Open Thread: Black Women are less physically attractive than other women.

Oh. My. Fucking. God. Because I HAVE NO WORDS, allow me to quote from the post:

Recall that women on average are more physically attractive than men.  So women of all races are on average more physically attractive than the “average” Add Health respondent, except for black women. As the following graph shows, black women are statistically no different from the “average” Add Health respondent, and far less attractive than white, Asian, and Native American women.

and

The only thing I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women istestosterone.  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.

Psychology Today… WHY DO YOU HURT ME SO. Where’s the reflection on the role of racial microaggression in framing this post? Where’s the discussion of the social invisibility of black women? The objectification of women — they’re just more naturally attractive, indeed!

Y’all, I am flummoxed. That someone would SERIOUSLY SAY that black women are ugly because they are too manly and that that would be printed in an… ostensibly SERIOUS periodical… really just appalls me.

ETA: They pulled the article but someone uploaded an archival copy here.

Comments

  1. says

    Psychology Today is a regressive, steaming pile of shite. They seem intent on kissing the P’s ass all the way to the bank.

  2. Jhamin says

    While breaking out the average attractiveness of one race over another is misguided and wrong on so many levels I don’t think we need to debate if they are right or not, I’m actually more hung up on the initial link that “proves” women are more attractive then men.

    How can you statistically “prove” anything biological that is basically sociological in nature? If we are all up in arms about how one race is supposed to be uglier than the other, how can we take seriously a statement that claims the same thing about gender? I’m willing to believe that our socialization is more generous to one gender than the other but assuming societal norms equate to “truth” has historically worked out to be a pretty bad idea.

  3. says

    God, I just saw this and I was reduced to incoherent noises accompanied by outraged flailing. WHAT. WHAT. I want to rebut more eloquently, but WHAT.

    I fucking hate evo-psych.

  4. Attackfish says

    Soooooo, black women are less attractive than other women because they’re more like men. Okay, I need to crawl back into bed now.

    First of all, men? freaking lovely. Bisexual woman here, and men and women are equally beautiful/sexy, so being more masculine wouldn’t have any effect. Second of all, there are plenty of non-black bull dykes in the world who are plenty masculine, thanks. Who wants to bet that the women in the photographs for judging the attractiveness for both were disproportionately prettier than the average bear, made up, and presented attractively, while the men were average and presented in a way not designed to signal attractiveness? And I’m going to bet that they picked examples of less stereotypically beautiful black women as well, even leaving aside the fact that our stereotype of beauty includes whiteness.

    Next, let’s parse this idea that black women on average are more masculine on average than women of other races. There’s the long standing racist idea that blacks are more animalistic than other races, especially white people. We also have this demented idea that men are more animalistic/have stronger urges than women, who might be emotional, but certainly not lustful or gluttonous, no sir. Black women have also, from back in the slave days been stereotyped as oversexed. Like men. Only difference is that in men, it’s a reason for society to indulge them, and in black women, it’s a reason for society to castigate them. And neither have anything to do with biological fact, thanks. For gender, the stereotype keeps flipping. Before the Victorians, it was we oversexed ladies who had to be controlled. For race, remember the animalistic Vikings and the peaceful modern Swedes?

    And they never even considered that maybe the reason black men are seen as so attractive, is because our culture feels more comfortable with objectifying them in the same way as women? And also, men in general are ugly because of testosterone, but black men are attractive because of testosterone? their logic has broken my ladybrain. And what the hell was the point of sticking the “(net of intelligence)” part in there except to imply that A) black men are stupider than white men, and B) women care about intelligence and not looks?

    I’m kind of amazed that they managed to be so simultaneously racist and sexist. It’s such a perfect example of intersectionality that I should frame it. Or maybe make it its own bingo card.

  5. says

    There’s so much fail here. Between this and the last PT article to make the rounds (the one about women’s sexual desires that cited a forty year old romance novel as evidence)…ugh.

    As for “women are more attractive than men”…TO MEN, MAYBE. How does anyone honestly not see the logic fail there? If one sex was more attractive than the other, then women would be more attracted to other women than to men. (Taking “attractive” at its face value, “a quality that attracts”, which implies the objects/people are capable of being attracted.) There would be more bi/lesbians than straight women. Obviously that’s not the case, since the majority of women find men more attractive than women.

