The raw truth of how we define beauty.
How do you define beauty? For people of color, the relationship we have with our own sense of beauty is both complicated and powerful. For centuries, we have been told that our beauty isn’t beauty in a myriad of ways – our skin is too dark, our features too big, our hair too wooly. This message was hammered into our psyche over generations and has filtered down through our own families, impacting the way we see ourselves today. Some of us continue to struggle with being comfortable with our innate beauty often turning to methods which minimise our essence.
The past decade has seen a revolutionary shift in consciousness when it comes to Black beauty–how we view ourselves, how the world views us and how we show up in the world. Our notion of beauty and our connection to it runs deep within our community and as we work to figure out what this ultimately means to us, DRK Beauty will be there to support us all during this journey of self-exploration.
What better way to kick off our launch week and the beginning of our journey than to speak to folks of color and ask them how they define beauty?
We recently caught up with some DRK Beauties and asked them to share how they see beauty in themselves, in others and in the world. Unsurprisingly, their definitions varied. One woman we met said, “Beauty as a black woman is all of the things…all of the stories that we have, all of our experiences on the inside, how it shows up on the outside.” Who we are is wrapped up in our beauty. It’s not just how we look on the outside, but what comes from within.
“Accepting your particular beauty,” said one woman who responded, which speaks to the current comparison climate that can be exacerbated by social media. Seeing that we come in different shades, sizes, hair textures and styles should prompt us to appreciate the beauty of others while still clinging to our own.
Speaking of hair, one woman shared that learning to love her hair has been a big thing. Another echoed her sentiments saying, “Your 4c curls are beautiful and you’re beautiful.”
While many in the black community are exploring and learning to love their natural hair, employers and recruiters often deem it as unprofessional when compared to straight hair or a sleek bun. More states are working to protect black employees who want to wear natural hairstyles at work, as reported by The Washington Post. Further, in July 2019, California and New York signed the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act into legislation. The CROWN Act seeks to protect Black people’s choice to wear their natural hair. It draws attention to the cultural and racial discrimination that affects Black men, women and children both at school and in the workplace. To champion this legislation nationwide, Dove, a Unilever brand, founded the CROWN Coalition.
Esi Eggleston Bracey, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Unilever, is a public advocate for this proposed legislation.
“Due to my personal experiences as a Black woman in the corporate world and multiple news stories over the past year about girls being sent home from school for wearing braids, and women losing job opportunities because of having natural hairstyles, I knew we had to help change this,” she said during this year’s Essence Festival, as reported by Shondaland.
Throughout time, our talents and very intellect has been overlooked due to the color of our skin and the texture of our hair. Yet our beauty is still beauty. It is more than skin deep and that’s our superpower.