Beauty Standards For Black Women

839 WordsMar 30, 20174 Pages
It does not come as a surprise that women, in large, are dissatisfied with their bodies. This widespread body dissatisfaction amongst women was coined “normative discontent” (Rodin, Silberstein, & Streigel-Moore, 1984). Although body dissatisfaction seemingly plagues women as a whole, there are several factors that can either serve as a protective factor or a risk factor for the development of body dissatisfaction. Much of the research regarding this normative discontent excludes culturally relevant factors for African American (Black) women. Looking specifically at African American women, the factors that affect body image and body dissatisfaction greatly differ from those that affect non-minority White women. Skin tone or complexion,…show more content…
Participants in the study reported feelings of inadequacy in comparison to their lighter skinned counterparts in everything from school competitions to mate selection. These feelings of inadequacy remained prevalent from childhood through adulthood. Media also plays a key role in how the skin tone bias is perpetuated. Rap and Hip-Hop music videos often portray lighter skinned women as the love interest of the main character or the woman the male finds sexually desirable (Wallace, Townsend, Glasgow, & Ojie, 2011). Movies and television programs targeted towards African Americans may also have a light skinned woman as the successful, attractive character with a juxtaposing character who is darker, loud, obnoxious, and often fits into the “sassy sidekick” trope. A popular Black situational comedy in the 1990s, Martin, was a prime example of this (Walter et al., 1992). The main character’s girlfriend Gina, was a successful, beautiful lighter skinned woman and her best friend, Pam, was dark skinned and often the recipient of Martin’s jokes about her appearance. Exposure to these repeated stereotypes for Black women only furthers the notion that light skin is somehow superior to dark skin. This could mean that for African American women, having darker skin is a risk factor for developing body dissatisfaction. References Ashley, R. R., & Jung, J. (2017). #BlackBodiesMatter: Cross-cultural examination of Black women’s motivation to engage in body
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