BLACK WOMEN: GENDER, HAIR AND BEAUTY

"Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”– a cliché commonly advocated by the world. Yet the world sets a universal definition of beauty, reducing it to body size, hair and skin color. In spite of the freedoms that women enjoy in contemporary society, women are caught in the web of the patriarchal definition of beauty as they are pressured to conform to beauty ideals.


I, as a woman, have been told from time to time that I am not slim enough, and I would look prettier if my skin tone were lighter. For a while I tried to follow these standards, like doing a diet 24/7, before I realized, why do I let others define beauty for me?


If you have darker skin and curly hairs, you find yourself trapped in the expectations from the media that tells you to use skin whitening creams, and hair straighteners. The media and society all celebrate European beauty ideals, encouraging the yearning for light skin that victimizes women of colour. These social expectations create a false meaning of what beauty truly is, and compel women to feel dissatisfied with their self-image.


It is important for society to make a change in the way we perceive beauty and to reflect on why European beauty ideals are so influential in defining our meaning of beauty. A 2014 research done by Bissell and Yan shows that beauty ideals are more a result of editorial choices in North magazines and European magazines than actually derived from objective standards. The way we understa


nd dark skin or any physical feature which does not look “white” is considered something unacceptable and unattractive. In Hong Kong, people of color are often subjected to racist remarks from people. For instance, parents and children cover their noses when a black woman is near them; passengers on MTR refuse to sit next to people with darker skin. Even in Asia’s so-called world city, there is only one discriminatory standard of beauty.


We, the courageous mankind who acknowledge the natural beauty in everyone, need to start advocating a change in the mass mentality towards women of color. Every woman in this city deserves to look at herself in the mirror every morning and confidently accept her beauty.






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