GOLDEN GODDESS | Mari Agory | Idol Magazine
Photos: Lindsay Adler
Styling: LSC Styling
GOLDEN GODDESS | Mari Agory | Idol Magazine
Photos: Lindsay Adler
Styling: LSC Styling
Red Flower by Jamea Richmond Edwards
Black Women speak out on why they like wearing weaves, relaxing, straightening etc.
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DIARY 1 of the Dreads!
So 2 weeks ago, I decided to begin the path of dreads.
I am two strand twisting these buggas and so far its goin swell. I have to retwist them constantly so they don’t look a hot mess.
And I’m using:
It might be better to use honey wax but either way, they’re doing their thing.
Update next week on the hair process.
Wish me luck.
Happy weekend folks.
Kinky, nappy, or silken flow? Afros and weaves vs. “white people hair.” What is our obsession with “good hair” and how does it effect our perceptions of what is considered attractive? Ryan Hall hits the streets of New York to find out. Watch more StereoTypes here:http://bit.ly/stereotypes_show
from Al Jazeera Africa:
South Africa is marketed to the world as Mandela’s rainbow nation, where everyone is proud of their race and heritage. But for some black South Africans there is such a thing as being too black.
A recent study by the University of Cape Town suggests that one woman in three in South Africa bleaches her skin. The reasons for this are as varied as the cultures in this country but most people say they use skin-lighteners because they want “white skin”.
Local musician Nomasonto “Mshoza” Mnisi, now several shades lighter, says her new skin makes her feel more beautiful and confident.
She has been widely criticised in the local media and social networking sites for her appearance but the 30-year-old says skin-bleaching is a personal choice, no different from breast implants or a having nose job.Continue reading the main story
Nomasonto Mnisi: Before & After
“Start QuoteNomasonto MnisiMusician
Part of it is a self-esteem issue and I have addressed that and I am happy now”
"I’ve been black and dark-skinned for many years, I wanted to see the other side. I wanted to see what it would be like to be white and I’m happy," she says candidly.
Over the past couple of years Ms Mnisi has had several treatments. Each session can cost around 5,000 rand (£360; $590), she tells the BBC.
Unlike many in the country, she uses high-end products which are believed to be safer than the creams sold on the black market but they are by no means risk-free, doctors say.
Ms Mnisi says she does not understand the criticism about her new appearance.
"Yes, part of it is a self-esteem issue and I have addressed that and I am happy now. I’m not white inside, I’m not really fluent in English, I have black kids. I’m a township girl, I’ve just changed the way I look on the outside," she says.
The dangers associated with the use of some of these creams include blood cancers such as leukaemia and cancers of the liver and kidneys, as well as a severe skin condition called ochronosis, a form of hyper-pigmentation which causes the skin to turn a dark purple shade, according to senior researcher at the University of Cape Town, Dr Lester Davids.
"Very few people in South Africa and Africa know the concentration of the toxic compounds that are contained in the products on the black market and that is concerning. We need to do more to educate people about these dangerous products," says Dr Davids.
He says over the past six years there has been a significant increase in the number of skin lighteners flooding local markets, some of them legal and some illegal. This is what prompted their research.
Local dermatologists say they are seeing more and more patients whose skin has been damaged by years of bleaching - most of the time irreversibly.
"I’m getting patients from all over Africa needing help with treating their ochronosis. There is very little we can do to reverse the damage and yet people are still in denial about the side-effects of these products," says Dr Noora Moti-Joosub.
In many parts of Africa and Asia, lighter-skinned woman are considered more beautiful, are believed to be more successful and more likely to find marriage.
The origin of this belief in Africa is not clear, but researchers have linked it to Africa’s colonial history where white skin was the epitome of beauty.
Some have also suggested that people from “brown nations” around the world tended to look down upon dark-skinned people.
'I don't like black skin'
The World Health Organization has reported that Nigerians are the highest users of such products: 77% of Nigerian women use the products on a regular basis. They are followed by Togo with 59%; South Africa with 35%; and Mali at 25%.
