Sunday, 5 October 2008

OMG White Beauty!!

The white man's idea of "beauty" in women has had an impact on everyone (and not necessarily in a good way); it has been something that has developed over the years, but roughly being the same each time. The following factors are what are said to make a woman beautiful, based on the white man's/woman's standards in the media:
- Long, light coloured hair
- Light coloured, empty looking eyes
- Thin Body
- Pale (sometimes tanned) skin

While this look is natural
to some, there are many people who have strived (and still do) to get this look or something similar. What makes it sad is that through history, it has changed how almost every other race sees beauty, even today.

Take African Americans for instanc
e. Once stolen from their land by Europeans and shipped to what we now know as America, the slaves that had a lighter skin tone or Caucasian blood in them due to interracial rape by the white man, were favoured more compared to the slaves of a darker natural tone. Although this happened hundreds of years ago, the light skinned/dark skinned issue has still had an affect on not just a majority of African Americans in the United States, but also black people across the globe, whether it's in the UK, France or even parts of Africa itself. It has gotten so extreme to the point where some of us feel the need to straighten our hair with harmful chemicals, wear coloured contact lenses that aren't even our natural colour, and sometimes even bleach our skin to make it lighter, because its said to be "beautiful"; Something that some black celebrities have undergone to "fit into" the mainstream entertainment industry.

Not only has it affected some females in places like Africa, but Asia too. It is very popular now for some Asian women in places like Japan, China, Singapore, or even North America to wear tape, glue or even have surgery done on their eyes to make them look more like Westerners, because it's considered to be pretty and more attractive . If you went to one of these Asian countries such as Korea, you'd find that the most common form of surgery over there is the type done on a person's eyes to make them look less Asian and more Caucasian...
Not only this, but it's common
for Asian women to wear coloured contacts of colours like green, blue or grey that are said to make the eyes look bigger, (i.e. more Western).

Even in places like India or Pakistan, you are only considered beautiful if you bleach your skin,
wear coloured contacts, and dye your hair light colours like blonde; colours that are generally unnatural for people from Asia. Take a look at actresses in Bollywood; a lot (if not all of them) have gone under the process of dying their hair, wearing coloured contact lenses and bleaching their skin; some have done it to the point where they are at times, mistaken to be a Caucasian woman. ------->

These ideas and perceptions of what beauty is meant to be has been planted into some peo
ples minds so badly, that they pass these false perceptions onto younger generations. A good example of this being done can be seen by the author Constance Briscoe.
In her book "Ugly", she talks at one point how he
r mother would always tell her when growing up how she thought her lips were too big, her nose was too wide and how her skin was too dark; something that affected her in a big way, as later on in her life she got a nose job and lip reduction.

So where did these ideas of beauty come from? Well a large portion of it clearly comes from the media. Everyday we see images of women/young girls who have at least one or two of the
factors of "beauty" listed at the beginning of this post; and because these women in the media don't really look like an average female you'd find walking down the street, some of us just assume that they are the beautiful ones, that they are the ones that are truly pretty, and that we have to look like them and not the other way round...a lot of people don't see some of the evil behind the media around us and the false perceptions it makes...

Especially in places like Asia, one of my Asian friends told me that most of the advertisements you see around you consist of wome
n from the Western world with blonde hair, blue eyes and a thin, boyish figure; and the few Asian women you do see in the media over their usually have had surgery to change their eye shape and wear contacts to change their natural colour...something that leads not just Asian women to become insecure about the way they naturally are, but also any other ethnicity that doesn't fit this fake image of "beauty", and is one of the reasons that women do these things to themselves in the first place, because of what they see around them on the in things like advertisements...

Like menti
oned before, these false standards of "white beauty" affect the way other races see themselves, if not the actual white race at some points too. I go to a predominately white school at the moment, if you were to go there and look at the girls that are considered beautiful, hot, pretty or whatever you want to call it, you'll find that many of them have blonde/light coloured hair that often passes their shoulders, light, empty looking eyes and are usually quite thin. And because I don't look like this, at times I feel that I'm being judged by others in the school community based on my appearance...not only does this apply to me, but to anyone else there that doesn't live up to these shallow expectations...

