by Miyu Fujino
Holding beauty contests for African American women who have black skin shows neither a disappearance of colorism among people nor a reversal of values. I thought holding beauty contests which put heavy weight on skin color itself is promoting a discrimination against black people. What they are doing is strongly emphasizing their skin color and refusing other people by their appearance. This is as same as what white people have done to black people. However, it is real that the contests succeeded to change people’s mind which admits dark color skin is beautiful and also it raised black women’s self-esteem. I think these two achievements mean a lot to African American people (not only women but also men) and their society. African American people used to think the lighter skin you have, the better life you can get in their society but after seeing dark skin women who have charm and confidence in herself won contests, their idea of skin color changed. Therefore, holding beauty contests which is focusing on skin color made differences among African American people. By deciding beauty queen like Miss Bronze, black women could raise their self esteem and be proud of their natural skin color and themselves.
These days, many Japanese women use ‘美白'(skin lightning) cream and trying very hard to make their skin white. They cover their face, arms and legs by wearing sunscreen, hat and gloves in the middle of the summer so that they can protect from the sun light. They hate being sun tanned and treat it as kind of a shameful thing. I understand that in Japanese society, light skin color regarded as better but I think people have no need to whiten their skin but should be proud of their natural skin color. This is not only about skin color but also about everything such as hair and eyes colors. Many Japanese people die their hair, make it perm, wear heavy makeup, and wear colored contact lenses to change their appearances. Just enjoying them for fashion is fine but some women are addicted to them and consider them as a normal thing. One of my Japanese friends is ashamed of showing her no makeup face or eyes without color contact lenses. I feel sad when I heard this kind of Japanese women’s (also men’s) situations. Japanese society should encourage people to be more self confident and be proud of their natural appearances. We should find some ways to raise Japanese people’s self-esteem like Miss Bronze.
- Opportunist Beauty in Japan (japansociology.com)
- “Black Is Black:” Thoughts on Dark Girls (2dopesistahs.com)
- The Miss Bronze Contest and Double Consciousness (japansociology.com)
- Media and Image: The Influence of Biased Images of Whites and Blacks on TV (japansociology.com)
- Light Isn’t the Only Right (rnjordan.com)
- Color Matters (mekadene.wordpress.com)