“You are beautiful for a black girl”

"Tu es belle pour une noire"
“You’re beautiful for a black girl,” there’s a sense of déjà vu, right?

This is a comment that comes up often, particularly when men want to compliment a black woman on her physique. The intention may seem good at first glance, but remember that this simple sentence raises a certain number of very problematic subjects.

Western beauty: a model par excellence

If we were to analyze this sentence, it implies that being a black woman would be a burden, due to belonging to a supposed “race” whose beauty would be less or even non-existent. All of this is actually the result of a sad legacy that has elevated Western beauty to the status of the only acceptable beauty, alienating our ability to see beauty through a single prism.

For a very long time, the principle of beauty has been associated with a culture that emphasizes Western physical attractions. This same principle has crossed borders, to the point of becoming the model par excellence. This is also something that we can easily see in fashion magazines, television shows and fashion shows for example.

But what does this beauty model look like?

In truth, the criteria always remain the same, namely white skin, flamboyant light eyes, beautiful long and smooth hair as well as a perfect body, without defects or predominant shapes. Moreover, this also has an impact on women from other communities such as Asians, North Africans, Indians and many others.

The generalization and acceptance of this model in the global collective has led to many other problems within communities that are far from these criteria. Indeed, a good number of famous black women tend to conform the most to this model by having light skin (often obtained through lightening products), modifying physical features through surgery (the trivialization of rhinoplasty is frightening ) and by wearing extensions or wigs in order to have straight hair...

These are the same women who are adored by the black public, both among men and women, and thus the “Western” standard of beauty has not only influenced the standards of beauty within the black community itself. but has erased our criteria of beauty which are inherent to us.

An imbalance from childhood

On the other hand, this attraction to Western beauty is also evident from childhood, and this imbalance tends to create real complexes as well as significant, destructive and harmful discomfort in the latter.

We will start with a very simple example, that of dolls. Although it seems to be becoming more popular these days, it is clear that the majority of children's dolls have white skin. Just like the fact that superheroes are also predominantly white. This may seem trivial at first glance, but in reality the gap has already been created and sits comfortably in the child's mind.

And yes, even simple toys transmit messages, strong messages which will condition the child's way of thinking. In other words, to be a normal child you have to have white skin and beautiful blue eyes, and to become someone courageous and heroic you have to be white. This also refers to a certain period of history through which the black man was inferior to the white man; or that the White Man will always come to the aid of the Black Man, it works both ways.

In truth, these messages are extremely dangerous, since they will cause trauma in children that will lead them to think that they will always be inferior. With adolescence into adulthood, these children will struggle to accept their own image to the point of using chemicals to bleach their skin, but that's another topic.


The legitimacy of blacks in France

France still remains a country that does not really grant legitimacy to people from the black community , and even less to their beauty or talent.

The observation is clear, you just have to turn on your television to realize it: black actors and actresses, in the absence of supporting roles, often wear the hat of the young person from the cities, the clown on duty or the comedian perfectly imitating the African accent. This is also the case with advertisements, still too few marketing operations include the promotion of a woman with ebony black skin in their strategy! Often we will see black women with light skin, or mixed race women with beautiful curly hair... The frizzy one? To avoid…

You are beautiful “and” you are black

Although you might think you're complimenting a black woman by saying "you're beautiful for a black girl," know that it's actually extremely insulting.

Indeed, this implies that being black is generally associated with non-beauty, not to say ugliness, and that conversely, being white means being beautiful. Western beauty therefore sets itself up as a standard and a supreme model of comparison. And it is somewhere a form of inferiorization and therefore of racism and discrimination.

Although the black woman is the opposite of the white woman, we just need to understand that beauty is not unique but diverse and resides in every human being regardless of their color or physical features. Not all black women have the same skin tone, just like white women, and that doesn't make anyone less attractive or beautiful than anyone else.

For those who still do not understand the seriousness of the point, let's take the opposite example of this sentence; have you ever heard: “ You are beautiful for a white girl ”? No never. These are the type of remarks that only people who do not meet Western beauty standards will hear, regardless of origin.

In short, beauty is diverse and not unique and it hardly depends on skin color. Fortunately, nowadays, more and more figures from different communities are being highlighted; not by their beauty, but also by their talents and skills.

So, if someone tells you “You are beautiful for a black person”, make sure to share this article with them, see you soon.

Article written by Melyssa B.
and Edited by Aminatou B.

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