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Beauty, Media, and Babies

So, a few months ago my husband took an illustration gig. That project is now published and it is a really good book for little black girls who need to remember that they are beautiful just the way they are. When he took the commission it was for a friend’s mother and at the time it seemed relatively unimportant since it was really being done as a favor. Fast forward to now when our nieces are hitting that age and we’re hearing them criticize their looks left and right and all of a sudden we’re looking for other books like this one and realizing that we can’t really find them. Oh, we’ve found a couple but for the most part despite all the talk about self-esteem in kids there’s not a lot addressing what it’s like for a child of color in a society that uses a beauty standard based in whiteness.

And although I admit I hope that a lot of you go buy this book, I’m also hoping that you’ll be inspired to create more books like this one. Because listening to little girls critique themselves on every level is awful. And they need to see images of WOC in the media that are positive and nurturing and beautiful. And it’s not enough to start that message when they are 7 or 8 (we thought it was) because society starts teaching them something else entirely right from birth. It’s not enough to have the token fairies of color (ala Disney) or the one black Princess (again Disney) we need to make the media reflect the world that we all live in.

4 thoughts on “Beauty, Media, and Babies”

  1. J. Andrews says:

    I noticed there’s no customer reviews (or any other reviews for that matter) on that book up on Amazon. For suggesting it to children’s librarians to add to their library’s collection, it’d be helpful if there were reviews they could be referred to.

  2. karnythia says:

    I think because it just came out. I felt weird leaving a review since I was so involved in the creation.

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  5. Melinda Bishop says:

    Karnythia…you’re on the money!

    This is something I talk to my husband about constantly. He is white. He doesn’t realize how it can hurt a young girl’s self-image to see the same White girls being touted as the most “beautiful” over and over. And if it is a Black woman, she is somebody like Halle or Beyonce.

    I’m much lighter than both Halle and Beyonce, but I’m very much aware that they are considered the prototype for ideal black beauty in Western society.

    I’ve told him that when we have children, if we have daughters, I will make it crystal clear to them that they are beautiful no matter what anyone says. My mother never quite did this but I will do it for my own children.

    I’m sick of little black girls, whether light or dark, believing that they aren’t pretty because they don’t have flowing hair or blue eyes. I’m sick of seeing my own hair ruined from years of relaxers, because after all, biracial people like me aren’t supposed to have “ugly hair”. “Ugly” meaning African-textured hair. This is what somebody told me. I’m sick of the notion that a person is not beautiful if she isn’t white or doesn’t have so-called “good hair”. I believed this LIE all my life. This is also what contributes to division based on complexion between WOC.

    Like you, I want to see more children of color loving themselves and respecting the unique beauty that they were blessed with. I want my future children to know that BOTH brown and blue eyes are gorgeous. I want them to know that blonde isn’t the most beautiful, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with dark hair or dark eyes or dark skin. There is nothing wrong with kinks or naps or curls. There is nothing wrong with broad noses or full lips. White can be beautiful, black can be beautiful, and so can every other type of individual in this world.

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