All Articles Tagged "beauty standards"
When I first started on my weight loss journey after having my daughter, I remember updating one of my sisters on my progress. After I hit the 15 pound loss mark she was excited for me. Though she was happy, I couldn’t really embrace it because I felt that even though I had made a dent in the large amount of padding that was on my body, it wouldn’t be good enough because to the outside world I was still fat. Plan and simple. Until my body went back to its normal size, I felt worried that every pound or inch loss would be in vain until reaching my coveted size before being seen as appropriate to the public.
Recently, we’ve discussed the increase of “fat shaming” in the world, from insensitive quotes, airlines contemplating to over charge overweight individuals, and the discrepancy of pay wages based on weight. There is even an article on The Huffington Post where a woman addresses the discrimination that she felt by her boss over her size and how she was forced to quit. While discussing this with one of my best friends she tried to encourage me with: ”Well, you might not be at the size that you’re comfortable yet, but at least you still have a pretty face.”
Maybe it’s because with the increase of our social media, that requires people to use a photograph of themselves that is causing people to become more image conscious. But all of this made me wonder, which is the lesser of the two, being over weight, or being unattractive?
So let’s discuss this weight thing. I remember when we posted the article on Tyrese‘s criticism on overweight individuals, and reading the comment section and some of you all were going IN on dude. But, it made me remember the comments on the airplane wage suggestion of having obese flyers to “pay what you weigh,” and there were many people who agreed with it (making me feel that people might have agreed more with Tyrese than what they wanted to put on). It seems that the common thread of how people saw obese and overweight people were that the discrimination was warranted due to the fact that for most people it’s a controllable condition with a solution.
But does that mean that unattractiveness is something that can be forgiven? Now me, personally, I don’t believe that anyone is ugly, because beauty is subjective. Even if you don’t find someone attractive, there are others that do. We see this all the time. Things that have been criticized on black women (big lips, hips, and butt) have been celebrated on more European figures. Also, if I have to gauge someone else’s beauty then I have to gauge my own, and honestly, I’m too sensitive to try to figure out if I’m pretty or not. But, there are certain facial features that almost universally convey trust and appeal to others (which is why in cartoon movies, all the villains tend to look alike). Things like how far set your eyes are, how symmetrical your face is, the shape of your face, and for men, the appearance of facial hair has also played a part in wage differences.
But with each factor, weight, and your perceived attractiveness seems to play a part in how people treat you. Is it right? No. People should be treated by their character, and usually that ends up happening… after you get to know someone. However, sometimes you have to endure people judging you and your abilities on superficial reasons. People can assume horrible things about you, whether you’re overweight, thin, attractive, or not regarded as so. But, let’s have an open discussion, readers. What do you think that society, or you yourself favor? Do you feel you treat one better than the other?
Historically, it has appeared that the residents of many countries in Africa preferred the more voluptuous, curvy woman over the slim and slender-figured woman. However, lately, preferences appear to be shifting, sparking many public debates among residents of the Ivory Coast, regarding which physique is more desirable, reports the New York Daily News.
“Being thin is synonymous with being sickly and malnourished in African society,” Micheline Gueu, a candidate in the Miss Ivory Coast beauty pageant, regretfully admitted.
Slim-figured Ivorian singer, Princess Amore, however, is encouraging slender, small-breasted women, whom she refers to as “lalas” to embrace their figures.
“I noticed that some girls were embarrassed to have small breasts and felt like they had to fake it by stuffing their bras,” she told AFP.
Her use of the term “lala” is actually in reference to the word “lolo,” which is commonly used to describe curvy women. In 2000, Ivorian musician Meiway released song, “Mrs. Lolo,” celebrating the curves of voluptuous women. At a concert last year, he yelled out to his audience:
“You White people, you like your women flat and thin. Here, we like them big, with curves.”
Despite the widespread celebration of the “lolos,” the Daily News reports that there are certainly more “lalas” being showcased in the Miss Ivory beauty pageants.
