On race and beauty

In this really moving exploration of why she is so hurt and angry at her (black, male) best friend’s insistence on dating white girls, Latoya Peterson at Racialicious, talks about how black women experience beauty standards differently than white women:

In discussions of beauty – particularly those on women centered blogs – white women can understand being held up to an unrealistic standard of beauty. To be impossibly thin, impossibly blonde, impossibly clear skinned, with a body that defies the law of physics is presented as something that is attainable if you try hard enough and buy the right products, though many women find these efforts to be futile. What most of these conversations do not understand is that when black women pick up these kinds of magazines, or watch advertisements on TV, or popular television shows with popular white actresses, we do not get the message “try harder.”

The message we receive is never.

You will never look like this. Not if you straighten your hair, or lose weight, or work out every single day, or have the perfect body and the perfect wardrobe to match. Even if you fit all those requirements, you’re still “pretty for a black girl.” And if, for some reason, you do not fit these requirements, if your hair is frizzy or curly or kinky, if your thighs and ass will always keep your size in the double digits, if your features are not keen, if your skin tone is too deep, then there are many people who will never consider you beautiful.

Hat tip to Shapely Prose

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