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 »
“Sesame Street” has aired a new song, “I Love My Hair,” aimed at young black girls to teach them to value and love their natural hair. The character dances and sings in every little girl hairstyle imaginable, from a small Afro to ponytails to cornrows to twists. This is an important lesson for black girls to learn because even if they come from a household where natural hair is celebrated, like I did, they will no doubt get the “lesson” from the outside world that straight and silky is better. Keep reading »
Take a close look at this picture from J.Crew’s website. Notice anything strange? Like, oh, the hairy-as-hell legs the model is sporting? We’re thinking the explanation could be:
A) J.Crew is finding its inner feminist (unlikely).
B) Some disgruntled graphic designer decided to play a prank on the company.
C) Somebody had a really dull razor the day of the shoot. [Dlisted] Keep reading »
On Monday, a media industry blog revealed that Essence, a lifestyle magazine geared towards black women, had hired a new fashion director named Ellianna Placas, to begin in September. But it was not the lines on her resume touting O: The Oprah Magazine and Us Weekly that attracted attention. It was the color of Placas’ skin: white.
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I’ve waxed my eyebrows. I’ve waxed my upper lip. But when it came to waxing my ladyparts, I passed. I checked out. I just chose to be a noncombatant. I removed excess hair on my eyebrows and on my upper lip because it embarrassed me. But did it make sense to be embarrassed — nay, to form an opinion at all — about a part of my body seen by no one but me? No, I decided, it didn’t. In fact, a woman’s vagina is so personal and so private that I thought it would be pretty un-feminist to feel shame that it didn’t look quote, unquote “pretty.” (And yes, I’ve seen Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues,” like, eight times.) Besides, who would want to let an aesthetician down there with her tongue depressor dipped in hot wax? Surely someone of heartier stock than I.
Then I had my first bikini wax at age 26 and surprised myself by liking it. Keep reading »
Breaking news: something disappointing is getting even more disappointing. We’ve always been unimpressed with Jessica Simpson‘s show, “The Price of Beauty,” in which she and her best friends, Ken Paves and Cacee Cobb, travel around the world to discover what “beauty” means in other cultures.
But scratch that idea. Now it could become a makeover show. 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 »
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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