African American Beauty Standards

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African American rapper “Lil’Kim” publicly admitted to getting surgery and bleaching her skin, saying “really beautiful women that left me thinking, how I can I compete with that? Being a regular black girl wasn 't good enough.” This trend of women being unhappy with their bodies is not uncommon. 53% of 13-year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies, this grows to 78% by the time they are 17 (Maine, 2011). Due to this, more women result to practices making themselves more “attractive”. One of these practices is the art of wearing cosmetics. Self-conscious women are more likely to wear cosmetics than less self-conscious women and report that they believe their social interactions are more pleasurable when they wear makeup (Miller &…show more content…
There are several sources of beauty standards. Fairy tales play a large part is solidifying feminine beauty ideals and it has a huge effect on both children and adults. Psychiatrists found out that the influence of fairytales extend into adult life (Stafford, 1934). Fairytales like Snow White, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella lay emphasis on the beauty of the protagonists and the ugliness of the antagonists. For example, because Cinderella is beautiful she is also nice whilst her step sisters are evil and therefore ugly. This results in readers who do not conform to these beauty standards feeling ugly and insecure. Self- image, to some degree is shaped by exposure to images found in books, movies, etc. Moreover, it is clear that children, if they are to develop a positive self-image, need to see themselves in texts (Hurley…show more content…
These days, advertisements are made with the aid of photoshop which creates an unattainable image of beauty and thus, puts pressure on women to achieve these standards. Photoshop in the beauty industry involves manipulating a picture to make it flawless. Magazines photoshop these images by toning the abdomen, removing every facial blemish, defining the cheekbones, etc. In 2003, actress Kate Winslet criticized GQ magazine for photoshopping her picture saying, “The retouching is excessive, I do not look like that and more importantly, I don’t desire to look like that”. Many women are bothered by the seemingly perfect models they see on the billboards, in television adverts and on magazine covers. Anorexia survivor Erin Treloar said “my eating disorder was perpetuated by retouched magazine photos”. Beauty standards has such a giant effect on women emotionally, psychologically and physically. The pressure on women to be thin leads to unhealthy weight loss practices (Battle & Brownell, 1996), eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia (Thompson, Heinberg, Altabe, & Tantleff-Dunn, 1998) and low self-esteem (Tiggeman & Stevens,
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