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Super vs Average Barbie
A Journey into beauty in the modelling industry
This website is in fulfillment of an academic assignment
By Michael Oguntuase
This not the first time that a particular set or shape of women were perceived as not attractive enough. From a young age, girls are being shown that the Barbie is how a beautiful woman is supposed to look like. A lot of women are being sold the idea that wearing makeup is the feminine way of life.
Dr. Marion Banks from London Metropolitan University claimed that the fashion and cosmetic industry use the mass media to sell products and lifestyles that portray what it perceives as beauty for the purposes of profit making. She says the industries do create a message the female body is inadequate unless one oozes of sex appeal by industry standards.
So what does make one beautiful? How do you define beauty?
Banks says : ‘Women are beautiful, women should feel beautiful!. You are beautiful as long as you feel you are. This is how it should be. No one should use their own yardstick to judge how beautiful you are.
Ideas of beauty are socially constructed. Organisations like the National Association for African and Caribbean student UK are trying to change these mainstream perceptions. One’s skin colour or body shape does not have to meet ‘industry standards’ for a woman to claim to be beautiful. There is no one way to define beauty. So the next time one picks up a dress to wear or a cream to rub, one should ask him or herself: ‘Am I doing this for me or for them’?
So who does define beauty? The answer is ‘I do’.
The doctor got a lot of criticism from many professors at the university as well as campaigners. Among those who condemned his findings were Professor Paul Gilroy from his department at LSE. He said Kanazawa’s theories were only brewing racial tension.
Gilroy further says: ‘Not only does Dr. Kanazawa fail to provide any evidence to support his conclusion, he fails to say how many people took part in the research and does not even mention the race of the women – for example whether they are Afro-Caribbean ,nor does he explore the fact that the research on which he bases his conclusion was conducted in America where European ideals of beauty dominate’.
Sherelle Davids, anti-racism officer of the LSE students' union, said: "Kanazawa deliberately manipulates findings that justify racist ideology. As a black woman I feel his conclusions are a direct attack on black women everywhere who are not included in social ideas of beauty."
The winner of the Miss Black beauty UK for 2017 has been announced. The crown was won by Carla Lotus of Goldsmiths University. This is a beauty pageant organised by National Association for African and Caribbean student UK. The president of the association, Kenny Balogun said he was very happy at the success of this year’s competition. He said that The aim of the competition was to change the normal social perception of beauty. He said that the event was set up to prove that anyone can be beautiful and not only what those the mainstream wish to show us.
Dr Satoshi Kanazawa
He was obviously responding to the paper presented by a well-known academic in psychology, Dr Satoshi Kanazawa. The evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics had published a paper claiming that Black women were ‘less attractive than other women’. The controversial Japanese academic claimed he got his findings from survey of men from different races. They were shown photographs of white, Asian, black and native American women and to rate each based on their attractiveness. He also concluded that the reason why these men choose this way was because African women had a higher levels of testosterone than women from other races. He said black women had more masculine features.