Monday, May 16, 2011

Should black women take an isolationist approach to beauty culture & standards?


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via Black Girl with Long Hair by Black Girl With Long Hair (online) on 5/16/11

Portrait of a Black Woman by Buck : Holzemer

*So, a few of you contacted BGLH this morning about the Psychology Today article about black women being unattractive. I liked reader Deanna's take on things, so I've posted her response. Apparently Psychology Today has taken the article down but, if you care to read (and you might not, trust me), you can find it here.*

Yesterday Psychology Today released an article about how black women are perceived as less attractive than black men (and less attractive than white, Asian and Native American women). And, perhaps to add a, "these-women-are-soooo-delusional" twist, also noted (with mock incredulity) that, still, somehow, black women perceive themselves as attractive, even when others do not. The article also claims that 'objectively' (their words, not mine) black women are less/least attractive.

My first reaction was rage. But then I did some digging. The author of the article is Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist (NOT biologist) of Japanese descent who also believes that — as an evolutionary fact — all men prefer blonde women with blue eye. As I did more research I felt relieved to find that many biologists think he is a joke. The fact that he was published in Psychology Today makes me question both the field of psychology and the credibility of Psychology Today.

But this is not the first time that black women have been thrown under the bus by a mainstream institution, and it won't be the last. From how we raise our children, to our relationships and sex lives, to how we look, black women are scrutinized and picked apart by the media. We're a 'hot-button, talking point' sure to bring in ratings, comments or views. And that is why, one year ago (sparked in large part by the race-baiting joke that is CNN's "Black in America"), I canceled my cable subscription.

I have given up expecting or hoping that the American mainstream will do right by black women. I think that our brand of beauty is unique and NOT celebrated. And how can it be when the reigning standard is this and this. I'm a beauty isolationist because in this Europhilic culture, and I don't expect brown skin, full features, highly textured hair and curvy physiques (on black women) to be praised anytime soon.

I don't consume a lot of mainstream media and I'm very grateful for sites like BGLH that put forth a healthy, attainable and affirming beauty standard.. And it's kind of crazy to think that we are JUST NOW really uncovering another facet of our beauty — our hair — that we have suppressed (thanks, in great part, to mainstream media) for so long.

I'm through searching mainstream media for a reflection or affirmation of myself. I can find that among my friends, in my parents, at my church and, of course, in the natural hair community. But if I try to find it in mainstream American culture… well, I'm going to be looking for a long time.

Interesting! Ladies, what are your thoughts on all of this; the article, the 'evolutionary psychologist' behind it, Deanna's response?


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