Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is Ethnic Beauty The New "It" Factor?

Gorgeous and exotic: Actress Zoe Saldana, who is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent (and was born in New Jersey, woot woot!).
From CNN:

"Women who desire a more "exotic" appearance are looking to the fashion world's growing multi-culturalism for inspiration.
 
There was a time when the Caucasian girl-next-door looks of Christie Brinkley, Cindy Crawford and more recently Kate Moss dominated the fashion pages. Then came new fashion icons: Naomi Campbell, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce - and then Giselle, Kim Kardashian and Shakira.

More voluptuous figures, fuller lips and darker skin, features traditionally associated with women of African, Latin and Asian cultures, are "in." Over the past decade, an appreciation for ethnic beauty has been on the rise, and these natural features are becoming popular among Caucasian women who desire to look more "exotic."

Dr. Nancy Etcoff, a Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital psychologist who studies the science behind the brain and beauty, believes that the shift in our perception of beauty is a sign of the times.



 "Slumdog Millionaire" actress Freida Pinto of Indian descent, caught worldwide attention for her beauty.


"Our standards of beauty are changing and ethnic women are at the forefront today," she said. "It emulates our growing sense of cultural awareness." 

Etcoff, who also authored "Survival of the Prettiest," adds: "If you study plastic surgery textbooks, the notions of an ideal feature have changed. In the 50s, the ideal look featured thinner lips, upturned noses, smaller eyes, and paler makeup," Etcoff said. "Now you see broader noses, darker skin, and larger eyelids. All these attributes suggest shifts in demographics and an appeal to a more multicultural look instead of an overly Caucasian appearance."

 To read the rest of the story, click here

As a woman who falls into the "ethnic" category, I suppose I should be happy about this. But actually, it irks me. The story is written as if the entire world just noticed that beautiful women come in all different packages. When in fact, it's more like a segment of the fashion/beauty industry started realizing they can make bigger bucks off selling cosmetics, clothes and accessories to a wider market by targeting "ethnic" women.

African American R&B phenom Beyonce Knowles is the definition of "bootylicious". Well, she should be. She invented the word, lol.


Okay, so that's harsh. But when it comes down to it, business is about money. And while it's nice to see more models of diversity out there, I still have to give an eyeroll to these companies that push appearance over substance. So let's say you're freckle- faced, blonde, straight haired Becky. You want to be "It" in this game of fashion tag, so you schlep over to CVS, buy self tanner, lip gloss to plump your lips, bronzer, a box of curly perm to give your hair more texture and top it off with a stop by Wal-Mart to buy one of those padded butt-bra underwear. Put it all together and what do you get? Lindsay Lohan sans the booze??? Well, not quite, but you do get a girl who's buying into the notion that there's something wrong with how she looks.
I'm not against make-up or hair dye. Far from it. I put on some eyeliner and lipstick before I headed to work this morning. Well, the lipstick I put on in the car, but that's okay because K was driving. Anyway, it's nice to enhance your looks. But when a girl is stuck on obliterating it- whether it be through a White girl getting fish lips via restalyne injections or a Black girl bleaching her skin white- I just feel a sense of loss. There is beauty in this giant garden of Earth. We aren't all meant to be roses or orchids.

5 comments:

Alan said...

White people want to be darker, Black people want to be lighter, is there no end? I used to work with a girl (who happened to be white) who was an avid tanner. Everyday she was talking about getting out on time to goto the tanning salon. One day I mentioned to her that she might get skin cancer doing all this tanning, and she then surprised me and said that she already had a bought with it 2 years prior, but still gets her tan done daily??!!!

Why are we so obsessed with our looks that something as deadly as skin cancer is an acceptable risk for what some believe is beauty?

Alisha De Freitas said...

"...she already had a bought with it 2 years prior, but still gets her tan done daily??!!! "

YIKES. :-(

Don said...

Good point at your raising the question of whether it's merely a plot to target more consumers and therefore rake in extra millions. I don't think it was harsh, at all. I mean, it's not like these women and their natural features became attractive all of a sudden. The Illuminati, I tell you, always finding a way to cement the power. Okay, that was a joke. Lol. Zoe is a very beautiful woman, I agree. Also, I watched Slumdog Millionaire for the first time and it turned out to be a pretty good film. Very entertaining. I still laugh thinking about when little Malik Jamal fell into the outdoor toilet all in the name of meeting the famous personality. Then, after the signature, he raises the signature in the air and yells.

Hilarious.

Alisha De Freitas said...

I liked "Slumdog Millionaire" a lot. It really made me smile. :-)

"The Illuminati, I tell you, always finding a way to cement the power."

It IS THEM, I TELL YOU!!!! *sideeye*

"I mean, it's not like these women and their natural features became attractive all of a sudden."

DING, DING, DING! Give this man a prize!

Don said...

hahahahahaha @ It IS THEM, I TELL YOU!!!! *sideeye*

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