Are You Beauty Stupid?

I want to share a point of view with you. But I need you to close your mind’s eye and empty it, if you can, of your prejudices and your perceived “preferences,” and read carefully what follows.

First, forget all that nonsense that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” While there may be a mustard seed of truth in those dull, uninspiring, shopworn words, it isn’t relevant, nor does it negate in any way, what I am about to say.

Are you beauty stupid or ignorant?

I want you to picture a supremely composed young woman.

Imagine her dressed elegantly and stylishly. (This is no wanna be “sexy” diva, desperately seeking after the wrong kind of attention.)

And although you haven’t heard her utter a single word, it is obvious by her dress and the very way she sits quietly there that she is sophisticated and cultured.

She speaks. You are not disappointed. Her voice is like a lullaby–you are lulled by the lilting, melodious sounds produced by her being. Her refinement is confirmed.

But there is more: Yes, with her words, she further reveals that she also has an astute and thoughtful mind.

Like a prisoner held against your will, you are captivated. And you are not the only one. Everyone else is too. She has that effect.

Now, open your mind’s eye and look: Did you picture anyone who even looks remotely like the young woman pictured above?!

I would wager that, regardless of your race or ethnicity–and if you are truthful–the answer is most likely a no or hell no, and not a hell yes.


Well, her skin is devil dark when white is always in and caramel is trending.

Her hair is too short, too kinky when giant, corkscrew curls are the coveted hair du jour.

Her racial heritage is decidedly undiluted at at time when negro blended with preferably anything else but negro is all the rage. (Yes, I said negro.)

She’s not a man. After all, Billy Dee W., Denzel W., Idris A., and Michael E. have never been accused of “redefining handsomeness.” Because a man of color with some arguable level of attractiveness, regardless of the shade of his skin or the length or texture of his hair, just gets to be swoon-worthy.

But if desirability is a heap, then a dark-skinned woman, especially a black woman who dares to be too dark and with hair that is too short and too kinky, is buried at the very bottom of that heap under the weight of beauty stupidity and ignorance and self-hatred.


We have all been carefully taught to be beauty stupid.

However, here’s a truth: Since this young woman came to Hollywood in 2013, she has been hailed as the woman of color who is redefining beauty. But I think this is total piffle, utter nonsense! If you do not believe me, Photoshop her skin caramel, add some big, curly hair, and change nothing else, you will not be able to truthfully deny this: Lupita Nyong’o is dazzling!

For me, Lupita cannot redefine what she genetically is: stunning. But she is a reminder that it is past time to dispensed with our beauty stupidity; our destitute appreciation of the infinite combination of qualities that can make a woman uniquely enchanting; and for us black people, our evident self-hatred.

Call to action: Are you beauty stupid? If so, what are you going to do about it?

You might also enjoy these past conversations: Scary, Hairy Problem and A Supersize Arse to Die For.

6 thoughts on “Are You Beauty Stupid?”

  1. Well stated, Janine. Beauty comes in so many forms, shapes, and shades. I do see a change though–women of color are finally getting the due they have long been denied. As for Lupita, she is stunning and comes close to wearing that cut as well as you.

    • Lupita thanks you and so do I. There is change in the air, but we still have a long way to go. A long way.

  2. Ninety percent of people look at the outward appearance for beauty. However, beauty that is on the outside is considered ugly to me unless there is beauty on the inside. For me, I have to see the complete picture which in outside as well as inside beauty. This kind of beauty has no boundaries and is visible in women of all races.

    Am I beauty stupid? I don’t think so, but I see the stupidity all around me. Women are judged by their skin color, their hair type and not by their character. On the other hand, men can look like frogs and the world worships them and call them handsome.

    • Amen, sister. I agree that beauty is both internal and external, which is why I made such a point of describing her style, her manner, her voice, the content of her mind and her words. It all counts when it comes to real beauty. And as for men, I personally don’t find any of the men I mentioned in the post handsome. Yet, women of all colors are always swooning over them. For men, it is so easy and often undeserving.

  3. Anyone who is not hung up on colorism would see how beautiful she is. She has all of the hallmarks of true beauty beginning with her amazing facial symmetry.

    • This post is not about Lupita as it about an idea: The idea that women that look like Lupita are beautiful–no redefinition required! But like I said, Photoshop her caramel and add hair and it cannot be denied!


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