I will never forget what a teacher told my class, almost 15 years ago. She stated that we were turning into a “lookist” society. I had no clue what that was at the time. “Plastic surgery will increase with women and men. There will be value placed on looks like never before.” Boy, was she right. As someone who was in their late teens in the early 90’s, I remember the “babes” from r&b/hip hop videos. The “babe” was a realistic looking girl/woman. She usually sported a cropped hair style, overalls (one left unhooked), and timbs. The girls/women in the videos were round the way. I felt I could attain their looks/style. Fast forward 20 years later, and the women in videos look like blow up dolls. The body proportions are now out of control (never thought I would see the day I wished big butts weren’t part of the beauty standard), as well as other plastic enhancements (beast implants, nose jobs, lip injections, Botox, etc). It’s not surprising eating disorders, as well as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, are increasing in communities of color. I always feel sad when I see pictures of the new Lil Kim. She has turned from a cute brown girl into a Pamela Anderson clone. I have always wondered if she struggled with this disorder, as well as Michael Jackson. It makes me angry that two very talented people were made to believe they weren’t good enough. But in a society that degrades blackness, I guess it shouldn’t be a shock. The combination of a lookist culture and anti-blackness, I believe has contributed to “skewed” beauty ideals of some black folks.
In this short film produced by Beauty Shop productions via JolieDoggett.com, the blogger interviews men/women who are struggling with body issues: