While reading through an article on beauty in Psychology Today, they mentioned how beauty can be seen in people who don’t typically have balanced or acceptable features. All of this seemed ok, but I was stuck when they refered to actress Penelope Cruz’s skin tone as “darker than average”. To be some what fair, they did refer to Christina Applegate as having skin that is lighter than average. My question then became, “What is average?”
Seems like Psychology likes to focus a great deal of their content on beauty, but it’s generally Western beauty ideas, and for that I have umbrage with the notion that Penelope Cruz is “darker than average”.
This just reminds me of so many dark skin women and men who feel as if they are less than beautiful, because they’re of a darker hue. Truth be told Psychology Today, if you did a little more research you would know that a darker hue is average. Only in Western cultures are those of a darker complexion considered a minority, but on average there are a great deal of people in the USA and around the world who have direct African descent within the last three generations and I will include Latin Americans as well, because they too are darker people who have African descendants.
Though many people may not be aware of it, it is the concept that dark skin is not average or normal that causes men and women in countries dominated by people of a darker hue to bleach their skin. Since the advancement of media has brought Western cultures standard of beauty to other countries there has been increase of eating disorders in countries such as Figi and India. Young girls want to look like the gorgeous young women on MTV.
This is beyond saddening; that young women who otherwise would be seen as beautiful feel like their not good enough. They manifest these concepts in the way they choose to display what they believe is beautiful. This runs so deep, but most choose to ignore it.
Take for example the dangerous methods of permanent hair straightening that black/ African American women engage in. They do his because straight hair, like the hair of most white women is more attractive. This culture of conking your hair has been so pervasive in black/ African American communities they even put these harmful chemicals in their children’s hair; children as young as 3 years old. Now that’s child abuse. Many will say their conk (perm) their hair, because its easier to manage than their natural “nappy” hair. I believe this is an unrealistic perception, but that’s my personal bias. Could it be that we; Black/African American women have embraced Western beauty standards so much we’ve neglected to recall how to manage our own hair in it’s natural form.
In several Asian countries there are women who bleach their skin to be seen as more attractive; dark skin is a sign that you’re poor and less attractive to male suitors. You will be seen as someone who works in the field.
Even in Jamaica; the land my mother was born in, there are far too many people who bleach their skin. Dancehall singer/performer Vybez Kartel is one who is getting a great deal of press in the US and Jamaica for bleaching his skin. He stated that, if you (society and the individual) can get black women and all women of color to stop perming their hair, wearing weave and color contacts, then maybe he would stop bleaching his skin. I can she his point, but regardless it is sad. Oh, and less I forget Sammy Sosa.
Most people don’t realize the damage they cause to themselves phsyically and psychologically white this self-loathing and internalization of Westernized beauty standards. The chemicals used in perming/conking products can lead to permanent hair loss, skin cancer, skin damage, and burning. Those who bleach their skin don’t seem to understand that bleaching your skin can lead to permanent skin damage, cancer, and it takes longer for people who continuously bleach their skin to heal when cut.
Unfortunately society has made more of an impact on an individuals way of thinking than most realize. People often aren’t aware of what it is they are saying or doing, they just neglectfully follow the standard. Can you blame them though? We as humans are social creatures and it is easy to get wrapped up in what the rest of the crowd is doing, especially when not buying into it makes you an out cast.
I just have to say, I personally find brown skin more appealing, but I’m brown and of African descent so again I’m bias.Also, nature find darker tones more attractive. In a lion kingdom the male with the darker mane is the alpha male. The darker mane shows that he hasn’t lost many fights, a lighter mane means he loses a lot of fights, hence the blonde or red mane just growing in. I always say, in real life Simba would have been killed and Scar would rule the pride, but it’s Disney, they pride themselves on inaccuracy.
Anyhow, I don’t think we should be making someone feel as though they are less attractive, because of their skin tone or beautiful in spite of their skin tone.
There are one too many who find it to be a compliment to tell a woman of a darker skin tone that she is, “Pretty for a dark skin girl”, which is often followed by a series of questioning if she is mixed with another race that would someone negate his/her dark skin and makes them seem more attractive. A friend of mine is often asked if she is mixed with Indian or Native American since she is dark skin and has an extremely striking beauty. This is insulting. She’s from Nigera, both her parents are dark skin. News flash, black people (especially black women) are attractive too.
A person isn’t beautiful in spite of, they’re just beautiful. If your narrow mind cannot find a way to give a compliment without it being backhanded then feel free to shut the hell up.
Darker than average is an insulting combination of words. It implies that anyone darker or as dark as Penelope Cruz; according to Psychology Today, is less than average. Get it together people.