Wednesday, July 30, 2008

YourBlackWoman: Changing Perceptions of Beauty

By Chiderah A. Monde

Why is it that both Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry are widely considered beautiful women, no matter what race you are, no matter what gender?

With a constantly changing world, comes a constantly changing perception of beauty. Over the years society has changed its description of what is considered the physically “ideal” or “perfect” woman. No longer does the blond bombshell grace the covers of every magazine, nor does the deathly skinny frame or pale skin.

The 21st century demanded a change, for it’s “ideal” woman, and now she has curves, dark hair, and most importantly- darker skin.

Society’s perfect woman is not necessarily Black, although everyone agrees that Beyonce, Halle Berry, Alicia Keys and Janet Jackson top a lot of lists. But darker skin is definitely in- whether it is tanned white women, foreign femmes, or mixed beauties, women like Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie, Aishwarya Rai, Adrianna Lima and Jessica Biel have taken the place of the blond bombshell era.

There’s no question about curves being in demand too. Beyonce is the epitome of the ideal curves for a Black woman, so is Alicia Keys, and quite frankly- so is Kim Kardashian. Men agree that body and curves are sexier, and women feel more comfortable with their bodies being similar shapes to celebrity women.

The interesting thing about the changing perception of beauty is how we can all agree that these women and physical features are considered acceptable. Psychologists argue that an individual’s perception of what is considered attractive is dependent on the person’s parents. That is, we base what is beautiful on what our mothers look like, what our fathers think, and what they both teach us to be beautiful. On the other scholarly hand, some consider attraction to be dependent on symmetry. That is, anything that is symmetrical is aesthetically pleasing. Once something seems out of line, out of sync, or asymmetrical, it is not attractive.

I don’t know how I feel about all of that.

Whether it’s psychology or symmetry that determines what is beautiful, it is all amplified by society and by media. Everything we buy, wear, eat and do is reflection of what some part of society has suggested we should. And “should” is an iffy word…

Nevertheless, we might be moving in an optimistic direction. If curves, dark hair and dark skin is currently in, society is setting an example for accepting a variety of body types. With things like Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and Maxim’s 2008 Hot 100, the days of having only one perfect woman are long gone.

1 comment: said...

Hey there!

Janet looks fantastic at 42! Halle looks fantastic at 42!

I will give these ladies their PROPS!! They are representing well!!