This all brings me to the main point I wanted to write about. Why is it that we expect Black people, who have never been to Africa and have been out of Africa for generations to have a preference for African fashions and beauty? African fashion is foreign to me. The African women I know didn't even wear traditional clothes and they wore Western clothing the way I did! My parents and grandparents are from the Caribbean and they never showed me traditional clothes. The closest thing to traditional would be Caribana costumes but those are basically showgirl costumes so not something anyone would wear in their everyday lives. So do we expect that Black people around the world have some genetic preference for clothing? I think it's really unfair to expect that.
Now this brings me to my second point and this is the difficult one. Why are Black people who have never been to Africa and have been out of Africa for generations supposed to have a preference for African facial features? Again, are people expecting that Black people have a genetic preference for certain features? I think that there are some preferences, like the ones that I mentioned in my post about the Black standard of beauty, that may be widespread because they indicate health and youth. But we must also recognize that a lot of what we think is beautiful is based on what we see and what we are told is beautiful meaning that a lot of our preferences are socialized. So if a Black girl grows up around very few Black women and mostly sees White and Asian women in real life, and mainly White women on television why do we expect her to have a preference for traditional African features? Especially given that the Black women on television tend to be biracial (and in my case family members and friends with medium skin tones).Why would we try to live up to a standard of beauty from a place we don't live especially if its very different from the standard of the people we actually live around? A Black Canadian woman may be considered gorgeous in Kenya but that is irrelevant if she's considered unattractive in Canada where she lives.
What are African facial features anyway? I keep reading people saying that the Black actresses the media calls beautiful have European features. Other than them having lighter skin sometimes I don't think many of them look White at all if you compare them to the average White woman. Here's an example:
I mean when you look at Sanaa Lathan do you actually think her features "look White" compared to Christy Brinkly's? All of the Black women who people rate as beautiful do not have pencil thin noses and neither do many White women! I do not think Sanaa looks White and she is successful in Hollywood. What Black features does she not have? Also remember a lot of Black women like myself have the same skin tone as Sanaa. Is there some African face/jaw shape that Sanaa is supposed to have or is having an oval face a White thing? Let's try again:
Now looking at Halle Berry and Paris Hilton are you seriously trying to tell me that they look alike? No Halle's nose is not the widest I have ever seen by it is nowhere near as pinched as Paris' and her nose is very common and there are some White women who have fuller lips. You know what, a lot of the White women I find attractive actually have broader noses...hmm maybe they actually have more Black features??? I actually think Black men probably have a thing for Elisha Cuthbert, Britney Spears, and Pink below but that's just my theory ;) Seriously, all three women look like Black women painted White to me and Britney and Pink are not lacking in "thickness" either. Why is it only the so-called White features credited for women's beauty? I think White women with more so-called Black features are actually very attractive and plenty of them are getting tanned, lip injections, and nose jobs that make their features "less White". These women are considered to be highly attractive but they shouldn't be since their noses are not very narrow and pointy and they don't have thin lips like other White women.
It just seems to me that people don't prefer the extremes and consider more "average" features to be attractive. In other words, skin not too light or dark, nose not too wide or thin, lips not to thick or thin, and body not too fat or thin. Although many biracial women have these features some don't, and many Black and White women have similar features. I mean I haven't kept up with the current models today but are there any really popular White models who have Barbara Streisand noses and non-existent lips? White people don't even find very so-called White features to be the most attractive.
Now don't even try to bring up Alek Wek, India Arie, or Whoopie Goldberg and say that they have African features because I have seen many photos of African women and models with the same skin tone who look nothing like them and have thinner noses than anyone I've posted here. There is so much variety so how can there be an African standard to accept? You know all of this talking about facial features makes me uncomfortable so I put off doing this post. It just reminds me of those racist experiments that were done where White scientists measured people's facial features so they could use them to objectively tell who was White or Black and use that to discriminate. It's a slippery slope if Black people start insisting that only Black women with skin of a certain shade, nose of a certain width, and lips or a certain size are beautiful and can be employed on television or as models. Isn't that the same kind of thing that started wars? It's like White people stopped rating us based on skin tone and facial features and Black people want to start doing it again!
I'm going to end this post by saying that I will not automatically prefer African fashion over styles that I like if they are very different from Western styles. I like sarees but like I said, I won't start wearing them because they are too different from Western fashions. There is nothing wrong with admiring other cultures and being inspired by them, it's called being open to new things. Also, when I choose beauty role models I will choose those who have many or a few features that are similar to mine (e.g., Kelly Rowland as my make-up icon). I will have many hair role models, some with a similar skin tone, some with a similar body shape, and some with similar facial features and I will benefit from looking at all of them. That is the only option that makes sense to me. Last of all, everyone has preferences and you can like whatever you want and so will I. I didn't make society the way it is and I did not make you the way you are, I just point out what I notice so don't shoot the messenger!
Furthermore, this isn't a Black Women's Empowerment blog because that is the name of a blog group and I'm not a member. I do read a couple of their blogs but I don't know their underlying philosophy and I don't read the blogs of the group founders. Anyways, they automatically assumed that I use this blog to uplift White men or something. Also they labeled me an elitist who puts down Black women when that is the exact opposite of what I try to do with this blog! It's about my studies to become more feminine and how I'm struggling with that as a Black woman. If others find it helpful that's just a bonus and something nice I can do for someone else. But because they don't like the other BWE blogs they lumped me in with them...so are they seriously going to reject any blog that is about empowering Black women before even reading it? I guess they can shut their minds if they want to. Self-improvement isn't for everyone and maybe they are completely happy with themselves and their lives.