As a child, I was spoon-fed this Western idea of beauty through the media: long legs, long (usually blonde) hair, abs, big boobs… the whole lot. I agreed, these girls were absolutely gorgeous, but as a frizzy haired, black 5 year old, I believed that I could be exactly the same when I grew up.
As I grew older, I obviously became more aware that it wasn’t that easy… due to my cultural heritage my hair was never going to grow as quickly or the same texture (Even though my St Lucian side keeps it somewhat straight), and my ass was probably going to be a lot bigger than a lot of those girls. However, it wasn’t until year 7 when we were discussing heights and one of my teachers mentioned that, based on the heights of my parents, I “probably didn’t have that much growing left”, that I realised that I was never going to be the tall, skinny girl I’d seen idolised again and again.
Society has definitely approved; the Kardashian’s brought with them a new found love for the “curvy” girl with the big ass, but, whether we like it or not, we’re not as “evolved” as we appear to be. At the end of the day, white women with curves are still deemed more attractive and attention-worthy than black women, and the “ethnically ambiguous”, or “light skinned” are seen as more attractive and exotic than those with darker skin. Though it’s nonsensical, people think these things without even trying, because it’s been ingrained in us for as long as I’ve been alive, at least.
We’re so much better at claiming that “Everyone is beautiful” and taking everyone for what we are, but the truth is, I still see the tall skinny blonde girls on my timeline getting considerably more likes than a lot of people (me included) ever would. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m going to turn around and say “Stop being the perfect depiction of Western Beauty”, because at the end of the day, their genetics “lucked out”, and they’re at no fault for the way society perceives them. It’s simply interesting to see that even as we evolve more, there’s still a long way to go.
When I was younger and a lot more insecure, it would annoy me every so often that I was never the girl that guys would look at and think “wow”, I was never the girl with hundreds of likes on Instagram, and I was never that idolised version of beauty. I’m proud of my culture and I’m proud of everything that I am, but when I was at the fragile age where all I wanted was approval from others, it was hard not to compare.
Essentially, I can put on makeup, wear cuter clothes, lose weight and dye my hair, but my genetics are still going to make me “curvier”, I’m always going to be shorter than average (Although apparently I’m at the cusp of average now?!) and my hair will always be frizzier at my roots.
I’m never going to fit the Western image of beauty. But that’s okay.
I am very happy with my looks now, because I’ve come to that level of acceptance. I have long curly eyelashes (thanks Dad, sorry Mum), I like my face (most of the time) and though my hair will never probably reach my ankles, it’s mine and I like that it’s different. With the emergence of Black Panther, I feel like I’ve been provided with a whole new range of strong, beautiful women that are more inspirational for me, and I didn’t realise how motivational and emotional that would be for me.
This isn’t just about race; there are a lot of Caucasian people that are still not that tall, curvy “beautiful” image that is forced upon us from our youth, and I’m sure that some of them have gone through the same sort of struggle. Even those who do fit this image probably still have their insecurities, or feel a need to live up to it. In reality, we’re all just plodding along trying to make the best of what we have, and that’s okay.
Everyone is beautiful, and whilst we do understand that, we still subconsciously favour a certain type of beauty. But that’s fine, and we’re growing slowly and surely. I may never be that type of beautiful, but I am my own type of beautiful, and I love it. It just all comes with acceptance.
I’d love to know what you think, as this is quite a personal one for me. Let me know in the comments!
Lots of love,
BLOGLOVIN’ | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE
Hey, I'm Jasmine Burke. A girl in her twenties fresh out of Uni that's trying to write in any way that she can. I go under the branch of "lifestyle" but honestly, you can find pretty much anything on here.
Sorry. No data so far.