Bleaching is as trendy as smartphones, Chinese accessories and knock-off brand name clothes.
Brown women have an advantage claimed a ‘bleachers’ after dipping her hand into a bucket of hydroquinone based chemicals. She spurts ” Girl you nah touch up your face. When you black it coming like you invisible. No man no see you”. I batted my eyelids for dramatic effect even though she said it in a comical tone.
Women who go natural nowadays will say that they do not get as much attention as the women who bleach, wear plastic on their heads and layers of make up. As a matter of fact one lady told me that”Bleaching is a form of status since the bleaching is expensive and you know when some people broke, “dem start to get back-black”. Men also know that “Chrome Skin” is not cheap and to date a ‘bleachers’ is to take on the responsibility of buying her products which can range from anywhere near three thousand Jamaican dollars to ten thousand per forth night.It was Buju Banton who first said that “Most of All mi love mi browning” and the King of Dance hall also dated ‘browning’ Carlene. Statements like these by popular entertainers like Buju Banton undoubtedly helped to give the older generation the notion that brown skin people had an advantage in this society. A belief with Shadist roots from the days of colonialism and slavery.
A girlfriend once said to me after seeing how men reacted to a passing light skin girl. ” A just the brown skin she have, if you picture her black, she ugly no wah.” Her brown skin gave her an advantage by birth. Some people will deny this colour issue but these young men as soon as they make some money are only interested in “wifeying” a browning, bleachers or not for whatever it is worth. “The light skin girl is as much a part of his social image as his vehicles and his house”. One dark skin lady offered. ” Black woman only good for black man when them poor cause the browning them expensive but as soon as them rich, browning inna front seat”
When I was a child we would sing that ” Black is beauty and red is corruption” but everywhere I looked I remember seeing ‘brownings’ in respectable positions. As a matter of fact the prettiest girls in schools were often either of Mongoloid or Caucasian descent. Black girls did not stand a chance in the small community pageants. Now my female peers are mostly ‘brownings’. Many who have experimented with this toning of skin will say that it works. Men trip over each other to be with a hot girl. Bleaching has become the hot girl’s trademark, “Can’t compete with a bleachers if you black like tar”. It is becoming more rare to see a black girl and according to men ” Thank God for false hair and bleaching…now there are no ugly girls left in Jamaica”
Thanks to Vybz Kartel many more Jamaican men are lightening their complexion. Even so called Gangsters “bleach out” as a status symbol. Girls will scream. ” Lord a suh the bleaching fit him, the colour just make him look cute.” ” Girl him hot, mi just love him bleaching”. Not all females are fond of the ‘bleaching’ as some girls claim they look just like the original ‘brownings’, face white like flour and penis blacker than Spice. One christian lady I know once spat in utter contempt. ” Some a them favour day ghost! A don’t know why them must do themselves like that with the blue vein a show inna them foot”
Some are aware of the claims that bleaching might lead to skin cancer and the risk of destroying the melanin in their skin. Some consider it a small price to pay for “browning” out for Christmas or “tunning it up” for ATI. Afterall the brown complexion will attract someone who can pay the medical bills. When night falls and the bleachers put on their “Cover Girl” and go beneath the Disco Lights, they are as pretty as the Chrome on the men’s Vehicles. Some men are woefully disappointed and share jokes of going to bed with one woman and waking up with another for the ‘Chrome Skin’ at night looks like a pitchy patchy, tie and dye clown in the daylight.
It is really hard to love yourself as you are when everything around you points to something else as the gold standard of Aesthetics. Women say it is harder to get men interested in them if they are their natural complexion and that the acquired brown skin does the magic. In contrast it may seem that being a “chrome skin” might not be the key to a man’s heart as man. ” Clean and brown” get exploited and used just as the natural women on the street. In fact across section of bleaching women can be seen with faces substantially browner than their torso and several children at their feet. It seems it takes more than being a ” browning” to keep a man around and make some serious investment.
One thing is for certain, Chrome Skins are here to stay.
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