Black Womens Beauty: The Miss France “Situation” is taking it overboard
All the publicity around Miss France and the backlash she has received has got me thinking. Enough is enough. It took me back to a time before my early twenties, when I too based my own conceptions of beauty on the latest Barbie doll and the girls I saw on tv with their flowing hair and fair skin. And it got me angry. We live in a time when the media is ubiquitous, the lives of the rich and famous are on permanent display, and the thigh gap has become beauty’s newest yardstick. Imagine the pressure our young girls are under.
Further, imagine the pressure our young black girls are under. Because face it: while it is hard to be a woman, it is even harder to be a black woman. And while we all face these unrealistic pressures as women, articles like this one can shed some light on the fact that black girls who become black woman have an even heavier load to bear. I grew up watching Lizzie McGuire and Boy Meets World. The “hottest” girls in school were the blondest. And even though you told me I was “the most beautiful black/dark skinned/brown girl you’d ever seen,” I still knew that you secretly meant that I am just “pretty for a black girl.” And it may be hard for others to imagine, but this becomes a difficult pill to swallow as you try to navigate self-confidence through your teens.
Now I will admit: I was lucky. Certainly luckier than many. I grew up in a Christian two parent home, I was constantly reinforced by a strong community of family friends and extended family, and I was taught to root my self esteem and sense of self in things besides the way I looked. I was pushed to excel academically, chase my dreams and to put God first. I will never forget the day my father sat me down and said, “A time is coming when boys will approach you. Never forget that you are a blessing, spending time with you is a privilege, and any man would be lucky to hold a conversation with you. You deserve the best.” I was lucky to hear this from the first man in my life: my father. But what about other girls who looked like me but didn’t have this type of reinforcement? And even though I was so fortunate, there were still times when the lack of faces like mine, hair like mine, and skin like mine was as haunting an absence as any imaginable.
So now, with the outrage surrounding the victory of Miss France I must stand and say: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I was brainstorming what I could do, and I decided to start small and see if it will go viral. I will be curating a Pinterest Board called “The Skin I’m In” where you can find beauty inspiration from dark skinned woman. Underrepresented women. Women like me who are beautiful and strong with full lips, “black noses,” and beautifully dark skin. This board will be a celebration of all that is beautiful and unique about black women. Each week I will feature one of these women, and recreate her hair and makeup in a tutorial. I am so excited to start because this gets to the heart of why I started this blog in the first place: to empower women who are different, to put them at the forefront and in the spotlight.
Feel free to submit suggestions if you want! I can’t wait to see where this goes. It truly is a work of love. Hopefully one day I can point to this project, and others that will come from it, and tell my daughters that I did something to make the world a more loving place for them before they got here.
I recently did a Christmas makeup tutorial inspired by Jourdan Dunn, who recently spoke out about the racism she has encountered in the modeling industry.