South Africa banned products containing more than 2% of hydroquinone - the most common active ingredient in in the 1980s. But it is easy to see creams and lotions containing the chemical on the stalls here. Some creams contain harmful steroids and others mercury.
While skin-lightening creams have been used by some South Africans for many years, they have become more common recently with the influx of people from countries such as Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo, where they are even more widespread.
In a bustling African market in the centre of Yeoville in Johannesburg, it is skin lighteners galore.
Walking through this community is like walking through a mini-Africa: you can find someone from any part of the continent here.
I notice that many of the women have uncharacteristically light skin faces while the rest of their bodies are darker.
Some even have scabby burns on their cheeks from the harmful chemicals used to strip the skin of pigmentation.
They don’t want to speak openly about why they bleach their skin, or even have their pictures taken.
Psychologists say there are also underlying reasons why people bleach their skin - but low self-esteem and, to some degree self-hate, are a common thread.
But skin-lightening is not just a fascination and obsession of women. Congolese hair stylist Jackson Marcelle says he has been using special injections to bleach his skin for the past 10 years. Each injection lasts for six months.
"I pray every day and I ask God, ‘God why did you make me black?’ I don’t like being black. I don’t like black skin," he tells me.
Mr Marcelle - known in this busy community as Africa’s Michael Jackson - says his mother used to apply creams on him when he was young in order to make him appear “less black”.
"I like white people. Black people are seen as dangerous; that’s why I don’t like being black. People treat me better now because I look like I’m white," he adds.
Entrenched in the minds of many Africans from a young age is the adage “if it’s white, it’s all right”, a belief that has chipped away at the self-esteem of millions.
Until this changes, no amount of official bans or public information campaigns will stop people risking serious damage to their health in the pursuit of what they think is beauty.
This article from Dr. Yaba Blay:
BBC Africa recently posted an article by Pumza Fihlani entitled “Africa: Where Black is not really Beautiful.”Highlighting the well-publicized case of South African musician, Nomasonto “Mshoza” Mnisi, who openly (and unapologetically) acknowledges lightening her skin, the article positions skin bleaching the result of “low self-esteem and, to some degree self-hatred.” While Mnisi herself admits that her decision to lighten her skin is indeed “part of … a self-esteem issue,” can we safely conclude that skin bleaching, a now global, and widely practiced phenomenon, is the result of low self-esteem and/or self-hatred? Among those who bleach, can we be sure that the motivating factors are identical just because they all engage in a similar practice? And if the goal is to understand skin bleaching enough to be able to curb, if not stop the practice, how useful would an individualized approach to skin bleaching be to the hundreds of thousands who bleach all over the world? Perhaps the goal is not to eradicate skin bleaching. Perhaps sensationalizing it is.
In “On Yellow Fever,” I mentioned that I’m bothered by how the self-hate ‘diagnosis’ is so easily assigned to people, specifically women, who bleach their skin. Within the discourse surrounding skin bleaching in Africa and other parts of the Diaspora specifically, this diagnosis is more frequently labeled a “colonial mentality.” Defined, this
mentality almost invariably leads many Africans to prefer European things – values, practices, institutions, and so on – even if a closer look might suggest that the equivalent African ‘thing’ is of comparable worth (Gyekye, 1997, 27).
Connecting this ‘diagnosis’ to the skin bleaching epidemic, many journalists and researchers, including Fihlani, have argued that the “European thing” that Africans who bleach their skin prefer is a white skin color.
Numerous assumptions attempt to account for skin bleaching among populations with histories of colonial subjection. Skin bleaching, in the eyes of many commentators, reflects a desire to “de-Africanize” oneself due to a negative African/Black self-concept and further represents an attempt to emulate Whites. The popularity of the “colonial mentality” rationale for skin bleaching suggests that somehow those Africans who bleach their skin ought to “know better.”
