By Chinwe A. Onuoha
During the 1970’s it was rare to see African American women in advertisements because they did not represent the conventional standards of American beauty and not much has changed since then. Most of the women who are chosen to be on the covers of magazines are white and this has left the impression that having European features such as porcelain skin, blue eyes, straight and silky hair are better than individuals who don’t. This has also created a platform for advertisers to express bias ideologies of what they believe beauty is.
Although the media continues to push their own interpretations of what beautiful women look like in magazines and advertisements, they should know that they are not leaving any room for people to embrace who they are naturally. They have allowed the racial complexities that existed during the times of slavery to trickle into the media today and unless people take the time to talk about this issue aggressively, it may be difficult to change things around.
Below is a link to help start a conversation on this issue:
“Dark Girls” is a documentary on African American women who are dark skinned and people’s perception of them.
Kathy Russell, Midge Wilson, and Ronald Hall, The Color Complex: The Politics of Skin Color In A New Millennium
(New York, Anchor, 2013), 34, 37.
Margaret L Hunter, Race Gender and the Politics of Skin Tone
(Routledge, New York), 2,9
Leonard Steinhorn and Barbara Diggs-Brown, By the Color of Our Skin: The Illusion of Integration and the Reality of Race
(New York), 23.
Tamar Jacoby, Someone Else’s House: America’s Unfinished Struggle for Integration
(Basic Books, 1998), 3.