  6. says

    “Attractive” is not an objective standard, so what have they done? Asked their teachers, like that’s going to get you anything but a culturally conditioned OR highly subjective response. And what would cause evolution to give more “attractive” people daughters up front? You have got to be kidding me. ALL humans have more daughters than sons – if you look at oh i dunno BIRTHRATES YOU FOOL this is apparent. More girls than boys make it full-term, due to various fetal development issues which medicine is still trying to understand.

    What a pile of steaming, stinking bullshit.

    I do not see *anything* more masculine looking about black women generally compared to other women. And excuse me, are they actually saying that men with more testosterone are cuter than men with less, and then… what? Women with more estrogen are cuter than women with less? These hormones don’t impact a developing face or body in fetus-hood or childhood. I’ve read books that were total bullshit and THEY even knew that.

    Everyone involved in publishing this shit should be put in stocks for a week so everyone can throw veggies at them.

  7. Attackfish says

    Okay, now having read the one about women being more attractive, no, what it said in it’s false science way is that girls are prettier than boys. As in kids. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that girls are dressed for fashion and boys for play, especially as you climb the socioeconomic latter, or that adults are more willing to say “she will be a beautiful woman” or “poor thing, she’s never going to be a looker” than they are to comment about boy children’s appearance, (and no one wants to tell a stranger they think one of their students is ugly). And you know, since many of our signifiers of beauty are really signifiers of wealth, especially when the judgement is made by someone not attracted to the gender the other person belongs to, and black girls on average (for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with intelligence, oh Psychology Today, how cleverly you insinuate that) are less likely to have parents with incomes to spend on such signifiers… Hmm.

    The fact that teachers were asked to comment on their young students’ attractiveness is itself deeply creepy.

  8. Attackfish says

    By the way, while trying to find an alternate link, I noticed that their evo-psych section is chock full of defenses for evo-psych against “the politically correct”. The two I read seemed to think we don’t think that human behavior in any way reflects evolution. Way to set up a straw man.

  9. says

    I’m cautiously encouraged that they took the article down?

    We have been culturally conditioned like nobody’s business to perceive African features as less attractive than white/Caucasian features for a very long time now. Meanwhile, all other non-white races have been fetishized as super-hot erotica objects. Of course a lot of people are going to rate black women lower on the attractiveness scale. That’s CULTURE, stupid, not biology.

    What galls me is that if you presented all this info not as science but as an expose on the depths of racism in our societies, then it would be a good article. The fact they don’t recognize the irony makes it all painful as hell.

    I’m also still having trouble with this whole idea that women are more beautiful than men. If that’s true, why do we need cosmetic surgery, dermatology, makeup and all sorts of shit done to our hair to attract men? Why is it, even though men claim that stuff doesn’t matter to them and they’d fuck anything, that they assume a woman who looks natural isn’t interested in dating and has let herself go? Because, like Attackfish said, there’s a lot of muddling overlap between wealth signifiers and alleged signifiers of physical beauty. The truth is, people left to themselves and their hormones find beauty in a huge variety of physical traits that don’t sound remotely like what modeling agencies look for. But people don’t even realize that what they’re also looking for when they glance at potential mates is socioeconomic class. That’s cultural, not evolutionary. And again, black women aren’t associated with higher socioeconomic classes, even when they come from them.

    • Maria says

      @Jenn

      I actually think that was a punk move. By taking the article down, they don’t have to interface with criticisms of the post, or apologize, and that is what I would like to see.

  10. sbg says

    I … don’t think I have anything to add that hasn’t already been said, and better than I ever could, as I’m trying very hard to contain my bzuhhhhhhh?.

    That’s effed up.

  11. Dom Camus says

    Their “women are more attractive” theory fails mathematically as well as in sociologically. Each female child gets half of her genetic material from her father, so there is no generation-by-generation increase in female prettinesss predicted by this theory at all.

    (I note in passing that not only is Psychology Today not peer reviewed, it is not considered a scholarly journal in academic circles and as such I’m not amazed to find one of their writers talking nonsense.)

  12. says

    The fact that teachers were asked to comment on their young students’ attractiveness is itself deeply creepy.

    100% agreed!

    I didn’t finish reading the article. The claim that there can be an objective attractiveness is too much for my poor brain.

  13. says

    Dom Camus,

    Thank you, because I was so busy assuming that couldn’t be what they meant and I had missed something, that it didn’t even occur to me they were suggesting… I don’t know. That XX sperms carry prettier genes than XY? That increasingly ugly men paired with increasingly beautiful women wouldn’t average out to average-looking kids? This is sixth grade biology.

