Last month, there was a huge controversy about Mac Cosmetics, a makeup brand, post on their Instagram page that showed a picture of a Black model’s lips. Many racist trolls came on the page and called the Black model all kinds of racially charged names. Some of these trolls even went as far as to say that Black women aren’t as pretty as White women. Hence the erroneous notion that White beauty is much more worthy of notoriety and appraisal than Black beauty was what was behind the disparaging comments towards the Black model in the picture on Mac Cosmetics Instagram page.
Here are the pictures and screenshots from the web that I have about the incident:
Here is the picture of the Black model that started it all. From looking at this screenshot, you can see that there were some trolls that were against the racism in comment sections. However, the backlash against the model signified that there are many people out there who believe that big lips are only beautiful on White women. After all, White beauty is and will always be the parameter of beauty measured in society much to the disadvantage of other types of beauty.
This whole scenario showed how traits such as big lips are only seen as beautiful on White women because it reinforces the belief that only White is beautiful. Black women have had big lips for centuries yet it was made fun of on them. But White women who have big lips like Angelina Jolie are praised for having such features though. Now reality TV star and half sister of Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner is being praised in the media for having big lips. It is ironic considering the fact that Kylie Jenner admitted to having ”temporary fillers” on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians to achieve her full pout while Black women with natural fulls are ridiculed. Worst of all, Black women are supposed to look as European as possible to be seen as beautiful. Hence this continues to uphold unrealistic White supremacist beauty standards that laud non Black women as innovators of style, fashion and beauty.
Actress, Angelina Jolie
Reality TV star, Kylie Jenner
Ironically, Black women have to look like this to be seen as beautiful:
Singer and actress, Beyonce Knowles signifies the ideal to which Black women are held when it comes to ”Black beauty”, which is really White beauty if you ask me. She has a cafe au lait complexion, Eurocentric features, long, straight, blond hair and can pass for a multiple of different races. Beyonce is a beautiful woman but her look is aligned to what society believes is beautiful. Her looks is closer to that of a White woman than that of a Black woman thus the reason why society lauds her as the symbol of Black beauty.
Why are White and other non Black women being praised for features that many Black women have naturally?
Many White and non Black women have coveted the features many Black women naturally have for centuries. It is not to say all White and other non Black women don’t have darker skin, big lips etc. There are some White and non Black women with bigger lips and curvier figures but bigger lips and curvier figures are more commonly found in Black women than non Black women. However, the beauty standards of this society is slowly changing as more swarthy featured women such as Kim Kardashian are being praised for their darker looks and curvier figures. Many non Black women want to emulate the figure and coloring Kim Kardashian has because it is seen as trendy and ”in style”. There have been skyrocketing rates of women getting butt injections to achieve the butt that Kim Kardashian has. To them, having such features adds to their beauty and makes them look exotic. Yet Black women who naturally have butts and curvier figures aren’t praised to the same effect that the Kim Kardashians of the world are.
The reason why Kim Kardashian and other non Black women, who have features that are more commonly found in Black women, being praised for having these features is due to White supremacist beauty standards. White supremacy will praise any feature that is on a non Black women because non Black women fit their idea of beauty and virtue in a woman. A non Black woman’s beauty will always be upheld and put up as the ideal. A Black woman’s beauty is always denigrated and not seen as acceptable. That is why White women who wear box braids are seen as exotic or inventive while a Black woman who wears box braids are seen as ghetto. White supremacy will always play a role in placating the beauty of a woman based on her proximity to beauty standards when it comes to her features, hair texture and skin color. Worst of all, Black women’s phenotype isn’t seen as the ideal of beauty.
Ultimately, I believe that the whole controversy with Mac Cosmestics signifies society’s aversion to acknowledging and placating the beauty of the Black woman. Hence I believe it is time that more Black women break into the beauty and fashion industry and start hiring Black models to show cast a wide range of Black beauty. Bringing together a Black woman owned fashion show wouldn’t necessarily stop White supremacy from denigrating Black beauty but will help placate Black woman’s beauty in a world that doesn’t recognize it.