Victor Yapobi, President of the Miss Ivory organizing committee suggests that thinner women are more easily marketed than fuller figured women.
“Our beauties comply to international standards: minimum height 1.68 metres (five feet six inches), 90 centimetres (35 inches) around the hips,” said Yapobi.
It appears that statements like the one made by Yapobi are one of the reasons that curvier African women argue that their beauty is also underrated. In 2009, Abidjan organization, Roundly Beautiful surfaced. Spearheaded by Djeneba Dosso, the organization aims to “rid big women of their complexes.” Although the group celebrates curvy women, organizers also encourage Ivorian women to make healthier choices, as many of them ”don’t exercise and eat badly,” says Dosso.
Artist Augustin Kassi, who frequently paints images of full-figured women, disapproves of the beauty pageant, which he refers to as ”voluntary denigration of African beauty.” As a promoter of diversity, it appears that Kassi finds the constant debating to be trivial.
“The world is made up of different things. It’s a rainbow,” he says.
What are your thoughts on the thick vs. slim debate?
If there was ever a study about black women that I’m inclined to believe, it’s the one about us being more confident in our appearance than other groups of women. Last month, Kate Fridkis, wrote a piece called “Why can’t women think they’re pretty?” I read the title and thought oh, that’s tragic. Let me read. And while Fridkis brought up some salient points about how women often downplay and apologize for highlighting their flattering physical features; by the end of the article I thought to myself, thank God I don’t have this problem. You can call me vain or incorrect if you want, but I’ve always thought I was pretty. And even said it, out loud, in front of people a couple of times. Now, I don’t know if it’s because I’ve consistently heard this from others, because my parents promoted self confidence or because I’m just vain. I’m sure it’s a combination of all of these things; but whatever the reason(s), I’m grateful for this ability to be content, and dare I say very pleased, with what I see in the mirror.
I knew I was good- so I started thinking about other women in my circle. I had to start with the source. My mom. My mother, who I and others regard as beautiful, doesn’t meet European or mainstream beauty standards. She’s short, overweight, has dark skin and natural hair. But I’ve never heard her speak ill of her beauty. She might have talked about wanting to lose weight or wear her hair a different way; but when it came to her natural, physical beauty, there have been times when she’s been downright cocky. The same is true for my aunts, cousins and sister on both sides of the family. Hell, even the men talk about knowing they look good. I realize it may sound like we’re a bunch of self-obsessed jerks, but we’ll just have to be that. After all, in a world where people are constantly insulting folks based on their appearance I’d prefer we be overly confident in our looks, so we can shoulder that criticism than underestimate our beauty and let the naysayers break us down.
But I want to be careful not to dismiss anyone’s experience. I know I’ve had friends on both sides of the spectrum. I’ve had the “can’t tell me nothin’” friends and the friends who would say outright, to my shock and surprise, that they didn’t think they were pretty. I get how one could come to feel this way; but really I don’t understand it. (If that makes sense.) If beauty is subjective and increased exposure increases attractiveness how could you not at least be good with the face you’ve been living with all your life?
Maybe people have just had too many critics. Maybe they’ve internalized too many beauty standards that didn’t match their own. Maybe insecurity is stronger than we could ever imagine. I can’t call it. I’m just always surprised when I hear this type of talk from black women. Unfortunately, I’ve seen and heard far too many white women say they want Jennifer Anniston’s hair, Charlize Theron’s body and Pipa Middleton’s booty. All the while completely trashing their own, perfectly attractive beauty. If there was anything positive to come from a lack of minority representation in media, it’s that black women were less likely to compare ourselves to shapes and figures we could never achieve…naturally. Maybe white women, who’ve been watching their likeness on tv, seeing it plastered on billboards and magazine spreads have come to think that these are the only examples of hotness. While black women who didn’t see themselves represented at all but had the love, affection and attention of men, black and otherwise, knew that the media couldn’t be telling the whole story and decided to be good with themselves anyway.
