Pinnacle Educational Research & Development

(ISSN: 2360-9494)

February 2019, Vol. 7 (1).

© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research Article

 

Analysis Of The Dynamics Of Cosmetic Treatments In Bamileke Women From Cameroon. From The Colonial Period To The Postcolonial Period

Liliane Dalis ATOUKAM TCHEFENJEM

Department of History,
Faculty of Arts, Letters and Human Sciences,
University of Ngaoundere, Cameroon.

Accepted 25 February, 2019; Available Online 27 February, 2019.



Abstract:

In Bamileke country, the quality and color of the skin are of great importance in the appreciation of the physical beauty of the woman. Physically, a beautiful woman must have a soft skin and in some villages she must have a fair complexion. The exploitation of oral, written and electronic sources reveals that women have been working since the colonial era to maintain their skin in various ways. These facial and body treatments have evolved gradually from the quest for clean, soft skin to the fascination with a "clear" skin. In most cases, this quest of beauty leads, sometimes, to the abusive use of industrially manufactured cosmetics to change the color of their bodies. However, the frantic search for fair complexion exposes the epidermis in the short term to various aggressions. This article aims to analyze the dynamics of the lightening of the skin of the Bamileke woman according to the stages of life in the twentieth century. It emerges that in "traditional" society, skincare requires the use of natural products from the immediate environment. Padouk powder was the most sought-after product and its use was particularly important at certain stages of life, especially among teenagers and women who gave birth. In the same way, its use extended to certain rituals like the sacrament of the twins, the enthronement of the chiefs and the rites of circumcision. From the 1960s, skin care uses other types of cosmetics from modern industries for the most part. The skin is now subjected to a treatment whose ultimate goal is "bleaching". The cultural mixing, the modernism and the opening to the outside via the mass media are at the base of this dynamic that this paper attempts to present.

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