When I spoke directly with individuals who bleach their skin in Ghana, a number of them reported that part of what makes light skin appealing is its presumed connectedness to Whiteness. The idea that in a society where the large majority of people look like me or darker, to have light skin means that you may have White (or Other) ancestry. And if in this context, Whiteness has been historically projected as inherently better than Blackness, to have White blood automatically renders one better than average. While at the surface level, this type of thinking can absolutely be plugged into the “colonial mentality” definition, we cannot treat skin bleachers as if they exist within an ahistoric, apolitical vacuum. They are members of a larger society that has, and continues to privilege Whiteness.
The value bestowed light skin in its presumed connection to Whiteness reflects a larger framework. It reflects the extent to which the entire society continues to privilege Whiteness. So if there is such a thing as a “colonial mentality,” our society undoubtedly engenders it.
Now of course, with our skin color being the immutable mark of our Blackness, skin bleaching emerges as the most egregious attack on our identity, the most literal proponent of White Supremacy. Nevertheless, it is but ONE reflection of White Supremacy. So while we’re passing judgment, and ridiculing African women as ‘naïve’ or ‘irrational’ for thinking lighter skin is more appealing, we ignore the fact that you can’t walk through the streets of Accra without being bombarded with 60 ft billboards for skin bleaching products.
Open a popular magazine marketed towards African women and encounter pages upon pages of ads for skin bleaching products.
If we really want to understand the connection between White Supremacy and skin bleaching, we need to discuss how Africa has become a proverbial dumping ground for chemicals deemed unfit for White bodies. Most of these skin bleaching products are manufactured in Europe and Asia, places where the active ingredients have been banned. Banned from use, not manufacture. It seems then that the products are made specifically for Black bodies, or bodies ‘of color.’ Why aren’t African countries closing their borders to the import of these products? Well, according to the Ghana Food and Drug Board (FDB), the country needs to encourage free trade. Said another way, the Ghanaian government needsEuropean products. Please review the definition of “colonial mentality” above. Thank you.
We should exercise more care in the ways in which we present skin bleaching as an indication of colonial mentality. Skin bleachers are continuously depicted as objects of society as opposed to active agents who negotiate the meaning of their reality. By focusing almost exclusively on female bleachers, not only do we gender the entire phenomenon female, but in chastising women for “betraying their culture,” members of the press present female bleachers as both naive and irrational for believing that lighter skin is more appealing. So let me get this straight – on the one hand, the popular press supposes that women who bleach do so as a result of their inability to resist colonial projections of Whiteness as the standard of beauty for women, yet on the other hand, the popular press, inclusive of the African media, continues to project images of presumed female beauty that often look nothing like the large majority of African women. Watched a Nollywood film lately? Who is more often positioned as the object of desire?
If the media indeed understands the colonial mentality, then they should understand the power of dominant imagery to affect the consciousness of the society. In the same way that the colonial order projected images of Europeans and advertisements for European commodities in an effort to construct and further validate a superior White identity, it appears that in the press’s continual projection of European (read: White) beauty ideals, that they too continue this legacy of White supremacy. Yet it is skin bleachers who suffer from “colonial mentalities?”
Instead of asking women why they bleach, why aren’t we asking men why they “prefer light skinned women?” Or why they feel emboldened to make public statements about their preferences.
There’s a fine line between “preference” and pathology – and the pathology is White Supremacy. Where is the discussion of the “low self-esteem” and/or “self-hatred” of these men?
In 2012, when most of Africa seeks “modernization,” what would be the parameters of a colonial mentality and how would it be measured? Would wearing Western clothes, obtaining Western educations or migrating to Western countries characterize colonial mentalities? Or would the fact that Christianity is the largest practiced religion in Ghana indicate widespread colonial mentalities? Perhaps the fact that lawyers and judges in “independent” Ghana still wear powdered wigs evidences colonial mentalities.
Where is the discussion of self-hate and colonial mentalities now?
My point is where do we draw the line? Why are skin bleachers positioned as the proverbial poster children for colonial mentality? For as much as the media seems to be interested in chastising women, to date, I have seen no commentary offered by the Ghanaian press about the prevalence of hair straightening or the widespread marketing campaigns for chemical hair relaxers in Ghana.
