Let This Beauty Shine

Standing at 5.8 feet tall; the ever beautiful, Pelumi Grace. Pelumi isn’t just any beautiful woman with some features to make a man crawl to her feet; she has everything. Make no mistake that ‘everything’ includes an exceptionally intelligent brain. Graced with a glowing dark, rich complexion, in fact, Pelumi was often bullied as a teen for her chocolate skin color and young men who’d been brainwashed to think that the fairer skin tone was light and life saw her as the outcast. Fast-forward too many years later, these same men are the ones now dying to have a piece of Pelumi’s dark chocolate skin melt before them. Pelumi was also blessed with brown hazel eyes that make men who have come close enough to stare in them confused. She only needs to bat her long lashes to further create sweat beads to flood the faces of these men. With a long neck that carries her small rounded head, and high cheekbones to complement her gorgeous face, without knowing her personally, one would think she was a model brought straight out from a magazine cover. But you see, Pelumi likes her ‘Eba and Egusi,’ her ‘Akara,’ and her high fat calories meals.

She often says that what defines her beauty isn’t was she carries behind her, nor what she carries in front of her, but rather, it’s her ability to intimidate any man she believes make’s her beautiful. She doesn’t hate men. She isn’t one of those feminist who hang signs in front of their cars, clearly telling men to stay off although people seem to think she is. The main point is this: Pelumi loves men. She loves the whole ideal man description: High testosterone levels, muscularity to the greatest order and the broad-shoulders-no-emotion sort of man.

That’s the label that has been placed on men but after watching the amazing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speak at a conference one evening, Pelumi soon realized what these men haven’t figured out just yet: They have been caged in, told to be afraid of fear and never show too many emotions and if or when they break these outrageous standards placed on them, they are women instead.

So what defines a woman? When Pelumi first started high school, she told her mother not to use chemical perming products on her hair. She was tired of the burns that came after. But her mother was furious with her. She said a girl like her who was just about stepping into her teenage years should never have to worry about ‘nappy-untidy’ hair issues. But Pelumi had a mind of her own. Her friends would make fun of her tight curls that never seemed to fall after three years of growing them out, but even that didn’t bother Pelumi. She knew that given some more years, she would never have to worry about the wigs and weave her friends used as disguise. She would have a full head of beautiful hair.

While her friends worried about keeping their young budding romance at age seventeen and trying not to become pregnant in the process, Pelumi was at her school’s library, studying her ass off. She had a goal in mind, not telling anyone who crossed her path. She believed that it would speak for itself once she succeeds. And truly, ten years later, Pelumi has arrived.

The Present

Hi guys, my name is Pelumi, Pelumi Grace. You’re welcome to stay and listen to my ramblings. I don’t like to talk much though so I’ll just go straight to my talk for today. I just got my master’s in business not too long ago, and now, I own a multimillion naira company located in Nigeria. Many people don’t know that that company is owned by a woman, not just any woman, but this woman and that’s a huge problem. I have various concerns and I’m about to make many women frown in a minute. Just give me a minute to wipe off this make up, okay?

15 Minutes Later… 

Alright, that was fast. Now, here we go.

I’ll just bend this camera over a little bit.

Okay! I think we’re set.

So last week, I caught a new female employee trying to seduce my manager for a job position. She claimed that that was the only thing left to do since her degree could no longer speak for her. I get so depressed when I see these women who come for job interviews succumb to the lust in their male employer’s eyes.

The other day, a friend of mine declined the promotion I offered her. Her reason was: I can’t accept it Pelumi, Lanre has been looking for a job for a year now and if I should go home with news of this promotion, I fear he might not like it. And so I gave the promotion to another woman who knew her worth. Now, I’m tired of seeing women make goals but then they are always cautious not to outshine their brothers, boyfriends, and husbands. I’m frustrated with seeing beautiful women make themselves so small in order to please a man. Lowering their standards has now become the most valued way they can show love to the opposite sex.

Last week, Linda bought a new bleaching product. She swore that it was for her face acne but her whole body has drastically changed. Her excuse: He likes light skinned women ‘jare,’ and if there’s a way I can give him that, why not? I’m so tired of seeing women having to temper with their beautiful skin color in order to shine like the sun, seriously, do you want him blind?

And for those women who have spent the better half of their short lives feigning an appearance that will keep him by your side, I am here to steal that same man from you with one truth: Realness. Yes, that’s all women need. If he cannot accept you with those stubborn pimples they promised would go away after puberty, then he doesn’t deserve you. And if you keep wearing these masks of heavy makeups in order to hide you, you don’t deserve him. Brainwashing him isn’t what’s going to keep him because like my good friend once said, the morning will surly come and all your imperfections will be let out, will he be able to see these imperfections as nothing less perfect? But of course if you’re the kind who likes to hide your cover girl foundation in your bed cabinet, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not here to preach to you about the same old things that you haven’t learned from, I am simply here to break every norms and every labels that has made it impossible for men and women to coexist as equals.

