The devastating effects the Eurocentric standard of beauty in western culture has on women of color

The Eurocentric standard of beauty is one of the most blatantly oppressive standards, and has far reaching effects that some may not realize. This study mentions that one of the most common stereotypes is that Black women fail to measure up to society’s standard of beauty. This standard of beauty places an impossible goal on all women of color, and has especially affected Black women because of racist history they have experienced surrounding white beauty. Starting during slavery, when lighter skinned female slaves received house duty and darker skinned female slaves received backbreaking fieldwork, lighter skin was valued by white society. This has led to what some call the lily complex, where Black women cover up their natural features because they do not feel they are beautiful, and can only be “when they are impersonating someone else”.

This oppressive standard of beauty affects other women of color as well. According to this article, Asian women are even going as far as having plastic surgery to conform to the Eurocentric standard of beauty. They are having double eyelid surgery to make their eyes look more “white”, and even have been lightening their skin. Even TV anchor Julie Chen had surgery to make her eyes appear more “white” after a TV producer told her eyes looked too “Asian”. Latina women are often affected as well, as this article indicates that even the Latino media has been creating a Eurocentric standard of beauty in their content, which has had negative effects on their self-esteem, leading to depression. This has led many Latina women to have plastic surgery and lighten their skin in order to conform to the standard placed upon them by society.

It is clear to me that the white majority in society has valued light skin as the standard of beauty for centuries. Women who do not confirm to this standard are made to believe they are not beautiful, making them only feel beautiful when they have white features. This has led to devastating consequences, driving women of color to low self-esteem, depression, and even to surgically modify their body or lighten their skin to conform to this standard. In my opinion, women should not be made to feel inferior because of who they are, and should be free to be their natural selves and still feel beautiful. Because beauty has no color, and this oppressive standard needs to change.


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