The majority of research on physical attractiveness and body image has been limited to the White population (Hall, 1995).\n\nThe 1940 experiment conducted by Kenneth & Mamie Clark focused on whether light, medium, and dark complexion negro children related more to a colored or white child. Results show that the lighter complexion children chose the white boy 20% more over the colored boy.\n \nMany products marketed towards hair care show model with long, flowing, straight hair. African American women press, perms, and weave their hair in an attempt to emulate Caucasian hair (Hall, 1995).\n
Perrett (1994) identified these as the standards of an attractive face.\n\nThe prototype for a healthy infant include large eyes and a small nose, whereas small eyes and a broad nose are seen in a number of genetic and prenatal disorders (Cunningham, et al, 1995).\n
Beauty is a result of societal indoctination according to sociocultural theory (Hall, 1995).\n
These labels of good versus bad are ways in which &#x201C;cultural messages about appearance shows that the American culture associates beauty with good things and ugliness with bad things (Eagly, et al, 1991).\n
Wishful activity is the negation of concrete determinants of the self, and an evaluation of alternatives and definite decision as to the better of the two (Clark, et. al, 1940).\n
Psy492 M7 A2
Western Culture’s Standard ofBeauty and its Affect on the SelfEsteem of the African American Female By Marcia Debose
What is Beauty ?A characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides aperceptual experience of pleasure, meaning , or satisfaction (Wikipedia,2011).The qualities that give pleasure to the senses (Websters, 2011).Beauty is a thing seldom seen (Urban Dictionary, 2011).
How is Beauty Measured?Skin Color Colorism- the prejudice or discrimination in which human beings are accorded differing social treatment based on skin color.Hair Hair texture has been categorized as good or bad and has evolved to assigning categories ranging from Type 1 to Type 4a-c. Type 1, straight hair Type 4, kinky or nappy
Beauty Measured cont.Facial Features Small nose High cheek bones Thinner jaw Large eyes Shorter distances between the mouth and chin and nose and mouth
Media’s Role in Enforcing this Beauty StandardMedia enforces stereotypes codes that give audiences a quick, common understanding of a person or group of people usually relating to their class, ethnicity or race, gender, sexual orientation, social role or occupation (Media Awareness Network, 2010).Psychology Today prints an article written by Social scientist, SatoshiKanazawa stating that scientiﬁcally black women are less attractive thanwomen of other races.The Miss Universe Pageant chooses nation representatives of those contestantswho approximate the Western standards of beauty (Cunningham, 1986).
Media cont.State Farm Insurance runs a commerical portraying a African American malechanging his dark skin girl friend into a lighter skin women because this iswhat he “likes more”.Cosmetic surgery becomes more popular Doctor 90210 American reality series focusing on plastic surgery in the wealthy suburb of Beverly Hills. Bridalplasty American reality TV show where 12 women compete to win a dream wedding and plastic surgery procedures.
How Does the African American female measure up?Researchers who have investigated this topic have recognized the unfair andimbalanced focus on the white female as the pinnacle of beauty.Lighter skin African American women are portrayed more positively thandarker skin African American women.Kinky hair is “relaxed” to be managed easierSmall eyes and a large nose are associated with the Africa American culture.
REFERENCESClark, K. & Clark, M. (1940). Skin color as a factor in racial identiﬁcation of negro pre-schoolchildren. Journal of Social Psychology, 11, 159-169.Cunningham, M., Roberts, A., Barbee, A., Druen, P. & Wu, C. (1995). Their ideas of beauty are, on thewhole, the same as ours: Consistency and variability in the cross-cultural perception of femalephysical attractiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68(2), 261-279.Eagly, A.H., Ashmore, R.D, Makhijani, M.G. & Longo, L.C. (1990). What is beautiful is good, but...Ameta-analytic review of research on the physical attraction stereotype. Psychological Bulletin, 110,109-128.Hall, C. (1995). Beauty is in the soul of the beholder: Psychological implication of beauty and africanamerican women. Cultural Diversity and Mental Health, 1(2), 125-137.Perrett, D.I., May, K. & Yoskikawa, S. (1994). Facial shape and judgments of female attractiveness.Nature, 368, 239-242.