I was scrolling through Tik Tok when I saw a woman of color speaking on how recently there has been a shift in how people perceive her. She was being told more and more frequently that she looks white. That got her wondering why people were saying that? Because for most of her life she has easily been identified as an ethnic minority. She started to hypothesize it was because recently ethnic features, especially Black features, have become somewhat of a popular trend to emulate. And that it wasn’t her becoming more White, but White women changing their features to appear more ethnically ambiguous that was causing this shift.
It got me thinking about beauty standards, and the shift that is currently happening in our society today. White women are overly tanning themselves, spray-painting their bodies darker, wearing traditionally Black hairstyles, appearing to have injected their lips and butt to resemble that of Black and Brown women, and adopting Black fashion and culture. BBL (Brazillian Butt Lift) procedures on Tik Tok to give you an hourglass figure in all the right places. White celebrities like Kylie Jenner are praised for wearing wigs, extensions, and participating in black culture. White models are held as the epitome of beauty for emulating Fox eyes, a traditionally Asian eye shape with makeup and surgery. The list goes on and on.
Ethnic minorities, especially Black women, who have dealt with teasing and discrimination for certain features are now learning that those features are now considered beautiful! Except the world didn’t learn to find those features beautiful on them. Society learned to find those features beautiful once they were manufactured onto the faces and bodies of White women. While White women are rewarded for using makeup, surgery, filters and money to look like an ethnically ambiguous Black woman, women of color are ridiculed, sexualized, abused, and murdered for being born with their skin color, body, and hair type. Women of Color, especially Black women, are degraded for their features in this society but a white woman with the same features is lauded as the epitome of beauty. The difference is Women of Color can’t take on and off these features like an accessory as they please. Their tan doesn’t go away and their lips don’t dissolve.
I’m not saying you can’t alter your appearance. I think you should do whatever makes you happy in a society that forces an unrealistic beauty standard upon all women. However, I think it’s important to recognize the implications behind these trends and the rise in cosmetic procedures. Where are they coming from and who are we giving credit to? At the very least, are we listening to the women who’s features and cultures are being put on display? Black women who say don’t wear these hairstyles it’s bad for your hair and you are unaware of the history and culture behind it or Asian women saying it’s offensive to do “fox eyes” and pull the skin around your eyes back while we get made fun of? Are we really listening to them when they say, ‘Hey there’s a line there, and it’s being crossed’. As a societal whole, I don’t think we are because it continues to happen and they continue to be ignored.
In the end, you can do whatever you want with your body. However, I think it’s important to look at where these trends are coming from and to support and uplift Women of color who are often looked down upon for their appearance.