  14. Casey says

    JT,

    I’ve heard on Shakesville from psychiatrists/people studying psychology that Psychology Today is to legitimate scientific/psychiatric writings what Weekly World News is to legitimate news sources.

    This collection of articles totally seem like something awful that Renee on Womanist Musings would decimate.

  15. SunlessNick says

    That XX sperms carry prettier genes than XY?

    If I might nitpick, sperm are just X or Y. The other X comes from the egg.

    Otherwise, I share the general mix of befuddlement and outrage at the whole article.

  16. says

    Maria,

    I liked that post quite well up until the stupid shit about “as both a blogger and a scientist, I don’t want the content of either my research or my writing to be decided by popular vote” and pretending that because the site pulled a ridiculous piece of pseudo-scientific crap after significant backlash that’s anything like “socially responsible publishing and editing” on the part of Psychology Today. Responsible editing comes before publication.

  17. Korva says

    “Evo-psych”? Isn’t that the privilege-affirming pseudo-science that says it’s totally natural for men to want to piss in as many holes as possible and so verbal or physical sexual aggression and violence against women is completely normal? Color me entirely unsurprised that it is as chock-full of racism as it is of sexism. People who buy into and spread that BS would likely make good psychological case studies themselves.

    Jennifer Kesler:
    I’m also still having trouble with this whole idea that women are more beautiful than men. If that’s true, why do we need cosmetic surgery, dermatology, makeup and all sorts of shit done to our hair to attract men?

    Oh my goodness, yes. So. Bloody. True. Society doesn’t tell us that we are beautiful. It tells us that we’re unattractive, fat and defective unless and until we invest lots of time, money and effort to try and look like some photoshopped babyteen with a triple-D teat upholstery. If women were naturally seen as “more beautiful” then why are even elementary school pupils starting to starve themselves and hate their bodies for not looking like that?

    This is really too asinine for words.

  18. Patrick McGraw says

    This article IS from the nineteenth century, right? Because IIRC, that’s when “scientific racism” really took off. And that’s exactly what this is.

  19. M.C. says

    I tried to get angry at this article, I really did. But I just ended up lol because how can you take someone seriously who thinks that “women are more attractive than men” when we live in a world that has Alexander Skarsgard in it?

    And black women are less attractive than other women? But of course. And Zoe Saldana should stop painting her skin black because we all know that she’s actually a hot whitey.

  20. says

    I want to quote every freaking comment for truth. I do have one eensy nit to pick re: birthrates of boys & girls. More male fetuses are conceived than female, perhaps due to carrying less load, and male fetuses are more likely to miscarry. However, generally, more boys are born anyway than girls, at a ratio of about 1.05:1. (The trend of men being more prone to early death continues through childhood, and indeed, through life.)

    My first reaction to this article is: wut. It doesn’t even make sense! It seems clear however that this researcher has based his career on being a troll, and this is the very essence of trolling. I have to believe that this article was not published in good faith; either that it was published without permission of the editors or that they meant to stir up a shitstorm. I’m leaning towards them wanting to stir up publicity and controversy. Even people who are comfortable with the status quo would see through this. (Not all of them, but I think a significant number!)

  21. T says

    Patrick,

    Then you must be thinking about how in general the OK Cupid population doesn’t just rate physical appearance but also cultural bias. Just because you buy into a stereotype and then vote or rate accordingly doesn’t change the truth. I guess you could say black women are perceived as less attractive… but when you finish the sentence with “because people have a bias against them physically and socially” then it kind of just makes the people who hold this view to be lame prejudiced jackasses and I then stop caring about their opinion at all.

  22. says

    Revena,

    The second article convinces me the whole thing is a publicity stunt, and I think that makes me angrier than if it were just bald-faced bigotry. At least with bald-faced bigotry, there’s an opportunity to educate. When it’s just a publicity stunt, the people behind it will be laughing at the whole thing, knowing they are terrifically enlightened beings who would never really support such ideas. When in fact the very use of racism, misogyny or any other bigotry as a tool makes you explicitly and overtly a racist.

  23. Attackfish says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    It looks from the site that what PT does is vet someone (clearly not well) and then give them unlimited, unedited, posting access. The author of the first article posted using that access, and then the internet went rightfully apeshit, and the article was pulled. I’m guessing PT and the author of the second article went “Quick! Someone has to say something!” I think it’s less a publicity stunt and more the result of the world’s most nonsensical editing policy and poorly done covering of asses. I might just be undeservedly generous. Clearly they don’t think sexism, pseudo-science, speculation, and racism are a reason not to keep someone from having unedited access in the first place.

