Representation, It Matters

When you walk into a book store, target, your local drug store, or even by a news stand on the street what do you see? You see many magazines that cover every topic under the sun from big political issues to the latest eye shadow trends. But most of these magazines have one thing in common! The faces used to cover and further all the ideas in the articles are usually Caucasian. From the beginning of the print business this has been the standard due to the ideas of beauty and small minds. Beauty standards started off in a very basic and non realistic way. The standard was blonde hair, blue eyes,  and thin but I will give this industry credit it has evolved from this. Yet the progress hasn't come far enough to fully include and represent people of color. So many magazines have made the mistake of robbing people of color of their narrative. For example, Vogue magazine had an article where they covered different trends from hair to beauty. Each trend had an explanation of a Do and Don't which was accompanied by a photo further pushing the idea. This may seem like a basic article but the big mistake made was all the Don'ts were accompanied by a person of color.  However, how does an editor not notice this? Have the typical beauty standards been embedded into the minds of these people. I read another perfect example in the book "The Sisters are Alright: Changing Broken Narrative of Black Women in America" by Tamara Winfrey Harris. The passage says "In 2013 Psychology Today published an article online explaining why black women are "less physically attractive than other women." 

These examples upset me because I have a daughter that is growing up and figuring out her ideas of beauty. Currently there is a black girl magic movement going on where women of color are feeling so powerful and pushed by these standards of beauty that exclude them so much. From the exclusion has come different publications and growing online sources. My photography brand supplies content to mostly women of color that blog or are building a business. I wish I could say I made this decision on purpose but this branding decision just evolved this way. The topic has recently come up again and caused me to really think about what I want my brand to represent. 

My daughter is watching not only me but the media around her and I want her to constantly be reminded her black is beautiful and needed in this world. The phrase "you're pretty for a black girl" has to end and this beauty standard has to keep growing and changing because the world is going to continue to get all this Black Girl Magic. 

Stay tuned for my senior thesis + senior show I will be focusing on black beauty and why it hasn't been put on the pedestal it deserves. 

“Black women were created of
brown sugar and warm honey.
the sweetest thing to bless the earth. 
be wary of anyone who tells you otherwise.” 
― Alexandra Elle


Mama Photog

Taylor BaldwinComment