What Is The Colour of Beauty?
Sharon Haywood is a body image activist, writer, editor, and feminist. As with all labels, that’s not the sum and substance of who she is.
- She’s also an adventurer who took to backpacking in her late 20’s as a way of re-evaluating her professional goals. She traveled from her home in Toronto, Canada through Mexico, Southeast Asia and most of South America.
- She found a second home in Buenos Aires, Argentina and now writes and edits for a living.
- She’s the associate editor of www.adiosbarbie.com, a site that promotes healthy self-image for all sizes, cultures & races and writes informative posts like the one you’re about to read.
What is the Colour of Beauty?
According to a 2008 survey about models in New York fashion week:
- Six percent are black
- Six percent are asian
- One percent are latina
- Eighty-seven percent are white
When the modeling world is criticized, the media, activists, and the general public focus in on the fact that the standard size zero of today’s models represents a very small percentage of women in the real world. But size is not the only way the fashion industry excludes. A new short documentary, “The Colour of Beauty,” examines how the ideal in fashion is not only rail thin, but also white. The documentary’s creator Elizabeth St. Philip, highlights Renee Thompson’s experience as a black model in a white world:
Renee Thompson is trying to make it as a top fashion model in New York. She’s got the looks, the walk and the drive. But she’s a black model in a world where white women represent the standard of beauty. Agencies rarely hire black models. And when they do, they want them to look “like white girls dipped in chocolate.”
Addendum To The Post – Questions Not In The Documentary
1. How do girls of color feel when they don’t see their skin color and their physical features celebrated as beautiful in the fashion industry?
2.If, as I believe, the fashion industry’s self-declared standard of beauty has a negative impact on girls’ and women’s body image and self-esteem (e.g., how can one “compete” with digitally enhanced body images that slim thighs, elongate necks, change jawlines, remove blemishes and more) then have women of color possibly benefitted from not being compared to unrealistic body types and looks?
What do you think?