Body Image and the Woman of Color in the United States

Sexualization of Girlshooded-beauty

Watch the video Sexualization of Girls to get the true picture!
Content of my Character!
About few weeks ago, Elle Magazine was widely criticized because it featured 3 full- bodied full- colored photographs of 3 thin White actresses and one black and white close-up of Indian- American actress Mindy Kaling on its cover. Last week, Gabourey Sidibe was barraged by negative tweets because many viewers did not like how she looked in her gown at the Golden Globe awards. Both actresses, in my opinion took the “high road”. Kaling said that she liked the picture “it looks like I died at my most beautiful, while Sidibe simply responded to the haters by relishing in her success. She tweeted “to people making mean comments about my GG pics, I mos def cried about it on my private jet on my way to my dream job last night”.
In 2011 Dove released the findings of a global study which revealed that only 4% of women worldwide consider themselves beautiful. In another study conducted by Dove, 72% of the ten to seventeen (1200) polled “felt tremendous pressure to be beautiful”. (www.dove.us/Social-Mission/campaign-for-real-beauty ) In my opinion, the existing issue is not what is beautiful? But what do we as a society consider socially acceptable as beauty? The message that is currently being conveyed is “okay based on the standards of your community and most other communities you are beautiful, but we need a blanket prototype and that prototype has to be white and skinny”. Why doesn’t that prototype look like me or any other curvaceous woman of color? It looks as if while most other Western nations are beginning to embrace the fact that beauty isn’t blond hair and a size zero, Americans are trying to preserve this fallacy. It appears that the U.S. media and the “other powers that be” still feel that they have an obligation to convey that white and skinny is the only socially acceptable form of beauty. The problem with that is the racial and ethnic landscape of America is quickly shifting. The U.S. Census projects that by 2020 that half the children under 18 will be a minority and by 2043 that Whites will be a U.S. minority. As such, is it really plausible to hold on to the notion that zero and blonde is the only socially acceptable means of portraying beauty? Further, what bothers me most is that the media is pushing that all women, irrespective of color, shape size, strive to have this “look”. How can we look like that if that’s not what we really look like? It’s a cruel farce.
My suggestion…shift the focus from the outward to what is inside. Do not get me wrong. Everyone wants and likes to be visually pleased. People in general like to see attractive people and pretty things. But when all the emphasis is placed on appearance, we fail to see what is true and what is truly important, that both Mindy Kaling and Gabourey Sidibe are both prolific and talented actress irrespective of their complexions and their curves. So in going forward and in celebration of Dr. King, in addition to not judging by skin color and dress size, let’s learn also accentuate and praise character and talent. That’s the only way to start paving a healthy and positive road to change.