... the other Black experience

Self-hate, beauty standards: how do we stop the madness?

Hey guys, although many don't go as far as South African artist Mshoza (pictured below), a lot of people still hurt themselves emotionally when they let unhealthy beauty standards (hair, skin color, etc.) become their own.
Just wanted to get the conversation going. Everyone is somehow affected. How do we make sure that women, men, boys and girls get out of this vicious circle? - Lou C-D

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Comment by BK_Malik on February 16, 2013 at 11:59pm

In my opinion, hair can be considered a style choice if you are Black and proud you don't HAVE to wear a natural or dreads to be true to that. PLus, you can always take the weave out, let the perm/hot comb grow out or cut it off. Bleaching is a life choice not a style choice. It takes self loathing for that. You have to believe that something is wrong with the way you look if you bleach...and it doesnt' always go well...

Comment by Keith Miller on February 16, 2013 at 6:52pm

Shame. She was beautiful to begin with!

Comment by urbanwhim on January 4, 2013 at 6:23pm

Ok. I'll bite again: I've been labeled with "low self-esteem and self hatred," for having a perm and/or weave at multiple moments in my life. So now I'm wondering, "Since those people judged me based merely on my appearance, is s Mshoza being judged the same way?" Skin-bleaching is no doubt in many cases, a direct result of self hatred, effects from slavery, racist ideals that falsely represent beauty and social status, etc, etc, etc, but I'll argue that cases shouldn't be handled monolithically. Not all black women who have a perm hate themselves and yup, as a proud dark skinned women I will look a little deeper and say that not all black women who bleach their skin hate being black. Jamaica is good example. They got the whole skin bleaching thing down pact. Can't start wining in the club without seeing at least 5 girls walk by who are clearly bleaching. Huge issue. I asked a good friend once, "were you ever pressured to bleach?" She flatly stated, "no, I love how I look. I think I'm gorgeous." And she is! Like "I secretly crush on you," gorgeous. Where did her confidence come from? I dunno but she knows she's hot. She exudes it. And the girls who for a multitude of reasons don't think they are-- find a way to make them feel better about themselves. And I'm not saying this is the case here-- and I'm certainly not arguing that it is always right to drastically change your look to feel special (buy new lip gloss: yes, bleach skin: um, no) but I'm not going to point and stare and simply say that Mshoza hates being black. Although, I'd have to go back and read this article. I did hear about a suicide attempt at some point so who knows what's going on in Mshoza's head. 

She does have a video on Youtube where she expresses her thoughts here:

Comment by Q Manchu on January 4, 2013 at 5:56pm

fuckn sad! cant understand y do people think they can improve on what mother nature bestowed upon them with man made enhancements.i have no problem with cosmetic enhancements and surgery in extreme cases such as cancer,burns,or horrific injuries etc...,but if ur mind is telling u 2 take drastic cosmetic measures 2 improve ur appearance 4 vanity sake,then something is wrong with ur mind and not ur body.'play n the uniform u r issued!'

Comment by HeartOfAMetalhead on January 3, 2013 at 11:07pm
I watched the video that Jospinner posted and I feel that Mshoza is still my happy with herself. You can tell by how she gets a bit defensive every time the interviewer asked her questions regarding her own happiness. I have light skin and I love it and if I had dark skin I would love it too. If anything I would personally want to be darker because for one more protection from the sun and I just love darker people. I love all skin tones but I have a soft spot for chocolate skinned folks :) I just hope that she realizes that happiness has to come from herself. She has to be happy with herself first before she can be happy with anything else.
Comment by Honey Williams on January 3, 2013 at 10:49pm

Some Black girls grow up trying to emulate the racist ideal of beauty that is perpetuated in the media and quickly learn that dark skin and afro textured hair=ugly. Ive witnessed dark skinned black girls getting bullied or teased about their african attributes too mostly by black boys, not nice at all.

....Thing is when a black father is there, little black girls get to witness an actual Black man loving and adoring a black woman and her beauty, which can serve as some what of an antedote to the white supremacistic ideals we are all fed.

When black fathers disappear, the subliminal messages that get pumped into many little black girls is that 'My daddy didnt love me enough to stick around'. I know that it isnt souly to blame on Black men, but if you grow up seeing many if not most every black man wanting to date/marry/having kids with white women or pale skinned women it cant help your self esteem. Not saying that its wrong to date outside of your race but some BM see women of other races (namely white women) as status symbols/trophies that doesnt help either. Higher numbers of Black men date interracially than black women.

Those little black girls seeing all of that grow up into Black mothers and some of those do perpetuate damaging myths concerning colourism and hair texturism.... but it is it any wonder why they do?
Black women want to be loved like every other race of woman, straight black women want to attract men.

This issue is how Racism effects black women in terms of love and beauty but its not discussed.

(and i'm saying this and Im a light skinned woman btw)

Comment by BK_Malik on January 3, 2013 at 9:32pm

@Urbanwhim - I would personally say no on the perms and weaves but definitely a big YES on the bleaching.

Comment by BK_Malik on January 3, 2013 at 9:28pm

@Honey... I fully acknowledge that Black father absence in the Diaspora is and has been a  disastrous problem and I fully agree that Black girls growing up need that positive reinforcement of their beauty from a male role model. But...girls don't emulate their fathers. How many present Black mothers pass on their negative feelings about their own image to their daughters. How many present Black mothers favor their lighter children over their darker ones? It's not only a male problem is all that I'm saying...

Comment by Honey Williams on January 3, 2013 at 8:54pm

@BK_MALIK : '@Honey... excellent points, I would amend your first paragraph though to say that Black fathers AND mothers (since so many of us are unfortunately absent...) need to tell ALL of our daughters that their hair and skin are beautiful the way they are as soon as they can comprehend it, including all shades and hair textures.'

Thanks for the compliment, but I have to disagree, my point does not need amending, Black mothers for the most part are there but the recurring absent black father is prevalent throughout the African diaspora its a problem (but there are good black fathers out there)

Media plays the biggest part in the whole brainwashing of people of african descent.
Google: 'beauty' tell me what you see? sometimes the WHITES ONLY signs are not as obvious anymore.

Comment by urbanwhim on January 3, 2013 at 6:30pm

I'm gonna bite the bullet: Does wearing perms, weaves or even bleaching your skin automatically equate to self-hatred?

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