What would you do?

Thought you all might enjoy this video that a friend shared with me. I just love the last lady, she needs to have her own show. One of the comments on the video, in a rare moment of YouTube comment clarity, states that they wish they could see the reverse situation with a white woman and an interracial couple, in different locations around the country. Maybe someone should take this idea and run with it and make a documentary or something similar; would be a fascinating look at attitudes throughout the nation.

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Group 1: Body Image and the Media

First of all, kudos to group one! Y’all did an awesome job yesterday.

I wanted to consider your question, “What does your professional definition of beauty consist of?” For me, beauty is a somewhat disconnected idea. I never felt that I fit the media’s mold of “beautiful” because I had wild and crazy curls, tons of freckles, was short, and always had strong (read: big) thighs and calves. Because I didn’t fit this mold, however, I just found myself focusing more on the traits that I felt were positive about myself. I tried to focus on being funnier, smarter, and more social. Of course, it can be hard not to try to fit in to the standards set by the media, especially when you are younger and can’t really understand that beauty, even for many of those who fit the standard at some point, is usually fleeting. Either you grow older, gain a few pounds, or otherwise fall out of the mold and if you have only ever relied on your beauty or you place all your self-worth in your image, then you have nothing to fall back on if something happens to alter this image. I think, for this reason, we need to encourage our friends, family, and young girls to focus on whatever their strengths are and diversify their interests. Plus, my own main idea of beauty really relies on one thing: confidence. When a woman is skilled(at whatever her forte happens to be), put together(in whatever her style is), and driven to accomplish her goals, that is a person with true beauty!

UNCC African American Feminist Theory 2014

This week our group is discussing body image and the media. The purpose of this topic is to inform students of how the media conveys the definition of beauty as it relates to women. Considering the music videos, movies, and commercials, displayed on a daily basis, beauty is depicted as an outward attribute that is valued through the sexualization of women. The reason for choosing this topic involves the need to raise awareness of how women are objectified in the media and how it is reflected in the lives of everyday women. By gaining knowledge of this issue, each individual can take necessary steps to sift through the false ideas of beauty and create her own demarcation of what it means to her.

Facts:

More than 90 percent of girls age 13-15 want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance

80 percent of women say that…

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Beauty

What we perceive as “beautiful” majorly impacts the way we view ourselves and how we perceive ourselves and others. After reading The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, one of the things that stood out to me the most was the difference a well-developed sense of self can make. If you hold yourself up to unrealistic ideals, you can only be disappointed. If you recognize and embrace your strengths, whether that means beauty, intellect, personality, or one or more of any other number of awesome things, you’ll likely project confidence and beauty. On a less serious note, thinking of loving oneself reminds me of the sage words of Ru Paul…

Ru Paul, inner and outer beauty icon.

Perception of beauty is most certainly variable across any number of intersections of identity. Americans’ vision of beauty varies, often drastically, from what is considered beautiful in other countries around the world. I think that race and ethnicity certainly impact the ideal of beauty for women; however, the largely white American media is so pervasive that their “ideal” can be far more influential than “traditional” beauty ideals within various groups. I think this relates back to the discussion last week about hair as politics; to resist accepting an unrealistic beauty standard is to resist oppression.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Politically Curly

After reading the prompt for this week’s blog, I decided to watch Good Hair. I had seen clips, but never watched the entire movie so I rented it on Amazon. Now, I knew a little about black women’s hair from hair school; I’ve applied relaxers, hot ironed, curled, and set hair. But, that was just in school; for the most part the intricacies of weaves, updos, and complicated braids are well beyond my knowledge base. I think I was most surprised to learn how many of the celebrities had a full head weave; I assumed that many famous black women had expensively relaxed shining locks, perhaps bolstered by some tracks in there too. After hearing Reverend Al Sharpton get into the politics of spending money on products mainly owned by large, white-owned, companies and reading about Audrey Lorde’s experience in “Is Your Hair Still Political?” I began to think about famous black women who were known for their beautiful, natural, political, hair.

My mind instantly went to Erykah Badu.

Erykah Badu “Wrapped Up” in the 90s

From her iconic dreads and head wrap of the 90s, to her completely shaved, from her “supernatural” afros, to her impossibly long tresses of recent years, Erykah Badu has almost always rocked a natural style.

Glowing Fro

In this video Badu discusses how it isn’t necessarily the actual “realness” of the hair that you are wearing, more important is the fact that the style looks like something your hair could could naturally do. I take this to mean that the important part of having a natural looking style, the part that makes it political, is a person’s creation of their own identity which rejects unrealistic and “unnatural” standards.

Erykah Badu as the New Face of Givenchy

In an interview with the natural hair blogging “Curlologists,” Erykah Badu stated that while she believes “how you wear your hair is a political statement as well,” because “(p)retty much everything you do as a black woman is a political statement,” she doesn’t want to feel pressured to wear any particular style because “at that point I’d be putting myself into a penitentiary and that wouldn’t be a natural state!” After being asked what she thought of the “natural hair movement,” Badu said “I really don’t [think] a lot about how people wear their hair right now, cause I’d rather see a person with a natural mind and processed head than a processed mind and natural head.”

“Once it rains, then we’ll see who actually has “naturally” curly hair”

In conclusion, hair can certainly be a political statement. This is true for black women, like Audrey Lorde and Isis Brantley, Erykah Badu’s hairstylist who was forced to have her afro searched at the Atlanta airport, who encounter stereotypes that center on hair, but run much deeper. However, hair can be a political statement for white women as well. After all, there aren’t many white women who naturally have the ideal “Barbie” or “Celebrity” hair either! When a woman’s natural hair is seen as unprofessional or unruly, in need of taming, we all can stand with the cause of accepting natural, comfortable, inner, beauty. Just as she is in her music, message, and life, Erykah Badu serves as a hair inspiration!