Again, I can’t call it. What I do know is that every woman, every person really, regardless of what others may say about him or her, should strive to be able to look in the mirror and like what they see. None of us will ever be beautiful to everyone but the least we should try to do is be drop dead gorgeous to ourselves.
Do you think you’re pretty? Do you have problems claiming this either to yourself or others?
Brandy’s got a new look ya’ll.
Yes, “The Boy is Mine” singer, best known for Moe-to-the-E-to-the…has ditched the long weaves and her signature temple-pulling braids and has returned to sporting a more mature look, complete with a cute little pixie cut for her YRB Magazine shoot. Oh yeah, and she just so happens to be like five shades lighter – at least in a couple of the pictures. Seriously, a couple of the pictures have completely washed out her lovely skin, making her about the same complexion as Beyoncé – after Destiny’s Child of course.
I don’t know if it is intentional or if it is a matter of poor lighting. I’d like to think it is the latter considering we see this sort of improper exposure use to photograph dark skin in so many photo shoots. Fairly recently, Beyoncé found herself again at the center of a skin- lighting scandal when promotional pictures were released of her with a markedly lighter and pale complexion in her face and upper body. That too, had been attributed to the lighting used in the studio. Maybe. Without definite proof, it is all speculation. However, I cannot recall an instant where black celebrity men had the same lighting issue. In their instance, they usually show up on the cover of magazines true to color – if not darker (hey O.J.). Things that make you go hmm…
Lighting aside, there is something more bothersome about Brandy’s pictorial. No, not another conspiracy, but this is actually intentional and obvious. In short, it’s the nose. I know it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Brandy on the scene, but I’m pretty sure that is not the nose she was born with. In fact, that nose doesn’t even look natural, very Latoya Jackson-esque. Did she get a nose job? Is it the lighting again? Nope, that’s the old makeup trick of contouring and shading.
I started writing my personal (unconditional) love letter to black women back in September of 1983 when my mother brought me into this world at Good Samaritan Hospital. Next she brought me home to my grandmother, and sister who sought to protect this little ‘high yellow’ baby named Cedric. Black women comprise the foundation of my very existence. When I think back to triumphant/trying times in life I can always link my perseverance to the black women I was surrounded with.
The first image I saw of beauty was not some Euro centric, blonde hair, blue eyed woman. Nope. The beauty I have and will always be in love with is that of a darker complexion. No need for code terms like exotic, I love my women undeniably black. I love all shades of blackness and I am sure that my wife will be a black woman. So you can understand my frustration when I saw the “scientific data” presented in Satoshi Kanazawa’s post “Why are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women” recently on Psychology Today. (You might have read the response piece here on Madame Noire.)
It caught my attention because of the firestorm it created on Twitter; I was tempted to disregard it because I have no desire to invite nonsense into my psyche. To my dismay I did check it out and the first thing I found alarming was that the author was claiming that these findings were objective, which I found troublesome because I was always taught that beauty was in the eye of the beholder. Secondly, I have to question the “objectiveness” of those who participated in this study, growing up in America and across the world we have been conditioned that white is beautiful thus black is not. How can something be objective when so many have been conditioned that beauty looks more like Lindsay Lohan than Sanaa Lathan?
Obviously I disagree with the findings that black women are the least attractive group of women and rather than give more attention to such a negative article, allow me to explain why to me; black women are the most beautiful women to walk this earth. I don’t have to put other women down to lift my women up; they stand tall on their own.
What makes someone attractive? That question has as many answers as there are stars in the sky; every man has his own criteria by which he abides. For me a woman needs to be beautiful inside and out.
Here’s what I mean when I say beautiful inside and out:
We know, we know. Sadly, not all black women love themselves. Low self esteem, environment and a host of other elements can affect how any woman, regardless of race, will feel about herself. But recently an Essence Magazine study found that “African-American women are twice as likely to feel positive about their beauty. That’s certainly encouraging! It’s no coincidence that we appreciate ourselves a tad bit more than other woman. Here are some reasons why…