Body Image

Since I'm the Educational Development officer for this student activist org. I'm apart of at San Francisco State University I always need to keep myself attuned to the needs of the membership. We've done workshops on immigration, the Third World Liberation Front SF State student strikes, an upcoming one on white privilege, and a workshop in November on the basics of the capitalist system. However I've been noticing among the membership issues on body image. Specifically people being influence by white mainstream (fascist) standards of beauty. So for next semester I'm going to get a hold of some fellow radicals to put on a workshop on white supremacist beauty standards and how it effects women of color and others in this American society.

Does anyone out there have any resources and blogs, blog posts, books, articles, etc. that they could share with me. You can contact me here. Thanks.


La Reyna said...

Please do so. I can't wait to read it. While you're at it, I want to share a blog entry written by my friend Abagond regarding race and beauty:

I have always thought that for a women to be beautiful and desirable she should have a good figure, one that is round in all the right places. She should have some meat on her bones. She should not look like a stick. Thin women do not even feel right: I can feel their bones!

To me this just seemed like obvious, common sense. I did not question it. It was the way God made me, and therefore all men. The stick women you see in magazines are creatures of the fashion industry. No real man would go for them.

Or so I thought.

I notice that when a beautiful black woman walks down the street, the black men will turn to look at her but the white men do not seem to notice her. Strange: they are still men, right?

Maybe they look down on blacks so much that they do not even consider looking at black women as the women they are.

But of course it is not that simple

Every now and then you hear white men say something like, “Whitney Houston is good-looking for a black woman.” What can that possibly mean but that most black women are not good-looking? That even Whitney Houston herself is not really that good-looking? That white men have an idea of beauty that is based on race, one clearly not shared by black men?

It seems that races have different ideas of female beauty.

That was the subject of Tyra Banks’ television talk show earlier this week. On her show we find out that whites and Asians like their women thin, even unnaturally thin. They consider that beautiful. Just like in the magazines! Blacks and Latin Americans on the other hand, like their women to have a good, full figure. They consider that beautiful. Just like me!

Tyra had four American women on the stage: one white, one black, one Latin and one Asian. She showed them different sorts of women (often without giving away their race) and asked them who was beautiful and who was not and why.

It is hard for one woman to represent her whole race, of course. But still I was surprised at how they could look at the same woman and see her so differently.

Not only did the white and Asian women think the fuller figured women were not beautiful, they thought they were disgusting and should lose some weight, if only for their health. Likewise the black and Latin women thought the thin women were too thin for their health. That is how far from beautiful they thought they were.

Even so it is hard for me not to think that whites and Asians have been brainwashed by Hollywood and Barbie into praising stick women.

But of course it is not that simple.

Stephanie B.