Conversations around beauty have been a source of ugliness and racism this week thanks to the former West Virginia mayor and her disgusting post about our lovely and intelligent first lady. And we had to weather our share of obnoxious comments about Hillary’s pantsuits for years.
But this week also shows that beauty dialogue can be a source of amazing, unifying and progressive power. When society, even government, takes an intolerant, racist stance, sometimes it’s the world of beauty that pushes progress forward.
Just this week, Allure magazine published a thoughtful set of articles about muslim women, including their take on beauty and fashion, and their culture in general. For the first time, a non-white man, Dwayne Johnson — half Samoan, half- black actor, was named sexiest man of the year by People Magazine. Cover Girl named its first spokeswoman wearing a hijab, Nura Afia; and the transgender community held their first (in-secret) beauty contest in Indonesia. All of these stories not only affirm these diverse individuals’ beauty, but they empower them and others like them And, they give us a much-needed view into their worlds, allowing us to better empathize and support them.
There is no question, conversations around and depictions of beauty can be a source of angst, even cruelty. But the world of beauty can also lead the way. It can force conversations, provide new perspectives and hopefully, just hopefully, change our views for the better. And it’s not just me saying it. At the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women dinner honoring Nicole Kidman this past week, Frances Corner, Head of London College of Fashion, said (which I then tweeted out to the world :)):“We need to use the power of fashion to end violence against women.”
There’s no getting around it: most of us care about what we look like — some more than others. So instead of ignoring the important role it plays, let’s use it to tell a critical and meaningful story. Let’s leverage our fascination with beauty to make us more tolerant, accepting and loving.
So many of us are looking for ways to rebel against the increasing intolerance being spewed since the election…some by the very people in charge of running our government. There are MANY actions we must take to stop it, e.g., signing petitions, starting dialogues and trying to understand the root of the hatred itself. But there’s another form of rebellion too. And that can take the form of embracing beauty of all the lovely, diverse people we have in our country. Let’s buy more makeup from the brands that embrace diversity, let’s comment on the insightful beauty articles posted about different types of beauty, and let’s compliment others’ unique beauty in front of our children. These small actions will add up to a big difference. It’s not the only solution, but it’s a start. And, it’s fun, so why not?
If you’d like to donate to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, please go to this link and contribute what you can or Text to Pledge to 56512: UNTF20[space] Pledge Amount [space] Your Name.