Women judge other women harsher than men ever do. Most will never admit it publicly. We profess an interest in expanding beauty standards but limit our acceptance of its many manifestations. Women of all races are uniquely beautiful with different features, shapes, hair textures and intellect. Self validation is the most important characteristic for genuine authenticity but many women still cling to outdated beauty definitions. Let’s review a few contradictory views on the subject.
At one time, plus sized models were somewhat invalidated but we are now embracing the full-figured woman as a super model. Dove’s Beauty Bar campaign, featuring real, authentic women, did a lot to further ignite this change. Bravo Dove! There is still public debate amongst women, however, related to acknowledging the beauty of the full figured women versus promoting obesity as beautiful without also pointing out the legitimate heath concerns associated with this condition. Both observations are valid but some women resist the inclination to seek out common ground without accusations. Our beauty standards can include being both BODACIOUS in stature and one being healthy.
Woman of color are publicly embracing their beauty in its wide range of skin textures and tones. Cosmetic companies have witnessed this sea change and aggressively expanded their color pallets to accommodate these beauties. It also makes great business sense to do so (lots mo money honey). Yet the usage of skin bleaching products globally tells a different story about how women of color really feel. No one likes an uneven skin tone due to acne scars, hyperpigmentation, rosacea etc. but to bleach one’s entire completion reveals much more about self. Skin bleaching is a world wide, cultural phenomenon.
Many celebrities, authors and bloggers (myself included aka pretty for a black girl) tell stories of darker hued girls and women feeling less attractive than their lighter complexion sisters. While these lighter hued beauties share stories of being mistreated as well. Each group has their experiences with the other, sometimes fraught with misunderstandings, strife and competition. Sisterhood is broken before it even has a chance to form. The conflict is much deeper and primal. It is really quite disturbing to realize that we still are unable to see or appreciate the beauty in them all.
For the sake of discussion, maybe women, as a collective, should form a coalition to REBRAND BEAUTY STANDARDS to be all encompassing, rejecting past restrictions on what it should look like (not male influenced). Let’s first start by placing the value on divine womanhood and reject the idea that only the young can be beautiful. Reviewing how we perceive “aging into beauty” might be the catalyst to help shatter past mental hang ups and prejudices. We will still have cultural preferences but the beauty of mature, divine womanhood cannot be limited to just exterior features. This type of woman is far more than her appearance. Her internal beauty is by far richer (more precious than gold cliche) because it is not lost even as she ages. Youthful beauty is powerful but it will fade in time leaving its owner lost especially if nothing else has been cultivated from within. If we can embrace the mature woman’s beauty (gray hair, smile lines, wisdom, loving spirit, laugh, intellect etc.), all other narratives might just dissolve organically. Ladies, we get to control the beauty narrative going forward. Imagine that…..