Miss Authentica Beauty Competition

Follow this link for a slide show of the Miss Authentica Beauty Competition, held recently in Cote D’Ivoire. The idea behind the pageant was to showcase and encourage appreciation of the beauty of natural, non-bleached black African skin. It seems a great cause, especially given that many of the skin-lightening products used on the African continent are apparently carcinogenic (the damaging nature of the attitudes to dark skin themselves seem too obvious to require mention)…and yet, I’m not sure how I feel about the method. It leaves me wondering whether two wrongs make a right. Thoughts?

7 thoughts on “Miss Authentica Beauty Competition

  1. I am delighted with how those girls a) have a most fantastic skin colour and b) are not anorexic at all.
    Not sure what to think of pageants, generally, but it’s true that those women look authentic, and I am in favour of that.

    I lived in Hong Kong for a couple of months, and I had a hard time finding skin cream that did not have some withener in it, amazing. I am one of those people that often gets asked whether she’s ill, because I look so white. Meh.

  2. I agree, H. At least as far as I can tell, the contestants are not answering to unrealistic beauty standards.

  3. I am a man who loves black women and the darker the better. I also know that world is biased towards lighter skin color without regard to race. So any effort to encorage women to appricate their natrual beauty is appluadable. As for the pagent issue, maybe a pagent in and of its self is not wrong but the standards and ideals that it up holds can be very wrong.

    BM

  4. Hi elp et al,

    this raises some issues discussed here before, at these posts:
    https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/beauty-pageant-with-a-twist/

    https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2008/07/09/%e2%80%9cbritain%e2%80%99s-missing-top-model%e2%80%9d/

    It seems what’s going on in all of these cases is the following:
    i) the usual unachievable norms of appearance are being challenged, which is good.
    ii) a group/trait previously excluded/denigrated is being included/celebrated, which is good.
    iii) women are still being judged on their appearance, which (if to the exclusion of other dimensions of their personhood) may be objectionable.

    Does this capture your unease elp? Or does it have another source?

  5. yes, i think that’s precisely it. why can’t they be encouraged to value themselves for something other than their physical appearance, and in that way be encouraged not to put their health (and ethnic pride and whatever) at risk for the sake of what’s ‘beautiful’? -or is this just too idealistic of me?

  6. I like stoat’s account, elp, and normally I’d agree with you on this point. But I wonder if this isn’t a special case. There is a huge problem precisely with looks and skin color, and I’m wondering if that doesn’t make a difference. On the other hand, does the display of beautiful black faces have to be put in the form of a contest? Still, there might be reasons for wanting to employ the form that the display of conventionally beautiful white female faces often takes.

  7. yes. yes maybe since what they want to do is change a standard of beauty, what they need to do is make a new one. or something. hmmm…

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