I remember as a young child I would look at characters I saw on TV and wished I looked like them. I wished I had long straight hair and fair skin. Majority of the characters I saw in media that did look like me weren’t positive. I remember it made me feel that maybe if I was lighter I would get the positive attention my white counterpart got. I was in my women studies class and we were reviewing a topic of race relations when this blog idea came to me. Enjoy.
European beauty standards are a societal norm that imply white skin is the most beautiful, and anything deviating away from that is subpar. According to a study done by Bryant in the Columbia Social Work Review, the psychological effects that European beauty standards have on black women are negative. European beauty standards can lead to a negative perception of self as a darker-skinned black women. According to Bryant’s study, because black women (especially dark-skinned black women) do not meet European beauty standards, they are more likely to face depression because of the feeling of inadequacy.
These negative internalized feelings are significant risk factors for depression in black women. In Bryant’s study, her and others evaluated the direct and indirect effects of skin tone and discrimination. This study suggested a link between discrimination and emotional well-being. Dark skin black women were more likely to be depressed if they were discriminated against by their peers due to their darkness.
As we learned in class, correlation does not equal causation and personal anecdotes can be incredibly powerful and moving yet hold no substance. This was my favorite topic writing thus far. There isn’t much scientific research done in regards to this topic. I question the validity of this observation because socio-economic status plays a significant role in risk factoring. Also the time this study was done (media has been increasingly inclusive over the past 20 years). And the fact I only have one credible source means there isn’t any other observations I can compare it to. Still, this is food for thought. Thanks for reading.