Blonde weaves, colored contacts, bleaching creams.
Tanning booths, lip injections, butt pads.
There are white women accused of “black phishing
There are black women hiding their ethnic features.
I’ve seen women with foundation 3 shades lighter than their body.
I’ve seen overpowering spray tans with orange-ish tints that cover light skin.
I’ve see fair skinned Asian women compelled to protect their complexion from the sun.
I even met a Native American women who confessed her envy of blonde women--all because she was ashamed of her heritage.
If you're an American woman, you're likely to struggle with self-hate or comparison.
But in a culture dominated by racial politics, does competition exist among different ethnicities? Is it possible to disregard race when considering beauty standards or are we subconsciously measuring ourselves through a racial lens?
Does this lens favor one nationality over the other?
And does this mean white women are prettier than black women?
The answer is YES and NO.
There is a scientific formula that mathematically determines the most beautiful face. The Golden Ratio of Beauty calculates a person's facial symmetry and other factors to come up with a number that ranks beauty. Based upon this method beauty is not determined by race but a person's facial symmetry and other factors.
We live in a culture ran by racial politics where "white" is synonymous with power and goodness ( white witch, angel food cake, white wedding dress, White Christmas), and black is associated with evil, depravity and dirtiness (blackmail, black funeral dress, Devil's Food Cake, dark humor). For that reason alone, white women are generally considered more feminine and therefore more beautiful than black women.
Don’t believe me?
Well--who owns the wealth? This matters because the one in power controls cultural norms like beauty standards.
WEALTH IN AMERICA
According to the Washington Post, the wealth of African Americans in 1863 was %0.05 of National Wealth.
Now, hundreds of years later with the Civil rights movement, Jim Crow, Black Wall Street and #BlackLivesMatter--black families hold a whopping 1.5% of all wealth!
A typical white family has 8 times the wealth of a black family and 5 times the wealth of a typical Latino family.
These alarming stats are no surprise. The American constitution only gave voting rights to white men with property when founded. It was that group that established societal, cultural and beauty norms.
HOW AMERICA VALUES PEOPLE
Men in America are historically valued for the money they make and women are valued for their looks.
These norms are largely perpetuated today by media which elevates European culture as the height of sophistication. From church history to our education, history books, fairytales, romance novels and even our current events, we see a hyper focus on European politics while the rest of the world goes unreported--except when charity and war are involved.
We saw international headlines when Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, but the media gave little coverage to an African American women who married an Ethiopian Prince. We hear little if anything about the East. But the amount of "Feed the Children" ads from Asian, Indian and African children are endless. Why is that?
It’s because the stories being told are meant to persuade our perception and influence what we value.
HOW BEAUTY IS DETERMINED
Because pretty women are considered valuable in American Culture, they generally have access to more wealth and money making opportunities. From the attractive women who receives a promotion because of her looks, to the rich entrepreneur that uses matchmaking services like Sei Club to wife up top models, “pretty privilege,” has various benefits, including access to more wealth. It's the wealthy families of yesterday and today that hold the money and power to marry, define and promote what is considered the most beautiful.
And as it was over 400 years ago when American began, so it is today--wealth remains in the same white elite families. This affluence and power affords them the opportunity to define and promote beauty standards that are naturally in their favor.
NOT MUCH HAS CHANGE
We might see the acceptance of interracial couples as well as Latina and black women praised in the media for their sex appeal. We even see Asian actresses sparingly on cinema, and a diversity of modern couples on big screen.
But the reality portrays something different. Wealth is not spreading through intermarrying. DESPITE the Hollywood relationships we see--wealth is staying and being passed within the same white families, because white families are the least likely to marry outside of their race.
It appears that culture is pushing for the acceptance of all beauty types, but it's white and Eurocentric beauty that is rewarded with money and power--the things that matter most in this society.
Personally, I don’t think lack of wealth minimizes the beauty that we find in all cultures. This also does not disregard the real struggles some white women have to find their place or discover their identity like the rest of women.
But In a society that associates wealth, class and success with "whiteness," if you’re a woman that doesn’t fit within the white matrix, what does that say about your self-esteem?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave your comments below or join the conversation on social media.
Next Tuesday well explore this subject more and discuss how to walk in self-acceptance while navigating today's culture.