Nor have I seen any commentary about the number of toddler girls (ages three and younger) whose mothers have added European textured hair extensions to their hair. What is our investment in supporting one aspect of a European aesthetic for Ghanaian women (chemical hair alteration/Euro-fashioned hair extensions), yet completely rejecting another (skin bleaching)? Could it be that we continue to seek social acceptance based upon what it means to look “civilized” in the eyes of the rest of the “civilized” world? Possibly, but if you understand my point, then you can begin to understand the complexities of the skin bleaching phenomenon, and thus the limitations of the “colonial mentality”(and by extension “low self-esteem/self-hatred) diagnosis.
If skin bleachers suffer from colonial mentalities, low self-esteem, and/or self-hatred, then in some ways, so too do we all.
so even though I’ve tackled the issues of beauty in America, this article did a great way of comparing the oldies to the newbies of how blackness is redefined in the media.
I think I’m leaning towards how Western society impacts other cultures when it comes to Beauty. Might as well start with the home front and work my way outward.
here’s an article from Beauty Refined Blog
In a country where a full one-third of the population is black, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latina, the serious underrepresentation of women of color in media is really disturbing. Further, when you only account for the women of color shown in positive roles or depictions – especially those depicted as beautiful or desirable – the number is almost negligible. Since Beauty Redefined is focused on recognizing and rejecting harmful messages about bodies and beauty in media, we can’t pretend that race isn’t a major factor in the most harmful of beauty ideals. Images of white women dominate all media – especially roles or depictions featuring “beautiful” or desirable women, not funny sidekicks, the chunky best friend, the hired help or other stereotypes. To think this doesn’t have a negative effect on females who rarely see images of their own races depicted in a positive manner is insane. To think it doesn’t have an effect on the way white people (and all people) view women of color is equally insane.
Since researchers have assumed that black girls were immune to the effects of thin-ideal media(1), communication scholar Kristen Harrison (2006) conducted a study aimed at testing this idea. Using survey data from 61 African American teen girls, she studied how TV exposure influenced the girls’ beliefs about others thought of the girls’ own bodies. She discovered that for larger girls, TV exposure significantly influenced their belief that their peers thought they should be smaller. For the smaller girls, TV exposure significantly influenced the belief that their classmates expected them to be larger. In other words, the larger girls in the group assumed their classmates thought they were too fat, while the smaller girls assumed their classmates thought they were too skinny. Interestingly, Harrison found the same result three years earlier when she found white women’s exposure to TV beauty ideals predicted the large-busted women wanted smaller chests and small-busted women wanted larger chests.
Basically, that means for-profit beauty ideals in media are WORKING. Too many industries thrive off women feeling bad about themselves and seeking ways to fix their “flaws,” which women naturally perceive as a result of not measuring up to media standards for beautiful or even “average.” These studies (along with plenty of others) show us that pretty much everyone feels bad. Too fat, too thin, too busty, not busty enough, too tall, too white, too dark …
The mainstream beauty ideal is almost exclusively white, making it all the more unattainable for women of color. Though beautiful women of color like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson, Halle Berry and others have achieved renown in U.S. culture, media representations of these women have become increasingly “anglicized” or “whitewashed” over time, with lighter-colored, straighter hair, lighter makeup, colored contacts and often shrinking figures (5). Though many of these transformations are likely decided by the celebrities themselves or their styling teams, some of the transformations are much more sinister … and more digital. Companies like Loreal and Clairol have come under fire for digitally lightening both the skin color and hair color of black women featured in their advertising, including Beyonce and Queen Latifah, as shown above.
Even when the women are being recognized for something other than their beauty, like, say, an Oscar nomination for incredibly talented actress Gabourey Sidibe of “Precious,” magazines like Elle still feel the need to whitewash her in order to feature her image on the cover. While representation of women of color in media has increased slightly over the past decade, finding positive depictions of women with dark skin tones or natural hair is still nearly impossible in mainstream media. Further, when we do see women of color respresented as beauty icons in media, they almost always already fit white ideals –meaning they already have light skin tones, light-colored, straight hair, ideally “white” facial features, thin figures, etc. The most famous examples of black or multiracial women celebrated for their beauty or desirability consistently fit those standards, and coming up with examples who don’t is really tough. Tyra Banks, Halle Berry, Rihanna, Gabrielle Union, Ciara, Zoe Saldana, Brandy, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys … the list goes on.
