Black Isn’t Beautiful Claims Evolutionary Psychologist
Posted by BroadBlogs
Somalian-born supermodel, Iman
Evolutionary psychologist, Satoshi Kanazawa, claims Black women are less attractive than others. It’s apparently such good science that Psychology Today posted his piece on their website. Maybe not. They quickly took it down and recently apologized.
Hmmmm. Thinking about Black women, there’s
Somalian-born supermodel, Iman or Sudan-born supermodel, Alek Wek. And then
there’s Halle Berry, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Thandie Newton, Beyonce, Janet
Jackson, Lisa Bonet, Jada Pinket Smith… Beautiful Melia Obama fits right in
with these folks.
A few years back FX had a reality show called “Black. White.” in which a White family’s coloring and features were changed to Black, while a Black family’s coloring and features were changed to White. I thought the White girl looked great Black.
Really, we need to take evolutionary psychology with a grain of salt. Some research from this field may have some basis. But much carries cultural bias. Indeed, as Tami Winfrey Harris over at Ms. points out, others have demonstrated Kanazawa’s bad methodology and his taste for fashioning racism, sexism and conservatism as science. As much of evolutionary psychology is prone to do, I might add.
Supermodel, Alek Wek
That said, as Harris eloquently observers:
All women bear the burden of the European beauty standard and the fact that, as women, our value as human beings is too often defined by how closely we fit the
standard—how close we are to being white, blond, blue-eyed, thin, with long, straight hair, and a keen nose and lips. Narrow standards of beauty are oppressive to all but a few, but it is Black women as a whole who are held up as the opposite of the ideal.
On Harris’ point, people do tend to prefer the features and fashions of powerful groups, but the bias is about power, not innate beauty. Just a couple examples:
When prosperous and influential Chinese families bound the feet of their daughters to signal wealth (what woman could work with bound, dysfunctional feet?) small feet came to be seen as beautiful. Unfortunately, poor Chinese soon imitated the fashion in pursuit of this excruciating “beauty.”
Or, when tanned skin indicated outdoor, poorly-paid, physical labor, Americans avoided the sun. But when Coco Chanel came back deeply tanned after vacationing in St. Tropez, her sun-kissed skin – now linked to wealth and privilege – appeared beautiful.
Blacks do have less power than other ethnic groups due to intense prejudice which was created to support their enslavement and the discrimination that followed. (It’s easier to feel okay about enslaving someone if they’re not quite seen as people.) Due to a history of educational and occupational discrimination, it has been more difficult for the Black community to gain and pass on wealth.
And yet, looking at all the women on this page all I can say is black is truly beautiful.
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About BroadBlogsI have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. I blog for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.
Posted on June 6, 2011, in feminism, gender, psychology, race/ethnicity, sexism, women and tagged culture, ethnicity, Evolutionary Psychology, feminism, gender, psychology, race/ethnicity, racism, sexism, social psychology, women. Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.