Beauty as Whiteness: From a White Girl’s Perspective

I had a vision last night: of a high fashion show with models of color standing with the models of white as friends. Many dark skin models standing together with light-skinned models. African features, Asian features, Hispanic features, all standing as one. I mean, look at this picture:

dove-real-beauty-campaign

But the current system of beauty will not let that happen. As it currently stands, whiteness is beauty, while other races’s features are ugly. I am going to use racism as a starting point to show the flaws of the beauty dictatorship.

My eyes were opened by an article in Everyday Feminism about how whiteness is still the measure of beauty in our age, and it got me thinking: Why does this racist attitude persist? I mean, look at Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis, and Frieda Pinto! To equate beauty with whiteness is to leave those beauties out in the cold. There are so many more examples of dark-skinned people that it drives me nuts when I hear about people trying to look white. And it still exists: take a look at this ad for skin brightener/whitener:

SkinLightenerAd

There are women who use this sort of thing all around the world. Jessica Simpson’s beauty miniseries even tracked the story of someone who ruined her skin from these skin brighteners. It appalls me that people are

It goes even further from there. I once came through a shop where the owners were Hispanic, and all I saw in the dolls were blondes. They looked nothing like the beautiful women who I noticed were Hispanic – even though they come in all colors and sizes – and it bugged me. It bugged me because it had gotten to a point where the Hispanics were exercising racism upon themselves – that they were hating themselves and making themselves less in their own eyes. The message is clear: only love yourself if you are white.

It even bothers me that people of color are lightened in advertising even to this day. Yes, I have seen this, too. Take a look at this redesign for Disney Princess Jasmine from Aladdin. On the left is Jasmine in the movie, and on the right is Jasmine in the movie, and on the right is how Jasmine looks in the Disney Princesses merchandise:

JasmineWhitening

Don’t think that real people are left out of this. Take a look at Beyonce’s L’Oreal ad:

beyonce-loreal

I wonder if Tiana from the Princess and the Frog gets similar treatment? It sickens me to no end that anyone is left out of acceptance for who they are. This is especially true for those with darker skin – also, it is true with those who undergo surgery to look beautiful.

I’m not leaving out the Asian eyelid surgery girls. The fact that they undergo surgery to look more “beautiful,” which I have established, means more white, is outrageous. I mean, you could die or go blind on the table! I first heard of this on the Oprah show, when Lisa Ling talked about it as a normal thing among Asian girls. As I said before, the message from the beauty industry is: you are ugly.

As a white woman, maybe I’m supposed to find this all flattering, but I don’t. This troubles me, as a matter of fact. It redefines beauty as reflecting those in power, and I cannot see myself as an evil emperor, especially since I am locked out of the beauty dictatorship by way of size.

The truth is, I find that all people are beautiful, even the ones who are dark skinned, who have Asian eyelids, who have curly hair, and who have bigger sizes. The beauty dictatorship is terrible, and it must be overthrown, to make way for a beauty democracy.

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