How is One Supposed to Believe Black is Beautiful?
MAC cosmetics posted a picture of a Black model that received so much backlash on Instagram last week because of her full lips. She was compared to a fish and to rapper Jay Z. Some Instagram users threatened to unfollow MAC on their social media platform for this. Some comments, were just too racist (Read Instagram post at the end of the article).
But have the likes of Kylie Jenner and Angelina Jolie ever experienced such wrath for their large lips? NO!! If anything, their pouty lips are hailed and sexualized. White women go to lengths to achieve this pouty look by enhancing their lips with botox just to have the full-lipped look of most Black women.
It’s like butts. On a black woman, we call it FAT and UGLY. On Amber Rose and the Kardashian women: HOT and SEXY.
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So what does this say? Beauty is not about how skinny and tight you’re a** is; or how curvaceous you are; or how pouty your lips are, or how busty you are. All the above scenario screams is: “BEAUTY aint BLACK!”
In her article: “I Don’t Believe I’m Black and Beautiful,” on the HuffPost, Zeba Blay states this sad but true fact: “The things that make us black women, our big lips or big butts or kinky hair, are singled out as the main factors that we must change about ourselves in order to be more attractive, in order to be more acceptable”.
And as Black women try so hard to lighten their skins, lose weight and straighten their hair, White women are busy trying to acquire this full lipped, full figured, tanned look. And this look on white women is considered by whomever drafted the standards of beauty code – what the mainstream goes by - beautiful… A look most black women spend their lives from teenage hood trying to run away from.
Blay advocates for the building of self esteem as opposed to focusing on the black features that the mainstream doesn't consider as a mark of beauty; and by the look of things, light skin is the mark of beauty. She writes:
"I want to be uninterested in beauty; I want to be uninterested in the idea that self-esteem only has to do with the way one looks. But in a society where black beauty is so invisible, so little celebrated, it's impossible not to be preoccupied with it. That's the crux. Beauty isn't and shouldn't be the scale by which we measure our self-worth and validation. But for black women, the constant bombardment of negative messaging sometimes makes it so hard to separate those things from one another.
For me, the struggle of black beauty is not accepting that it exists in this world. I see black beauty everywhere -- I see it in my family and friends; I see the complexity and the range of black beauty in women I don't know but admire, women like First Lady Michelle Obama, or the French-Senegalese actress Aissa Maiga, or the singer SZA, or the model and activist Bethann Hardison. The struggle is very personal. I can see our collective beauty, I can celebrate it in others, but I can't celebrate it in myself.
It feels contradictory and hypocritical, to celebrate the beauty of black women but be perpetually unable to recognize my own. To be black and to be beautiful and to recognize, appreciate, and accept your own beauty is in itself a kind of revolutionary act. I believe that. That's why I feel defeated -- thinking I'm not beautiful, that I'm in fact ugly, feels like I'm giving in to all the lies that have been subliminally broadcast to me and every young black woman out there. I haven't quite figured out how to change the narrative, but maybe at least being aware of it, at least wanting to change, is a kind of tiny victory."
Do you share similar thoughts?
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