Link 7 May 1 note This Gabourey Sidibe Speech on Confidence Is All Kinds Of Awesome | Clutch Magazine»

Last night at the Gloria Awards and Gala hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women, actress Gabourey Sidibe gave a speech on confidence and beauty. 

What’s key here is that media discourse normalizes feelings of ugliness and worthlessness  upon body non-conformers (fat) and non-white women. Inherent in their gaze and questioning is the expectation that women of color who are not thin should not feel confident, high-esteemed, fearless in their physical and mental comportment.

Mindy Kaling has expressed frustration at the same conversations: 

“I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?’”

It is insulting, otherizing, and a prime example of the intersections of race, gender, class, and beauty.

Text 20 May Tyra Banks Condemns lack of protection for models

Ms. Banks encourages unions for models. The price of beauty is high for models, and her weight at 17 would not have permitted her to model at 17 in the year 2012.

Text 18 Mar

theunconsciousimpulse said: Except that it might not be the "American beauty ideology" but just generally occidental, don't you think? Oh, yes, there is a whole wide world out there...

of course you’re correct, this is generally occidental - however, i live in america and consume american culture, therefore i can only use my distorted american perspective to analyze american beauty.

Text 26 Dec 20 notes blonde-o-morphosis [preamble]

There’s something about blondes. 

What is it about a beautiful blonde that makes the girls go nuts? Or is it guys? Or is it just that American pop culture places blonde-ness in the upper-echelons of beauty, youth, and superiority? Thus, driving the women to the peroxide and the object of desire, in this case cis heterosexual male desire, only to have locks of blonde? The purpose of this post is to examine the discourses of blonde haired women as ‘beautiful’ in pop culture and how it constrains wider representations of beauty. In layman’s terms, how has the media created blonde as the end-all be-all of feminine allure and how does this affect beauty in pop culture. 

Who started this, was it Marilyn Monroe, the oft-reminisced icon? Or maybe Twiggy, the former model who is single-handedly deemed the arbiter of the pre-pubescent youth body ideal? The hipsters still have her. 

60s breakthrough model: so thin. so blonde. 

Ms. Monroe, the curvy predecessor to the future blonde “it girl”. 

Be it the sun lightening the hair during Mod beach parties, dominant Scandinavian roots, or just a recessive gene, but blonde hair became ubiquitous as being both sexy and demure, provocative and natural - and for the ladies, that spelled b-e-a-u-t-y. As in, you are now the ideal if you have lightened locks. 

She has a genetic edge on beauty. 

Of course, there is nothing wrong with admiring the beauty of blonde hair. In many ways it is a mark of difference; blonde women with untreated [colored] hair seem to be something of a rarity and children with brighter blonde hair tend to go darker as they get older. However, when blonde hair becomes the primary marker of beauty, in particular a beauty in women that connotes superiority, it is problematic. 

the current reigning teen heartthrob as a baby, baby, baby ohhhh. 

"Blonde bombshell" is a slightly dated term to describe a hot  blonde woman. "Brunette bombshell" is yet to catch on on. There is overwhelming zeitgeist appropos to blondes:

  • dumb blondes

  • platinum blondes

In the realm of adolescent Hollywood, the blonde reigned in the collective consciousness as the “it girl”. She was the prom queen over and over and over again, the cheerleader, the rich girl, the “girl next door”. The blonde was hot girl, the envied one, the flaxen-haired bright spot in dimly-lit, angsty hallways. 

In the 90s and early 2000s, TV abound with the male protagonist and the girl he lusted over. 

Pamela Anderson on Baywatch

Mary in the 1998 eponymous film. 

Sandy from Grease

 even Fountain of Wayne’s hit, “Stacy’s Mom” was blonde. 

Obviously, the notion that beauty is limited to women with flaxen hair is nonsense; the constant exaltation of non-blondes such as Halle Berry, Cindy Crawford, Katy Perry, and the notorious Kim K are irrefutable proof of that. However, the timeless portrayal of the blonde as being the ultimate prize is hackneyed, short-sighted, and even racist. 

Guess which girl rules the school. Hint:  Lindsay kind of took the film seriously.

Yes, blonde hair and white skin are not mutually exclusive. Some women of color even look great like this. 

Others, not so much.

But, but, but blondeness is associated with “whiteness”.Since blondes are the de facto queens of beauty in the media, that means that most Asian, Latina, Native, black and mixed-race women are relegated to a lower status. Beyonce may be a hot blonde but most brown-skinned women are not hot blonde women because most brown-skinned women do not have blonde hair. 

This model is probably not black. 

On the flip side, blonde women who change their hair color can be considered anomalies, after all, blonde hair makes you look younger and younger is better

It’s just a hair color after all, why is it even worth posting about? Because it is a hair color that has a lot of cultural meaning. Blonde is a symbol: young, fun, beautiful, flirty, desirable, confident, uncomplicated, and next-level sexy.

UGLY, Vario Blonde Hair Dye, Mojo Partners, Schwarzkopf, Print, Outdoor, Ads

blonde young woman. her primary goal is exorcising her blondest alter ego.

Maxim February Anna Kourn Jennifer Scholle, has blonde hair and plays tennis: is hot. 

The effect of the blonde empire is still playing itself out on our television sets every week. And sometimes it feels more than a little gratuitious. 

Text 8 Nov critique is love

How it is possibly to simultaneously enjoy or be a fan of something while recognizing that it has flaws. 

It is far too easy to deify something, call it “flawless” and consider it above reproach. In order to love and appreciate something, it is necessary to understand it - flaws and all.

Video 16 Oct

Rihanna for Nivea performing her song “California King Bed.”

Text 16 Oct Sexiest Woman Alive

Rihanna is Esquire’s 2011 Sexiest Woman Alive. At 23, this is quite a patriarchal honor. It makes sense that she takes Minka Kelly’s crown: Rihanna embodies American Beauty ideology. 

I define the American Beauty Ideology as the tenets [they are malleable and subject to evolve] that define feminine beauty. Because these principles are disseminated through media as valuable and constructed as “truth”, they in turn affect female beauty practices, performance, and self-perception. 

  • Above all, exhibit beauty via the male gaze [that is, sex appeal]
  • Wear your beauty like a badge of honor - be ostentatious with its performance [often sexual/innocent dichotomy], take pride in it and encourage other women to do the same. 
  • Be blonde or have “fair” features in some capacity [id est, features that are generally regarded as racially belonging to “whiteness” - thinness, light skin and eyes, small noses, smoother hair textures]
  • Exhibit youthful expressions of beauty [be young ] or aspire to a youthful expression of beauty. 

Rihanna’s personification of this ideal: 

  • Rihanna is beautiful via the male gaze in many of her music videos.
  • Only Girl in the World 
  • Rude Boy 
  • S&M 
  • What’s My Name 
  • Rihanna is the spokesperson for various companies and is paid to be beautiful. 
  • Rihanna is in her early 20s with no signs of aging. 

  • Rihanna is a light-skinned black woman with light-colored eyes.

This is not a personal attack on Rihanna. Generally, I am a Rihanna fan. I think she has a fascinating beauty that Beyonce, her contemporary rival, cannot match. She has daring fashion choices and an idgaf attitude. But it has to be said, Rihanna does not live in a vacuum. Her choices exist within a context of our social realm. She is affected by the beauty ideology, she practices it in her professional life, and she has been rewarded for her efforts. 

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