Black Skin, Light Eyes, Straight Hair

Who set the standards for physical beauty? I know that physical beauty seems to be a superficial topic, but it is a topic that has real import in the lives of so many people all over the world. Our perception of the physical beauty of others impacts our treatment of them and it even causes us to judge what they have the potential to do, become, or to be in loving and affirming relationships with during their lives. In much of the Western world, the beauty standard for women has long been light skin, slender bodies, light eyes, and straight hair. Of course, there are permitted variations on that standard, but most women who society calls beautiful meet at least two of the requirements most of the time. The standard is hard, nearly impossible for black women—especially darker black women to meet, and although we have no control over the bodies or skin we’re in, society looks down on women who cannot or choose not to meet the standard.

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