Every time I see a photo of Anna Paquin (which, due to the massive popularity of “True Blood,” happens about every 30 seconds), I am thankful for that gap in her teeth. She is a conventionally beautiful woman, yes, but that little “imperfection” sets her apart from the sea of similar faces gracing magazine covers today. As I’ve mentioned before, society’s definition of beauty is so narrow and boring. The features that fall outside of that definition are usually labeled flaws, when in fact, like Anna Paquin’s smile, they set each of us apart and should be celebrated. I’ve noticed that the things that got us teased in elementary school–whether it be our height, weight, frizzy hair, scars, freckles, or less-than-dainty ankles–often become our favorite features in adulthood. We grow up and realize that these are the things make us who we are. So tell us: what’s your favorite “imperfection”? What “flaws” do you admire in yourself and others? Keep reading »
When legendary sex symbol Bo Derek appeared on Oprah a few months ago, Oprah kept pressing her to tell the world something profound about being a beautiful woman, and Bo kept brushing off the questions, saying, “It’s just about the way the bones line up.” That felt pretty profound to me. In our culture, the standard of beauty is narrow, and every day we face countless reminders of the ways we fall short. When it comes down it, though, our society’s definition of beauty is simple and unromantic: it’s high cheekbones and a button nose and long legs and a small waist and so on and so on. We can only congratulate or punish ourselves so many times for the way our bones line up. Here are 50 vastly different definitions of beauty that I know to be true… Keep reading »
Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey discussed beauty rituals and standards around the world on her talk show. I had no idea Iran was the “nose job capital of the world,” but I was really shocked that Mauritanian women don’t want to be thin. Plump is sexy for women there, but men are expected to be thin. Thick ankles, chubby arms, and a big butt are considered the most beautiful parts of a woman in this West African nation. Men even like stretch marks! Thin women are thought of as being sickly. But don’t move to Mauritania just yet because this beauty ideal has its own flaws. Keep reading »
A single mother living in London traveled to Panama for an operation that would turn her dark brown eyes light blue and almost blind her. Shenise Farrell saw an article on the internet about the £5,000 (about $8,098) operation, and raided her savings to fly to Central America. Farrell said she wasn’t worried because she’d already had breast augmentation surgery done in Bulgaria and was very happy with those results. Keep reading »
Last week, Tyra Banks said she’s trying to expand the idea of what the fashion industry considers beautiful. According to her, black models with lighter skin are deemed more commercial, whereas darker-skinnned black models are considered more high fashion. We’ve noticed this phenomenon holds true when a woman’s “hotness” is being judged, too. Keep reading »
L’Oreal Paris’ latest Feria ad, featuring spokesperson Beyonce, has been getting some unintended attention in the last couple of days because the company has been accused of digitally lightening the entertainer’s skin and editing her nose to appear pointier. Though L’Oreal denies the accusations, the difference between the ad and the real Beyonce is striking. L’Oreal’s deal with Beyonce in 2006 was part of a growing trend to include black women in ads for beauty products that were traditionally marketed solely to white women. And black women took notice because Beyonce is one of the biggest entertainers of our time. Although she in no way represents a majority of black women, we were excited to see someone that resembled us and to have products, like hair dye, that would work with our hair texture.
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