[Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America]
In chapter 7 of Shifting, Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden address the beauty standard many black women attempt to hold themselves. These Eurocentric beauty ideas are often impossible for even white women to achieve.
The chapter also briefly discusses the pressure to physically confirm to the Eurocentric world and to retain a sense of blackness. The authors assert, “in a society where the standard of beauty remains European, where beauty still too often defines a woman’s worth, many Black women struggle to feel attractive and thus secure and valued” (177).
How did you respond to the discussion of beauty standards in the chapter? Why or how so?
I feel as though black women should not feel as if they are not beautiful because in today's world, people of other backgrounds are paying to look like black women (bigger lips, dread locks, buttock implants, etc). In today's world, the media just portray the European look to be the ideal look of society, but black women are very beautiful. Our beautiy is not being broadcasted as much which makes people feel less of themselves and that is sad. A black woman should not feel the need to put makeup on her face everyday, or even to go to the grocery store because she does not feel beautiful.
The three aspects that define race are : skin color, hair texture, and facial features. That being said, with black women trying to fit in with America's European standard of beauty, it's clearly a challenge. Models in America are portrayed with long, silky hair, ultra thin bodies, fair skin, and make-up. Many black women choose not to embrace their coarser, thicker hair and purchase hair that resembles that of a model. As far as body type goes, no real woman is going to look like a model in a magazine regardless of what color their skin in. Models are always photoshopped. I saw a great video awhile back that took a chubby girl with no make-up on and turned her into a stunning, thin model using Photoshop in a matter of seconds. Models are an unrealistic portrayal of women. However, we still all want to look like them because it is America's standard of beauty. However, I do feel that we as a society are getting better at embracing other cultures and heritages. One of my best friends happens to be Indian and during the time of Garba, she always wears native clothing and gets so many compliments. Yes, some people may give her a funny look, but for the most part people admire her style. On the other hand, for a long time I didn't feel comfortable wearing my bair natural because I told myself it was too "big." I used to spend so many hours straightening my hair and putting different oils and sprays in it. Now, I loce my natural hair. It may be big and different from the models, but I love it. I think not only black women, but any person anywhere should feel comfortable in their own skin. We don't need make-up or a size 0 body to make us look beautiful. We worn born beautiful.
I think that in today's society many women are becoming so plastic that we don't really know what they look like without their makeup, implants, face lifts; we never get to see natural women. Black women define natural beauty and therefore don't need to feel like they aren't beautiful because we don't need to wear makeup all the time or need to look plastic.
This chapter displayed a commonly spread issue about the beauty standard of black women. If you type in beautiful woman in google image search, the pictures that come up, are all white women. It is safe to say that all women are beautiful, but it is hard to see when all the leading ladies in action movies are white. Last year I think there was a huge drive to acknowledge black beauty, not only in women, but in men to.#BlackOut trended on twitter and tumblr, it still continues to recognize that, yes, black is beautiful.
I feel that every black woman should feel beautiful . Today's world promotes slimmer figures and longer hair but curves and shorter hair are beautiful also. I feel like everyone has something to offer and have people who love them just the way they are.
I believe the beauty standards discussed in this chapter are definitely prevelant in today's society. The "Lily Complex" states that black women are pushed to obsession over their hair, their skin tone, and, increasingly, their body size and shape. These type of myths and stereotypes portray them as less attractive, less feminine, and less refined. Black women are often prejudged,dismissed, and mistreated because they have a dark complexion, are overweight, or wear their hair in a natural style. In today's society, the beauty standards are getting higher. To be "beautiful" you tend to have had plastic surgery, skinny, long hair, and a face full of makeup.
It is true that many Black women do still hold themselves to European standards of beauty. I also agree that these standards can harm a black woman's self esteem and her sense of self. But it is up to her to recognize that her natural beauty is much more than what society deems it to be. It is hard sometimes not to conform to these expectations when everything around us suggests that we should be a certain way. The chapter mentions how media, our parents, and even black men influence our own perception of ourselves. I still think it is up to individual women to set their own personal beauty standards and live up to their own expectations. If a woman wants to wear a ton of makeup to feel beautiful then so be it. If she wants to alter her body shape to feel beautiful, then so be it. But it's important that these decisions are made solely to please herself, and not society and everyone else in it.
The standard of beauty remains European and black women are far from European, yet we ae all still beautiful. Black women have kinkier hair, thicker body shapes, and darker skin, but it's nothing wrong with that. I wear my hair in it's natural state a majority of the time, and I get a few stares here and there, but I have been told by many people, black and white that my hair is beautiful.
I understand how it may be hard for black women to find themselves beautiful, because the media doesn't portray us as beautiful. I know several young, black women that won't walk out the house wearing their natural hair or without a full face of makeup, and it is sad to see. I notice that as I get older I see more and more women embracing their natural selves, and I hope the movement continues. If we don't make the first move and embrace our own natural beauty, who will?
Although almost everyone in the world is being held to the standards of European beauty, some of the Afro features are starting to be a little more appreciated than before. For example, we used to be ridiculed for the size of our lips, now, there's plastic surgery to get the bigger size that we possess. Even though we only got to this side of the fence because people of the European background decided it was a good look, I suppose it's sort of a step in the right direction for us to be appreciated more.
I think black women are very beautiful, just like other nationalities. Beauty lies within, it depends on whether or not you think yourself is beautiful not what others think. Personally, I think everyone in beautiful in their own way and it is great to be different.
While some still try to conform to European beauty, more and more black women are embracing their natural beauty today. Nowadays, we look into the beauty we see in ourselves and let it shine for all to see. But the standards of European beauty is almost overrated now because everyone else is trying to look like us as much as possible. We must be doing something right, aren't we?
I personally have felt pressures to both fit in with the way girls were dressing at school while still "dressing black". I went to a mostly white school, so the popular brands were not necessarily true religion or polo. I struggled with wanting my hair to be long and straight like the white girls and willing to get rid of my natural curl pattern I had that the white girls found to be "different" but is now prized. When I started getting sew-ins, the white girls and even some black girls started assuming that I was bald-headed and had bad hair. Coming to college, my roommate was surprised that I have never worn a pair of true religion jeans or know the difference between the different jordans. But I am now becoming more comfortable with myself and they way I want to present myself.
I feel like this chapter touched on a big issue within the African American community. Most African American woman may be insecure about themselves because todays society is held to the standards of European beauty. I agree with Alona as well, most African American features that us women share are now being appreciated and praised. But another issue is some African American women believe light skinned woman are more beautiful than brown or dark skinned woman. This is something we should work on within ourselves.
Everyone is beautiful in there own way. Everyone is not going to be skinny, blonde, and green eyed thus making everyone different and unique.
Black women should not feel incompetent to any race for reasons of beauty. Today many people that describe themselves as 'Eurocentric' are adopting Afrocentric styles and standards of beauty as a new trend. Black women are beautiful and our styles are becoming more relevant in big branches of media, beauty products, and more. No one group can set the standards of beauty. People in the one group can have very different perspectives on what is beautiful to them individually. If a Black women wants to live by the Eurocentric, Afrocentric,or any other -centric standard of beauty, then this is her choice. I find it much easier and least expensive to accept yourself fully.
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