Who’s The Fairest Of Them All?

February 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

The media has such a special way of portraying who we should be, how we should act, what our values should be, and along the lines of this essay, what beauty should look like. Nelson specifically talks about how the world views black women through music videos and the message that is sent not only to men, but to other women; especially those who are coming to age. My question is, why do they allow themselves to be degraded this way, and are they truly aware of the statement being made?

Growing up biracial was very difficult, mainly because people judged me because of the color of my skin and the texture of my hair. Black people wouldn’t see me as black because my skin was fair and my hair was too “stringy”, and white and latino people wouldn’t see me as white or latina because my skin was “tinted” and my hair was too thick and curly; likewise, if I were to tell them that I was mixed with black they wouldn’t believe me because my skin just wasn’t dark enough. I’ve even had people laugh and tell me that I wasn’t being serious. To this day when people ask me what ethnicity I am, in the back of my mind I always say, “why should I tell you when I know you probably won’t believe me anyway?” Nelson points out that she’s tried to figure out what’s functional, beautiful, and comfortable for her and other black women, and I feel that biracial women encounter the same issues. I believe the key to beauty is within.. it’s being comfortable in your own skin, loving you and being you.

I’ve attached “I Am Not My Hair” by India Arie that puts a musical touch to what Nelson was talking about. I hope she’s an inspiration to us all!

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§ One Response to Who’s The Fairest Of Them All?

  • I love this song! I am someone who is always experimenting with my hair and, like Jill Nelson, once shaved off all of my hair. That experience was eye opening for me to see how much hair and gender are related. I got many second-glances and occasionally was mistaken for a teenage boy. I found many people thought I was more attractive or less attractive based on their ideals of women’s beauty.

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