Saturday, April 7, 2007

This is a bit long, but I think it's a great articulation by black teenagers of the way black teens feel about their bodies in American society. Feelings and frustrations that most if not all of us have had, I'm sure. The short is up for a $10,000 prize from CosmoGirl (ironically). You can check out the other films and vote here.


Brittani said...

Andrew may not say it but I will. Vote for A Girl Like Me or get slapped. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day. And when it happens know that it was because you did not vote for this video. If I have to hear a white teenager talk about society's obsession with weight one more time, I might stop eating fried foods. White females: if you're feeling down and need somebody to adore you and tell you that you're beautiful, I have the perfect solution. Go find a group of educated black men and just stand in the middle of them.

Andrew said...

Brittani, I don't think it's fair to reduce it to that level - there is a huge problem with our culture: we worship things that don't exist. Out beauty standards are based on computer-"enhanced" (I think generated is a better word) images. Legs and necks are elongated, eyes widened, breasts lifted, etc. etc. The same images that are making black girls feel ugly are the same ones making white girls feel bad, even if white girls have an easier time straightening their hair, minimizing their hips, etc. I think until ALL women and men realize what we're doing with these images (because really... WHY?) and demand realistic images of women of all shapes and colors, we will continue to have problems like eating disorders and teen suicide. It blows my mind that so many people (and mostly people who don't at all conform to normative standards of "beauty") react so negatively to Dove's campaign to represent real women in their ads. Our standards of gender are hedged in fantasies, and I think it's time we tore them down and let people live.

Naima said...

andrew, i think that you raise a good point in saying that poor body image affects women of all colors. we all exist in a culture that produces unrealistic beauty and behaviorial ideals for women as a form of gender control.

however, i agree with the point brittani makes about the failure of popular discourse to identify the psychological injury done particularly to women of color (by fashion magazines, etc.). often, critics of the underfed model craze fail to recongize that beauty ideals are produced in racialized ways that affect women of color on several registers that white women are not affected.

our "worship of things that don't exist" is detrimental for all of us, but surely there is still a great amount of privilege afforded to white women because of the social value placed on light skin and certain textures/lengths of hair.