Since the beginning of recorded history there has been some perceived beauty “norm” that women are expected to adhere to. Different cultures have varying aesthetic ideals that have changed throughout time. As with our assigned reading, “The Beauty Queue”, the majority of studies dealing with the conflicted assessment of female “beauty” are from a “minority” perspective. After reading the excerpt by Margaret L. Hunter, I felt the need to talk a bit on this topic from a “white” standpoint.
Hunter talks about the advantages of having lighter skin in the African-American and Mexican-American cultures. In both of these ethnic groups to be “dark” is seen as unattractive. In western society “white” women have the opposite problem. I am ¼ Italian (Sicilian), ¼ German, ¼ Irish, and ¼ Mutt. However, most of my physical traits are of the Sicilian persuasion; dark brown hair, brown eyes, olive skin tone, etc. This apparently worked in my favor because I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been praised for my “beautiful” skin color. My response is always “Thanks, that’s the one good thing my sperm donor gave me.” Modern western “white” society sees paleness as unattractive and characteristic of death. Therefore, women spend money and risk their health on a regular basis to become darker. Within the last decade tanning has become the more prominent means by which “white” women attempt to achieve a darker more desirable skin tone. Even though I have what some would call “great color” I fall victim to this as well. Why? Because for some unforeseen reason the majority vote states that the most “beautiful” skin color is a medium between “white” and “black”. My questions are who came to this conclusion and how?