What Is Beauty?

 What Is Beauty?

To the Editor:

Re “We Don’t Have to Be Beautiful” (Sunday Review, April 7):

Megan Nolan has the freeing popularity that beauty is given at the beginning and that if we had been less beauty-conscious and obsessed, we might be freer every day. Then we’d get on with discovering how ordinary power is thrilling and well worth greater than chimeras of ideal, uncomplicated splendor. I believe all people are lovely sooner or later in their lives, either as kids, as old humans, or in flashes of unguarded expression. The span of this beauty is fleeting and temporary, and we are often no longer subconscious of our vision while we’ve got it. As a female in her 60s, I can say that all young human beings are lovely. Maybe they will get this when they’re not younger. I may add that seeing the beauty that goes against the humdrum grain of societal norms, even when witnessing the self, calls for a more acute kind of imagination and prescience. We want a version of Naomi Wolf’s “Beauty Myth” for the internet age.


Colorism is more than being referred to as a cockroach, having guys examine my nether regions to a medium uncommon steak, or seeing me overwhelmed who prefer lighter-skinned girls over me. No, it is going more profound than that. Colorism has programmed me to view myself as everything but stunning or even a lady. Masculinity, horror, and undesirability are developments I have recognized when considering early youth. I became a tomboy, and being a darkish-skinned black female brought every other layer to any discomfort I had concerning my look.

As a younger teen, I became in no way at ease carrying anything too female or pores and skin-revealing. Hoodies, denim, and sneakers had been the handiest things in my closet. And yet, my bedroom became the opposite of this mindset: I had posters of the Jonas Brothers, the Twilight cast plastered over my walls, a large warm crimson Hello Kitty blanket laid throughout my mattress, and a massive series of Barbie and Bratz dolls. It became a stark assessment to the girl who hung out with boys to playing video games and soccer and favored using bikes around Philadelphia.

Like another child in the mid-2000s, I religiously watched the Disney Channel. The indicates bolstered the belief that the white – or at the least mild – character usually becomes the main protagonist or the female worthy of love. Shows with black casts also had colorism trouble: the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and My Wife And Kids had changed their darkish-skinned girl characters with lighter ladies, questioning nobody could speak. Meet the Browns, Sister, Sister, The Proud Family, and So Raven all had younger black female characters that I cherished but regarded as nothing like me. It made me question whether or not or no longer I can be deemed “girly” enough to be one of these women who deserves a whirlwind romance.

As I was given older, I started to feel more self-aware. At 15, I wanted to be pretty and healthy with the alternative ladies, but I didn’t know how or in which to start. I began to watch YouTube makeup tutorials and wiggled myself an increasing number of times into the confines of what’s considered feminine by wearing makeup increasingly and being tedious about my hair (and I favored it). I would wear long, immediate weave, a complete face of makeup – foundation, concealer, highlight, contour, heavily stuffed-in brows, lipstick. I would highlight the maximum of my face with a lighter concealer color, lightening my pores and skin with makeup and overlaying who I became. Soon, my overall performance started to feel like a green-with-envy apology for having the kind of skin society hated.

Dennis Bailey


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