By Maxine Leeds Craig
"Black is Beautiful!" The phrases have been the exuberant rallying cry of a iteration of black girls who threw away their straightening combs and followed a proud new kind they known as the Afro. The Afro, as worn so much famously by means of Angela Davis, grew to become a veritable icon of the Sixties.Although the recent attractiveness criteria looked as if it would come up in a single day, they really had deep roots inside black groups. Tracing her tale to 1891, while a black newspaper introduced a competition to discover the main appealing girl of the race, Maxine Leeds Craig files how black girls have negotiated the intersection of race, classification, politics, and private visual appeal of their lives. Craig takes the reader from good looks parlors within the Nineteen Forties to overdue evening political conferences within the Nineteen Sixties to illustrate the robust impression of social events at the event of everyday life. With assets starting from oral histories of Civil Rights and Black energy circulation activists and ladies and men who stood at the sidelines to black renowned magazines and the black flow press, Ain't I a attractiveness Queen? will fascinate these attracted to attractiveness tradition, gender, category, and the dynamics of race and social events.
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Extra resources for Ain't I A Beauty Queen?: Black Women, Beauty and the Politics of Race
The women’s dean called me in when I ﬁrst came to school. I had bought two sweaters: one was a bright orange mohair sweater and one was a bright yellow one. I know she was being nice. 8 Facial features also were ranked in a racially laden hierarchy. One woman recalled feeling that her lips were too big to be considered beautiful: “I remember as a young girl, feeling like my lips were too big. I think about it now. It’s very strange. I really did believe that. Compared to what? ”9 Over-the-counter bleaching creams were sold in great quantity, although they could not actually transform a dark complexion into a light one.
Neat attire, conventional hairstyles, and even prudishness battled degrading images born of racist stereotypes and the actual working conditions of most black women. The importance of grooming as a way to defy the racist assumptions of whites was conveyed from mother to daughter and woman to woman. Caught between degrading portrayals of black women in dominant culture and constraining invitations to embody honorable black womanhood, black women may have felt compelled, in the name of racial and individual pride, to embrace the latter and impose constraining deﬁnitions of black womanhood upon their daughters.
These attempts were rarely individual efforts. The contestants often received support from organizations, such as the NAACP, that viewed beauty crowns as worthy goals. Black efforts to integrate white contests paralleled the trajectory of twentieth-century African American protest movements, rising in number as the Civil Rights Movement broke down other institutional barriers to blacks. As certain kinds of civil rights victories became commonplace, many African Americans questioned the signiﬁcance and value of attempts to win formerly white contests of beauty.
Ain't I A Beauty Queen?: Black Women, Beauty and the Politics of Race by Maxine Leeds Craig