Day 25: Black Feminism and Cosmetics

As a Black, 25 year old woman growing up in the United States, I can safely say I have experienced all kinds of rude comments and ignorance from all kinds of people. But what makes these comments so hurtful is the fact they are directed towards both my race AND my sex. Because I am both Black and a woman, I have to fight a battle from two fronts. Not only is it exhausting to keep a smile on my face while being hit with harsh words, but it makes me question my external beauty. Laid out from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they explain what the Black Feminism movement is. 

Black Feminist Movement grew out of, and in response to, the Black
Liberation Movement and the Women’s Movement. In an effort to meet the
needs of black women who felt they were being racially oppressed in
the Women’s Movement and sexually oppressed in the Black Liberation
Movement, the Black Feminist Movement was formed.

What this has to do with cosmetics can be linked with the low representation of Black women in magazines and the runway. Women, like myself, are left in the background to figure out what makeup and fashion style work for us. To make matter worst is though these numbers are very real, many designers, makeup artists, and editors still hire white models to represent Black women. As seen the image below, model Ondria Hardin (16 at the time in 2013) posed for Italian magazine Numéro as an “African Queen”. While she is absolutely beautiful–the darkening of her skin using darker makeup to fit the role of an African woman, offends many like myself. This spread speaks volumes. It is saying “white” features are more desired. I am not opposed to her posing for the magainze. I understand there are whites who are born and live in Africa and I understand whites can wear African traditional wear in respect, but the fact the photographer could have hired a Black or African model instead if she/he wanted a darker model to begin with. The magazine apologized but I do hope this is a reminder how Black Feminism is important. Women of Color from all walks of life need to represented in any outlet–that includes in the fashion and cosmetics world.

Cosmetics and Black Feminism


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