  24. Attackfish says

    Maria,

    The man also asserts in one article that parents take worse care of and expend less effort on their sick or disabled children (along with ugly or unintelligent children, because such children are a low return on reproductive investment) and speaking as a disabled person with siblings, sorry no, it works the other way around. That’s an insult to every family with disabled children that pulls together to help their kids. My mom and dad, and any number of parents of people with disabilities that I know (and I know a lot, aside from meeting them through my doctor, I also babysit for kids with special needs) will tell you that the healthy kids in the family frequently end up ignored, because they aren’t in any danger of dying at that moment, their issues can wait (and they wait and wait and wait). Jealousy of healthy siblings for a disabled kid who gets the lion’s share of the attention can be a big problem. There is so much wrong with Mr. (Dr?) Kanazawa’s logic, on so many fronts, I don’t even know where to begin.

  25. says

    SkepChick has also taken this article on.

    T, I don’t understand what you were trying to tell me. Though obviously, my link above extrapolated just from reading the headline to this. I was just reminded of how “black women prefer white men” or “black women are less attractive” might also be a result of skewed demographics.

  26. Harrison Murray says

    Ah, more heteronormative, heterosexist, racist crapola from a popular “science” rag. I assume women and homosexual men weren’t consulted on the whole issue of men’s and women’s physical attractiveness, which is COMPLETELY SUBJECTIVE anyway and impossible to quantify and compare like a statistic.

    And it’s got a double helping of bigotry by evoking the shopworn stereotype of the hyperaggressive, hypervirile, subsapient African. Fabricated out of whole cloth a few hundred years ago to justify the enslavement of Africans, and it still won’t go away. I’m surprised they didn’t go all the way and start calling then “negroids”.

  27. kelda says

    Beauty is a standard that differs in different societies, because they value different things. Western culture generally worships white people, so *of course* our standards of beauty are based on white women. They are also based on the appearance of wealth– when food was scarce, plump was attractive, now that fast food abounds and organics are more expensive, rail-thin is attractive. The better questions are why a psychology study wasn’t cross-cultural, which to be conclusive it ought to have been, and why women even give a damn about a social construct of the oppressors.

  28. Jenny Islander says

    When I first saw this headline, I thought it was a joke, albeit a very bad one. This, um, genius belongs with that guy Stephen Jay Gould quotes in one of his books, who says that whites are obviously the pinnacle of humanity because white women have the prettiest breasts, except he takes about ten times longer to say it. Dude. Put it in the personals.

  29. says

    Jenny Islander,

    “who says that whites are obviously the pinnacle of humanity because white women have the prettiest breasts”

    I…I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

    I just recently argued with a friend the other week on Facebook about Patriarchy Today when he linked one of their “definitive” articles “proving” that women go for money, men go for looks. That tired canard for the millionth time, UGH. Even assuming that WERE true, these knuckleheads never bother to look at WHY males might go for looks, females for money. Gee, could it possibly be the centuries of women being barred from everything and having to marry into money if they ever wanted any, and men being trained to view women as some sort of alien sexual commodity who are inferior to them? Attitudes like that can take YEARS to cleanse off the cultural palette but nobody has any goddamn CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS about this stuff!

  30. Harrison Murray says

    JT,

    Welcome to the world of popular science magazines, which pretend to be scientific but have no more rigor than a Cracked article. At least Cracked is (usually) funny.

  31. says

    Jenny Islander,

    that guy Stephen Jay Gould quotes in one of his books, who says that whites are obviously the pinnacle of humanity because white women have the prettiest breasts, except he takes about ten times longer to say it.

    I’m guessing you mean Charles White:

    Ascending the line of gradation, we come at last to the white European; who being most removed from the brute creation, may, on that account, be considered as the most beautiful of the human race. No one will doubt his superiority in intellectual powers; and I believe it will be found that his capacity is naturally superior also to that of every other man. Where shall we find, unless in the European, that nobly arched head, containing such a quantity of brain, and supported by a hollow conical pillar, entering its centre? Where the perpendicular face, the prominent nose, and round projecting chin? Where that variety of features, and fulness of expression; those long, flowing, graceful ringlets; that majestic beard, those rosy cheeks and coral lips? Where that erect posture of the body and noble gait? In what other quarter of the globe shall we find the blush that overspreads the soft features of the beautiful women of Europe, that emblem of modesty, of delicate feelings, and of sense? Where that nice expression of the amiable and softer passions in the countenance; and that general elegance of features and complexion? Where, except on the bosom of the European woman, two such plump and snowy white hemispheres, tipt with vermillion?

