While biology/evolution explains why we are attracted to certain features, culture and social norms have always played a tremendous role. Case in point: the harsh stigma against being too white in Africa. Good news: The Root published a story about an Albino beauty, Thando Hopa, who, against the odds, has risen in the African world of beauty and fashion.
I have to say, this story was a bit of a shock.
For generations in the U.S., and even in many parts of the world today, white skin and light hair has been deemed the most beautiful combination. The cultural conversation, for as long as I can remember, has been about advocating for darker skin hues in the fashion mags and catwalks to mirror are “browner” society.
So to hear that white skin and light hair, in this case Albinism, have been stigmatized, stopped me in my tracks.
On the one hand, you can be depressed by this story. It seems that cultures just can’t help but segment people into the “beautiful” and “ugly” camps.
On the other hand, you can be uplifted by the fact that Hopa has overcome her own culture’s biases and can help teach her community that looking different CAN be beautiful.
I look forward to seeing more diversity like this in fashion shows and beauty shoots. First Africa; second the world!