But guys, I’m sorry but I have to go now. If you enjoyed this section, kindly request for more and if you did not, that’s fine too, the truth shall set us all free.


Inspiring women of color.

Hey guys, I posted this story somewhere else before and there were about two readers who did not like how this story was written. Can you please help shed some lights on it…

Thank you!

12 thoughts on “Let This Beauty Shine” by Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

  1. anak adrian (@anakadrian)

    I think the message is fine. Anyone with something against it probably has those artificial beauty issues.


    Make no mistake (,) that “everything” includes… (without the comma it makes it sound like the opposite i.e. We shouldn’t think she has those lovely qualities.)

    (,and skin) graced with a…complexion. (The”In fact” that comes next doesn’t really fit there.)

    …bullied…skin colour (,) and young men…

    Fast-forward “to” (typo, “too”)

    **the next few lines make men seem like they’re only controlled by their penises. (“Feminist” alert!!)**

    beauty…isn’t (what) she carries behind her.

    Intimidate any man…makes(no need for apostrophe)…

    **hmm… what’s the opposite of “misogyny”?… Yes, whatever that word is, that’s the prevalent caption in my mind when I read these lines**

    She still loves men? yeah right.**

    Narrator change. It’s allowed

    I got my Masters in business not too long ago (no need for “just”)

    …Her excuse: “He likes…why not.” (you gotta get your quote on.)

    …Simply here to break every norm (no plural “s”)…and label…

    **To me, the concept of male and female equality is like comparing apples and oranges: Each one is unique, both fruits are great, I can’t honestly say one is better that the other, but one can be more suited to a specific purpose; and this is true either way.

    My two kobo, lol.

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      But she still loves men though..:-)

      And Yes!!! How I wish I can go back and make these changes you pointed out! (I think NS needs to grant us that privilege so that we can fix things after we get a feed back) but anyway, I’m going to rewrite it for my own satisfaction just to know it’s complete now.

      @anakadrian thank you for dropping a dollar on this piece… You’re the best!

  2. Aderonke Daramola (@Shovey)

    Nice piece + @anakadrian has done a lot of justice to it.

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      Thanks @shovey your new profile picture confused me for a minute but it’s all good now :-)

  3. Nice…..
    Bleaching is very common now o!. Nobody wants to be black like me.
    Women should keep it real, wearing fake hips, fake lens, fake lash to please men ain’t worth it.

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      Heheheh… I don’t even see the need for bleaching anymore when there are numerous filters out there… I just use that one.instead… lol. Don’t mind me :-)

      1. Buhahahaha! You just made my day with that line!

  4. Lol, you make it sound like men aren’t worth ‘adjusting for.’ @ameenaedrees . I do not support bleaching of course, but there are a few things you might need to adjust when you marry the ‘right man’ and he’s got some adjustments to make too. You marry a man who doesn’t like you talking too much, try and reduce the way you talk, it’s a sacrifice worth taking. You got a husband who prefers your slim body, make sure you don’t gain weight. If you do, he is worth it going on diet for. There are only a few ‘right men’ these days, and of course a ‘right man’ wouldn’t request you to bleach your skin…love is appreciating flaws and all, but it is about making sacrifices too. Nigeria would be a better place if we all embrace equality.
    This is an educative one, I really loved it.

  5. Aderonke Daramola (@Shovey)

    @ufuomaotebele I just need to upgrade my profile jare. @praize sure some men are worth adjusting for while some arent worth it. Bleaching is outta it; tho we have some men who would rather their wives bleach. The darker you are, the better it is o! cos maintaining a fair skin could be difficult at times, especially for someone like me who doesnt have that patient to cream from head to toe. *I’m talking from experience*winks

  6. Lest I forget, I thoroughly enjoyed the piece but I have one problem with it: It is over 750 words and you categorized it as “Flash.” There are times that I’m so busy I only want to read short stories. At times like this, I turn to “Flash,” but I’ve discovered that sometimes longer stories get classified as “Flash.” Now, the time I should have spent reading another story has been spent ranting. @ufuomaotebele warn yourself o!

  7. ivie9ja (@Ivie9ja)

    @ufuomaotebele I love this format I could almost envision Pelumi’s face talking to us. Hmm if I were a man and my wife rejected a raise and promotion we would fight, so now theres less money coming home because he man is unemployed. Wow lol. I will never understand why women feel desperate enough to pretend in order for a man to marry her only for the real her to be exposed later. In that case you can not get mad when he later leaves you for the ”real” love of his life that actually fits the description hmmm

  8. Omena (@menoveg)

    Let me share this with some ladies and see their reaction.

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