    An Account of the Regular Gradation in Man, pp. 134-5

  32. Harrison Murray says

    Skemono,

    Charles White has a conical pillar in his head? I think he should see a doctor about that. Maybe that’s why his prose is so disgustingly over-ornate.

  33. says

    Harrison Murray,

    Yeah, I don’t know what’s up with that.

    Jennifer Kesler,

    No, Gould is awesome. He quoted that section (technically, he was quoting Stanton’s The Leopard’s Spots) in his book The Mismeasure of Man. That book examines the history behind attempts to measure intelligence, and how people’s prejudices and shoddy science led them to incorrect conclusions that bolstered their already sexist, racist, and classist ideas about how rich white men are smarter than white women, people of color, and the poor. It’s a good read.

  34. Jenny Islander says

    Whence the research that seemed to say that heterosexual men were most attracted to big eyes/broad forehead/small chin and heterosexual women were attracted to symmetrical features regardless of proportion? I take it this was junk science after all?

  35. says

    Harrison Murray,

    “such a quantity of brain, and supported by a hollow conical pillar, entering its centre” – I think it’s just a bad case of phallusitis. You can just lance those at home.

    Maybe we should start putting out our own line of counter-pseduo-scientific crap. Wherein we prove things such as “Kittens are scientifically the cutest of all animals, except for calicos, whom nobody likes because they look slightly more like dogs.”

  36. firebird says

    I want to preface this comment with my extreme tentativeness in posing what are basically my own observations. So if I’m way off base, just tell me to hush, huh?

    I moved from a horribly segregated, all-white area further south to an area with a civil rights background and with a very diverse mix of population about two years ago. I have been very happy here, and what I have noticed in my time here, specifically as it relates to black women, is that in general I find them more confident and less likely to take crap from others and often they have a louder speaking voice than women of other white and brown races I deal with. I am speaking in great generalities; I have worked with a couple of quiet, soft-spoken black women, and naturally I’ve known loud, confident, assertive white and other brown women.

    My point is that our overall culture wants women to be quiet, soft-spoken, “submissive”, etc. If black women are seen as I have found them, true or not, perhaps they are seen by some as less desirable because they don’t fit the proper stereotype of what women are supposed to be.

    I currently work with a lovely, honest, friendly, open-hearted black lady who challenges me to think big, believe in myself, and not take no for an answer, and I respect her for everything that makes us different. ;-)

  37. Harrison Murray says

    Jennifer Kesler,
    She(?) is mostly right. The vast majority of calico cats are female because cat fur color genes are linked to the X chromosome. A calico can only be male if it has XXY chromosomes instead of XX or XY, like a human with Klinefelter’s syndrome.

  38. says

    firebird,

    I may be off base, too, but I think that’s a valid observation. A lot of black women strike me as pleasantly assertive, and I find it refreshing because, well I grew up being counseled that when I didn’t let people walk all over me, that just wasn’t ladylike.

    Maybe if you’re white and middle class, you can play submissive without getting preyed on regularly, because you enjoy the “protection” of men in your class who would object to other men messing with “their” women. But as a poor white, I enjoyed no protection from anyone, and predators picked up on that. I learned early on (fended off my first two would-be rapists when I was nine) that if I was what other people called “nice” to folks, they preyed on me, so I had to be assertive. Took a while to tone down from “aggressive” to “assertive”, since I didn’t have any role models who were the right balance of what I wanted to be.

    But I think that’s what it is. The less “protection” you’re afforded by your class/race/whatever, the more incentive you have to be tough and confident up front, because that throws bullies off their game.

    But if I’m saying anything racist or whateverist or just plain wrong, I invite feedback and will listen. This is just how I see things.
    Harrison Murray,

    No wonder they say calicoes are the smartest cats. ;) Seriously, let’s make a graph, and then it’s TRUE!

  39. AmyMcCabe says

    Dom Camus: I note in passing that not only is Psychology Today not peer reviewed, it is not considered a scholarly journal in academic circles

    This! Also, for what it is worth, I’m bi and have found all sorts of women, including African Americans, attractive.

