African Beauty standards
If images are shown they are usually watered down to have a feature somewhat representative but never an authentic African. Usually very Eurocentric rather than Afrocentric.
Secondly, the positive images of African women and men are downplayed, instead more negative images of gangsters, prostitutes, drug dealers and loud obnoxious people and let’s not forget the buffoons, who are typically cast via media, even within our own circles they have become acceptable as a norm unfortunately.
The reasons it has become a norm is simple. It was made acceptable and attractive in all the entertainment venues as easy way to to make quick money, and lots of it. Comedy, TV Sitcoms , and even theatre has now become acceptable broadly by everyone.
The stereotypes are so powerful the regular man on the street is convinced everyone african represents one or the other of the negative caricature I mentioned earlier.
Our communities are represented as violent and not good places to raise children or families. Homes are undervalued and businesses come only to take the money we spend, but they do not reinvest due to real estate value and “ghetto” looking areas.
Our beauty standards are the same as any other community but no one wants us to magnify and raise ourselves up. When we try, we are systematically dragged back into place. This is evident every day by the shameful acts of violence against us daily by some law enforcement and even regular people on the street who would usually wear hoods and masks to do their dirty deeds, but have now become more brazen in their acts by calling the police on African persons perceived to be in an environ not “normal” for African persons like a park, the beach playing volleyball, a college campus, OR imagine this…in front of a building waiting for an Uber.
What does all of this has to do with beauty? Well think about it. Most non Africans display themselves or depict themselves in media as angelic, beautiful, serene, soft spoken, articulate , business like etc. and they are oftentimes treated as how they are depicted, whether or not it’s who they actually are. This is very deceptive marketing.
But no matter how an African person is cast , he nor she cannot escape the stereotypes. Not on the job, not in media, and certainly not in real life.
So where do we go from here? We collectively have to refuse those roles which continue to stereotype us. Demand more Africans in magazines and in modeling by spending our dollars responsibly. I say we because it has to begin with us. We can’t expect anyone to do it for us. Look at us 400-500 years later. Be honest…what has changed? Where is our infrastructure? Where are our financial institution, our schools and our organizations?
Everyone else has theirs. We do not. Everyone else seems to function well within their own sets of rules and norms but as soon as we try to do the same we get reverse racism thrown as a wrench at us.
We get the Bible thrown at us, and we get embroiled in political shenanigans which has nothing to do with us because nothing politicians do benefits Afro communities.
We can only change our outlook, including our images and beauty standard by looking within ourselves.
VillageTalk BY Caribguhl
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