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
- 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.