  40. dark & lovely says

    First of all is this article written by an educated person? Also I found this article to be sexist and racist. Why does the media always come down on black people? If it is not one thing it is another.
    Slavery is over and yet this society is still looking for ways and means to bring destroy black people. Whoever wrote this article is ignorant and evil. Stopped spreading garbage.

  41. Dallas Valerian says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    I believe that you are conflating attractive and attraction. People are mostly hard-wired in their attraction, either to the opposite sex, same sex, either sex, or neither sex. That means a guy might might like only women so much so that he even feels awkward expressing an opinion on the looks of another man. But he sure as heck knows which man’s looks make him envious. So even with his exclusive attraction to woman he can evaluate the attractiveness both of men and woman.

  42. Alanna says

    REALLY? He’s going to make a blanket statement like that about all black women (based on shoddy research, no less)? That’s just so wrong and hurtful. I’ve read some of Kanazawa’s BS before, and that’s exactly what it was and still is — BS. Evolutionary Psyche as a field has some serious problems, and Kanazawa just seems to use Evo Psyche as an excuse to be as racist, sexist, classist, etc. as he wants, and when someone calls him out, he goes “but look! Science said so!” without real justification. Ugh.

    In addition to being more racists crap from him, it’s just so patently untrue! I guess it goes to show how naive I am that this idea came as a surprise to me, but upon further consideration, I could see how this messed up, obviously false idea propagated. Perhaps you did an attractiveness poll, and it showed something about less black 7-year-olds being considered way above average than white 7-year-olds by their teachers (that IS a creepy thing to rate…). Stop and THINK about why the results might be skewed! People look at a bunch of white girls, some of whom are considered pretty, and then see a few black girls who don’t look the same as the pretty white girls, and they decide therefore they must not be pretty — and that’s pretty screwed up. The media constantly reinforces this by telling people is that these skinny white women with certain characteristics == beautiful. Anyone who doesn’t match up == not beautiful. If you are too short, or too “fat”, or your nose is bigger, or *gasp* have some other skin color, or feature type, it’s been slammed into people brains that this is not beautiful. WTF? Yes, there are celebrities that aren’t white, but it’s a smaller number, so the comparison criteria are even smaller. You don’t look like Halle Berry or Beyonce? Too bad. UGH!

    *goes off to mutter in the corner*

  43. arnie says

    Is there any scientific research to back up the claim that African women have more male hormones than White or Asian women?
    Also whether true or not isn’t saying anything that might be disparaging against Black people considered unacceptable racism.
    Why is it that the media hail’s as beautiful only Hollywood actresses , singers etc that have varying degrees of white blood, a la Halley Berry and Whitney Houston?

  44. Shaun says

    arnie,

    Not to my knowledge, no. Putting aside the fact that testosterone isn’t really a “male” hormone since everyone has some, white women tend to be hairier than black women, so if anything it’s more likely to be the other way around. Kinda wonder why this question is never asked, though.

  45. says

    arnie: Why is it that the media hail’s as beautiful only Hollywood actresses , singers etc that have varying degrees of white blood, a la Halley Berry and Whitney Houston?

    Probably because we’re dealing with the prejudices of a white-dominated media in a white-dominated society – they don’t even seem to realize how racist it is to only be able to recognize beauty when it comes with white-type features.

    Shaun,

    I wonder this, too. I’ve always had “excessive” body hair, according to OB-GYNs who were trying to assess my hormone imbalance. For some reason, the first question several of them asked was: “Do you have any Mediterranean blood in your background?” (I don’t, AFAIK.) Then in college I went to an African American nurse practitioner for my yearly gyn exam, and when she asked about my hair, I mentioned what the other docs had said, and she laughed and said the Irish and Scottish were about as hairy an ethnic group as you could find – well, I certainly do have those in my family background. So why were the other docs looking for some Other race to explain my oh-so-offensive hairiness? My guess is that a lot of Americans unconsciously associate ANY unfashionable physical trait with races other than white. Or something. Really, it doesn’t make any sense at all – and these are educated people we’re talking about.

  46. Patrick McGraw says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Yeah, that’s really silly. I’m also strongly of Scottish and Irish descent, and my family is hairy as all get-out. I can comb places where most people have no hair.

    But since when have Mediterranean ethnic groups been especially hairy? I think you’re absolutely right.

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