Black Beauty And Societal Complexes

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[London Bridge Is Falling Down]

What is beauty?

Are there objective ideals of beauty or is it subjective and therefore in the eyes of the beholder?

Beauty is defined as qualities which give pleasure to the senses, which would suggest that it is subjective as another man’s meat is another man’s poison.

The media however continue to constantly bombard us with their notion of what they consider "universally" beautiful. Most surveys looking for the most beautiful woman in the world, install Caucasian or light-skinned Black women.

The likes of Halle Berry, Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey are in the top spot whereas some gorgeous dark-skinned women like Kelly Rowland, Lauryn Hill, Nia Long and Jamilia, a British singer, if lucky to make the list, will appear somewhere at the bottom of it.

It would appear that some Black men have also internalized these harmful standards of beauty epitomized by the media, music videos and magazines--that is, light skin, straight nose, and so-called ‘’good hair.’’

This creates an inferiority complex in the dark-skinned Black woman. These media outlets seldom portray dark-skinned women in a positive light, if at all. So some of these women feel unworthy and unattractive in their dark skin and there begins the process of self-harming, physically, mentally and emotionally in the hope of attaining what western societies have deemed "beautiful."

Are there advantages to being a light skinned woman?

It would appear so. Such women get disproportionate attention from men, sometimes free entry into clubs, better service in restaurants and shops, more accepted at work by their Caucasian counterparts, and friendly attitudes generally. Whereas the dark-skinned woman is seen as "ugly," "aggressive," and "bitchy," especially if she is confident and assertive.

I recall in the late 90s when I worked at a County Court here in London where there were only three Black women and one of my colleagues was of a much lighter hue than I whilst the other was much darker.

My lighter skinned friend was favored by colleagues and managers alike. Whereas she and I got invited to lunch and after work drinks, our darker skinned colleague was seldom invited.

It seemed that our faces were more acceptable. Of course we automatically extended to her the invitations that we received. It also seemed like she was reprimanded for the slightest liberty taken, like coming back five minutes late from lunch. She would often and understandably make snide remarks about some people getting away with murder because their faces fit.

There was no recourse for her because although hurtful, the ill treatment could not elicit legal proceedings.

There is nothing wrong with having a preference which we all do. Personally, I prefer dark-skinned men but that does not mean I find Caucasian or light-skinned men ugly. Black men who find dark-skinned women ugly simply because of their dark skin have a complex over skin color. Such men have bought into the media stereotype, which is injurious to us all, especially for the young impressionable dark-skinned woman who will believe that she really is ugly.

It is only natural that they will harbor some resentment.

The dark-skinned woman finds herself in a no win situation in that if she does not conform to the ‘’ideal of beauty’’ then she remains ‘’ugly’’ and if she does she is accused of trying to be white.

May I flip this script? White women take collagen injections to plump up their lips, buttock implants and use sun beds to get an all-year-round tan. God made us all beautiful.

A Black woman’s beauty should not be measured by the tone of her skin and texture of her hair. Physical beauty fades. Surely true beauty should encompass more exceptional qualities like honesty, kindness, virtue and endurance.

Allimadi writes for The Black Star News from London reach her via [email protected]

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"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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