I also experienced this in my last school before coming to Switzerland. Even though the school students were mai
nly people of colour, the girls who were of mixed heritage with the paler skin tone that had more European blood in them were favoured over other black or Asian girls who didn't.
I know this because I was o
ne of those girls who didn't have as much white in them, who didn't straighten their hair with chemicals, and whose skin tone wasn't more on the pale side; and because of this, I was at one point considered ugly. It wasn't until I wore contacts that changed my eye colour and put extensions in my hair that made it look more straight and European, that more people looked at me in a different way and considered me pretty. This is something I regret doing, as I did it thinking (at the time) I'd be excepted more from other people...and even though I was for a short period of time, I was still trying to portray this image that wasn't truly me, an image of myself that was fake. It wasn't until my Mum told me to stop with the grey contacts etc. because I wasn't white, and that things like that weren't natural on our people, that I opened my eyes a bit was then that I accepted myself more and stopped trying to be something I'm clearly not...

So what ab
out the rest of us that have accepted ourselves?? Why should we feel self concious about our looks?? Why should we try and compare ourself to this so called image of "beauty" or "perfection" when it's probably an image based on self conciousness itself. This perception of "white beauty" is false; some white people might just be saying that they are the most beautiful people, because they are in fact the most insecure; something they try to solve or cover up by indirectly telling almost every other race out there that they're inferior compared to the Western world through things like the media, and that in order to be beautiful and to be accepted in today's society that they must look more Western...

What about people like me who have embraced their ethnicity, like the way they are and choose not to alter or change anything about that...does that make us ugly?! Who are you to say that people that choose not to look like most girls in the media aren't beautiful too...

While the media aren't directly saying that everyone else is ugly, they are sometimes giving that impression to other people who don't look like most girls on TV; when the truth is, the women pictured above (as well as many other women) are beautiful too. The media clearly doesn't realise that beauty comes in more than one form, shape or size, otherwise more realistic looking people like them would be shown in it more often, but sadly they're not.

So to anyone (whether you're black, white, Asian or anything else for that matter), who feels the need to change their features just to live up to the modern [false] standards of "beauty", please stop now. You're features are some of the only things that signify you from other races (whether it is your hair, your eyes, your nose, your skin etc.)...Why would you want to change that??
By trying to change/alter not just
your facial features, but also things like your weight, you are becoming less of an individual and more of a clone; and worst of all, you are becoming less of the person you truly are, the person you were before you started to compare yourself to people in the media, and felt like you had to change; the truth is they are the ones that need to change, because only a very small portion of people in this world naturally look like them.


Anonymous said...

I have made the argument many atime. I felt excluded and in Canada I knew that it was because of the way I looked.

The weirdest thing is that in the end it was exactly the way that I looked that got me what I wanted. I married and then after a bit started to worry again... what will people think of my wife for marrying me etc. A swift kick in the a** by said wife soon settled that issue.

I am happy and all of those things that I used to compare, I have noted are only temporary. the skinny ones get big butts, the cool haircut types end up bald and then the age thing starts to hurt everyone. But I am immune. I still look the same. I know I will never go bald... Not my racial type. My skin will wrinkle less.

And so on and so on.....

God. was I lecturin? I gave this speech a lot of time to my kids. Seems to have helped them. Maybe they cust agreed to get it over with eh.


ToshaRenelle said...

Thanks for sharing your insight on my post of a similar topic.

I, too, think it's really sad the way the media and celebrities can influence such a large group of people. Women with eating disorders, starving themselves to be a size 2....makes me sick!

I am so committed to staying true to MYSELF! My motto is "love me, or leave me alone". Because for every person that hates me or doesn't like what I look like, there are probably 3 people who love me and love me just the way I am!

Great post. More bloggers should be touching on stuff like this!