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So some evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics named Satoshi Kanazawa wrote an article called, "Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive than Other Women, But Black Men Are Rated Better Looking Than Other Men? This article was actually published in Psychology Today.
I found it hard to believe that Psychology Today would publish an incendiary article with a too long and horrible title, without putting the findings into sociological context So, I googled it and sure enough it popped up. There it is in purple.
But, when I clicked on the link the article had been removed.
I didn't get a chance to read the article in its entirety, but I was able to find excerpts online. It seems that he did a study asking people to rank attractiveness based on race. The result was that black women were ranked lowest. The problem is not that he did this study, but that he seems to have ignored sociological and societal factors that shape perception and beauty standards. Instead he focuses on the BMI of black women being higher because of muscle mass, and claims that “Africans have more mutations in their genomes than other races” and that this “significantly decreases physical attractiveness”.
Before I even get into the aforementioned sociology behind perceived attractiveness, I'm going to have to demand to see this guy's degree. Anyone with 2 semesters of community college knows that you cannot present the results of a survey of a sample population that is less that .000000000001% of the population as fact. Furthermore you cannot use statistical information collected on a subjective study of that limited sampling of people that is heavily influenced by Eurocentric beauty standards (that are interwoven into western society) as justification for claiming biological/genetic inferiority of an ethnic group.
The "mutation" that he speaks of is this:
"The only thing I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women is testosterone. Africans on average have higher levels of testosterone than other races, and testosterone, being an androgen (male hormone) affects the physical attractiveness of men and women differently. Men with higher levels of testosterone have more masculine features and are therefore more physically attractive. In contrast, women with higher levels of testosterone also have more masculine features and are therefore less physically attractive. The race differences in the level of testosterone can therefore potentially explain why black women are less physically attractive than women of other races, while (net of intelligence) black men are more physically attractive than men of other races."
This is not a "mutation" but a genetic difference. Different ethnic groups have some genetic differences. (I say some, because biologically speaking we are all over 90% genetically the same.) However according to his logic, having single lidded eyes, freckles, or lower muscle content would also be seen as "mutations" because they are found most prevalently in specific ethnicities. Which leads me to this question; what is Kanazawa using as his "norm"? White Anglo-Saxon Europeans? So, basically this guy has no business calling himself any form of psychologist. Psychology is a science and his study is devoid of accurately applied scientific method.
Now let's get into societal beauty standards. I'm only going to focus on women, because it seems to not effect men as harshly, and to prevent this post from being entirely too long. It is no secret that western society places a higher value on Eurocentric beauty. This standard is reinforced through film, tv, music, fashion, toys, books etc. Right now I'm quite sure everyone can conjure up an image of straight hair blowing in the wind, skin being described as porcelain, terms like "Blondes have more fun" and "blue-eyed blond. When is the last time you saw, heard, or read "sun kissed curls of her afro", or "gorgeous almond eyed brunette". How many dolls have you seen with afro textured hair? See my point?
Even features that are common to women of color are only revered when they occur on white women. For example Angelina Jolie is lauded for having prominent luscious lips, however millions of black women have these same lips. Kim Kardasian's rump is her claim to fame (Yes I know that she is 1/2 middle eastern, but she is still mostly phenotypically "white"), yet again millions of black women have this same body type.
Whereas many natural physical traits of women of color are seen as things that need to be "corrected". Millions, scratch that. Billions of dollars are made off of cosmetic surgery to thin noses, skin fading creams, color contact lenses, chemical hair relaxers to alter the natural texture of black hair.
Before anyone even starts to write a comment about how, "I don't relax my hair because of Eurocentric beauty ideals. I do it to make my hair easier to do!" Our hair was easy to do for thousands of years, now all of a sudden, it's too hard to do? I think not. If you want to relax your hair, that's your prerogative and I'm not mad at you. If I could afford it, I'd get liposuction so that my abs would be more defined. Some asian women have surgery to created double lids for their eyes, some jewish women have rhinoplasty done on their nose, some white women get breast implants. We are all influenced by the beauty standards of the society that we were raised in. I just admit to it.
Finally the study posits that despite being the most unattractive "mutated" women in the world, black women have the highest self image of all women. Let us entertain that notion. If your whole life, everywhere you look in society tells you that your hair in it's natural state is unacceptable, the shape of your nose is unattractive, the strength and shape of your muscular physique is "masculine" and therefore less desirable, and your skin is too dark etc; who else is there to tell us that we are beautiful but us? We have to have a higher self-image to counteract a life of negative reinforcement about how our beauty is not acceptable in it's natural form, and all the pressure to fit a beauty ideal that is not based on our natural attributes.
[Edited on 4/19 to change the terms African-American to Black for clarity. Not all women of African descent are automatically American, so using the world Black is more inclusive.]
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