Friday, June 17, 2011

Beauty Norms: Dark Skin and Light Skin

First watch this clip from the upcoming documentary Dark Girls:

Now, a couple facts about me:
  • I am a dark skinned black person. 
  • I'm African American. 
  • I am a woman.
  • I grew up in America and have been socialized to make unconscious preferences, even if they do not serve my best interests.
  • As an adult I can spot these "skewed" thoughts and make conscience efforts to redirect my opinions (this is an on-going effort).
  • I know if you tell someone they are ugly long enough or promote efforts which leads them to believe they are ugly (unworthy, fat, stupid, etc), they will start to believe it.
  • It took me a while to be comfortable in my own skin (this is an on-going effort).
  • Topics of race always intrigue me.
Bonus: If you haven't read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, I recommend you add it to your reading list. It's a compelling book and has many insights into Black America. I also encourage you to read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, she discusses the color issue with such bluntness and honesty, her words are like poetry. Side note, The Bluest Eye is my favorite book in the entire world.



  1. Thank you for posting this - I really want to see this now. It's heartbreaking to hear these **stunning** women expose such deep feelings of ugliness, and godawful to watch the potential-filled child point to the "smart" or "ugly" girls. This is such an important topic - for everyone, IMNSHO.

  2. I really want to see this documentary! I know the documentary is focusing on black women but
    I'm Pakistani and unfortunately it's a huge thing in my culture too =[

    Google 'Fair & Lovely' & you'll see what I mean- it's a skin lightening cream which is ironically made by a company that endorses Dove too (you know those videos that Dove released about how much photoshop goes into ads & how beauty should be instead about about loving yourself? Ha!)

    And that part in the video where the lady talked about white people being fascinated with her really hit home; having grown up in rural England, white people have always been supportive & encouraging towards me. But people of my own colour? Even my own mother would make me wear SPF50 suncream at all times to make sure I don't 'get too dark'. Ironically sad, isn't it?

  3. Thank you, Camille, for the post! This is a topic I've had much exposure to and the reactions, responses, and rationalizing from close friends, patrons, ex-wife, daughters, and son is astounding. We'll have to make this part of our next conversation, if you care to. :o)

  4. @thecleveridiot thanks for your comment! yes the skin color issue effects various cultures, not just African Americans. I think this documentary will be very interesting and at least spark some discussion on the subject.

    @jeff I'm always interested to know other points of view on the subject. Please let me know when we can hook up. Cheers!


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