All cultures have different definitions of “beauty” but what’s interesting about black beauty is that at times the closer you are to European beauty standards, the more “beautiful” you are. You know, the light skin, loose curls, but with a slim nose, etc. colorism and texturism play a huge role in this area and sadly, even those of us who are more socially aware are oblivious to the fact that our internalized racism shapes what we perceive to be just simple preferences.
If you’re into this subject, you’d also like episodes ““Contoured” (Self Hate)” and “The Journey of Self Confidence”.
- Black beauty is fluid. There’s no one set definition of black beauty. Black women can be anything from a juices and berries naturalista to the queen of bundles and a good face beat.
- We can’t win for losing. Everything we do is watched under a microscope. We as black women cannot express ourselves through something “non-natural” without the assumption that our goal is to “look white”. Human beings are too complex to narrow something like confidence down to a few simple “natural = confident” rule. That grossly oversimplified concept does not align with the reality of everything that goes into having a healthy self esteem. Contrary to popular belief, one can be “au natural” and still hate themselves. In addition, why is the reaction to perceived self hatred to shame the woman in question? How does that help?
- Black women do not have “beauty agency”. Us lack women are not free to adjust our looks as we see fit. We cannot be natural or add extras in peace. Women of other ethnic-backgrounds aren’t challenged for their choices in appearance like we are. Why is that?
- Texturism. If you’re a naturalista that can’t leave the house without her hair pattern manipulated from a type 4 to a type 3, then you should have several seats when attacking women for relaxers/weaves and other perceived self hatred. Though one action is more “extreme” than the other, these all stem from the same issue. Even in your natural state, you are suffering from unaddressed internalized racism. Fix that before you come for your sister!
- Facial Features. Even during this “Woke Era”, we still value a European facial structure over our more prominent facial features. Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but with racism floating around, that eye is most certainly trained. We prefer smaller noses, eyes, and “softer” faces over our pronounced features commonly seen amongst African women.
- Blackness = Masculinity. At least it does in this society. Whiteness and the closeness to whiteness tends to be associated with femininity . This is why we consider light-skinned black men to be “soft”.
So what makes black beauty so special?
We talked about it in the episode, but we want you to answer this question for yourself. Recognizing how special you are is important! Talk a moment of self appreciation.
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