauren.

Mazibuko adds that the Africanist ideals of people such as Thabo  Mbeki and former Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah have influenced the way a lot of Black South  Africans think about themselves.

“We are beginning to appreciate our sisters who are as dark as the night, with short natural hair and prominent and fabulously full lips.”

Does this mean we have  approached the end of the dark skin  curse?

Not any time soon, says psychologist Asiphe Ndlela.

In countries like Ghana and Nigeria, where people learnt about Pan  Africanism long before some of us  were even born, a fair-skinned person is still considered attractive  regardless of whether that person  has a symmetrical face or a healthy  figure, she says.

“In countries like Nigeria men go  crazy over a light-skinned woman.  There are men in West Africa who  would not give a dark-skinned  woman a romantic chance.”

Ndlela says West Africans, who  are married to white or coloured  women, are viewed as successful.  In some quarters light and lighter  skin is viewed as a passport to  better living and finer things in  life.

“I’ve noticed that certain people  who would not be considered  attractive in South Africa are considered beautiful in these countries  because of their light skin.

“The flipside is that some, who  are considered unattractive  because of darker skin, would be  considered attractive outside  their country.

Ndlela says psychologically these  men are subconsciously attracted to  fairer-skinned women because of  the skin tone’s  association with innocence, purity,  modesty, virginity, vulnerability  and goodness and Eurocentric  tendencies.

Studies have even shown that  some employers and bosses favour  light-skinned applicants and  employees over the dark-skinned.

The same is true of the music and  movie industry, where light- skinned Blacks are favoured most  of the time over their dark-skin  counterparts.

Watch any Ghanaian or Nigerian  musicians video, you will see light- skinned video girls.

In Rwanda they elevated the fair- skinned Tutsi minority over the  dark-skinned Hutus.

In Angola it was the light- skinned mesticos over the largely  dark-skinned population.

In India a pale skin is a sign of  caste superiority, while a dark skin  relegates a person to the lowest  class of humanity.

In the old days a fair skin was a  symbol of nobility in Europe and  America because suntan was associated with hard labour in the  fields, and the upper class wasn’t  supposed to work.

That’s why women were hiding  under their cute sun umbrellas.

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