For both Latina and black women, research shows beauty ideals include more “feminine curves” than the dominant white ideal (6).Instead of always subscribing to the thin ideal, girls and women of color, in some cases, value a “thick” ideal, comprising a slender but curvy body, with a thin waist, big breasts and hips and a round behind. Essentially, “the feminine ideal is tanned, healthy slenderness, with no unsightly bumps, bulges, or cellulite, and bodily and facial perfection that results from hours of labor: exercise, makeup, and hair care” (Coward, 1985; Kuhn, 1985) ‑ and 25 years later, plastic surgery and digital manipulation.
One recent example of this digital distortion to create (or make women fit) ideals is the notriously curvaceous actress Sofia Vergara (of the TV show “Modern Family”), whose arm was slimmed to the extreme for Pepsi’s “Skinny Can” campaign (barf). Despite a controlling ideal that values “feminine curves” along with the thin ideal, this is still an objectified and unrealistic standard that is a nearly impossible combination for most women, unless extreme photoshopping or expensive and life-threatening cosmetic surgery is performed. Latina and Hispanic girls are still suffering under these controlling standards of beauty.
In studies where Latina teenage girls report greater body satisfaction compared to white girls, they still report comparable or higher rates of disordered eating (2). Scary facts: Greater acculturation into mainstream U.S. culture has been associated with preference for much thinner body types among Mexican American women. Studies have found second-generation Mexican Americans had the highest levels of disordered eating among first- through fifth-generation Mexican Americans. In other words, Latinas who are daughters of first-generation Americans were most likely to have an eating disorder, potentially as a result of trying to fit in with U.S. ideals, which may differ starkly from ideas about bodies found in their parents’ native cultures (4).Further, Latina adolescents describe an ideal body type that looks extremely similar to the white norm AND they report the desire to lose weight at similar rates to their white peers (7).
Though many studies assume black females are more capable of resisting dangerous thin ideals than white females, plenty of evidence suggests that’s simply not true for too many. Botta (2000) found that for both black and white girls, exposure to TV beauty ideals was associated with a stronger drive for thinness and greater body dissatisfaction. Roberts et al. (2004) echoed these findings, declaring that black girls may be particularly vulnerable to internalizing media messages that emphasize beauty and appearance. Others (8) have found that the number of hours watching music videos increased the appearance and weight concerns of teen girls, with those findings being strongest among the black girls tested. Generally, television watching is related to lower self esteem and higher levels of disordered eating for girls and young women of all races and ethnicities (Harrison & Hefner, 2006; Tiggemann, 2006).
We know different cultures may have different perceptions and definitions of beauty or even thinness, since Asian women considered to be of normal weight and figure in an Asian culture may be considered underweight or anorexic by Westerner ideas of body size. But the central issue here is not so much cultural definitions of beauty or body size – it is the dangerous lengths some people will go in order to achieve those ideals. Essentially, women are viewing a distorted reality and holding themselves to the unattainable standard set by the non-reality of popular media – and most often, those standards are based on oppressive, power-laden ideals of whiteness.
According to the caption on youtube, this is what the video is about:
Women are their own worst beauty critics. Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. At Dove, we are committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. So, we decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.
My issue is with the lack of diversity in this video, there is more to life than many thin framed, young white women. There are very short segments featuring women who aren’t involved in that description and I find that to be harmful. What are you truly saying about beauty Dove? Because you only feature certain kinds of women-NOT all kinds. Different Hairstyles, Body Types, Skin Color, Eye Color-where is the Diversity Dove?
This isn’t simply beauty, this is “selective beauty”.
Afro Stage #3!
this is from when we went to a bar downtown. It’s curly, put lots of curly pudding in it to help give it some bounce.
I really want to do a Fro-hawk but I don’t know how well my hair will accept gel/if it will and whether or not it’ll listen to the gel. My hair doesn’t like to listen to me-try though!
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson