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African American Women & Beauty

In: English and Literature

Submitted By shananero
Words 478
Pages 2
African American Women & America’s Standards of Beauty:
What Legacy Will You Pass On? For most young girls, the mother or “mother figure” is a model. Without truly knowing for herself what it is to be a woman, a girl finds, both consciously and unconsciously, some direction from her mother. Imitating her mannerisms, her characteristics, her every make and move, young girls start to identify with their mothers and subscribe to many of their beliefs. Commonly, little girls are fond of all the “rituals” that women in our society, their mothers, practice in order to be “beautiful,” and one will see everything from “mother and daughter” apparel in catalogs to the fun and simpler “dress-up” days at home, where small girls wear mommy’s make-up, clothes, and high-heel shoes. While this “mother-daughter” scenario exists in our society as a whole, the mothers in some ethnic groups sometimes have different takes on what it is to be “beautiful” and, naturally, pass these confusing and sometimes self-deprecating values and beliefs to their daughters. For many young African American girls, particularly, sometimes the imitation of their mother and all that is sacred to her results in low self-esteem. When daughters are exposed to “race-conscious mothers,” who “admonish [them] to make it a habit to pull their noses to make them thinner” or to do other things to alter their physical appearance, it is difficult for them to feel good about themselves (Seyersted 51). Julia A. Boyd, author of In the Company of My Sisters: Black Women and Self-Esteem, asks Black women to reflect on self-esteem issues: “Take some time to reflect on what types of family legacies were handed down to you as a Black woman. How do these legacies serve you as a Black woman? How do these legacies serve you now as an adult? What part of your history do you want to pass on to your daughters, nieces,...

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