Ain't I A Beauty Queen?: Black Women, Beauty and the by Maxine Leeds Craig

Women In History

By Maxine Leeds Craig

"Black is Beautiful!" The phrases have been the exuberant rallying cry of a new release of black ladies who threw away their straightening combs and followed a proud new sort they known as the Afro. The Afro, as worn so much famously via Angela Davis, turned a veritable icon of the Sixties.Although the hot good looks criteria looked as if it would come up in a single day, they really had deep roots inside of black groups. Tracing her tale to 1891, while a black newspaper introduced a competition to discover the main attractive lady of the race, Maxine Leeds Craig records how black ladies have negotiated the intersection of race, category, politics, and private visual appeal of their lives. Craig takes the reader from attractiveness parlors within the Nineteen Forties to past due evening political conferences within the Nineteen Sixties to illustrate the robust impression of social hobbies at the adventure of lifestyle. With resources starting from oral histories of Civil Rights and Black energy circulate activists and ladies and men who stood at the sidelines to black well known magazines and the black circulation press, Ain't I a good looks Queen? will fascinate these attracted to attractiveness tradition, gender, type, and the dynamics of race and social events.

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Extra resources for Ain't I A Beauty Queen?: Black Women, Beauty and the Politics of Race

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The tongue-in-cheek use of “nappy,” however, is an insider’s joke. 43 The awardwinning book, written by black author Carolivia Herron, uses the image of kinky, nappy hair to upend the negative connotations of the word “nappy” and celebrate the resilience and beauty of black women. Ruth Sherman read it to her third-grade class because she appreciated the book’s positive message. A parent who saw photocopied pages of the book among her daughter’s school papers was angered to learn that a white teacher was using the derogatory word “nappy” in her child’s classroom, and she distributed photocopies of the material throughout the neighborhood with a note expressing her feelings.

As certain kinds of civil rights victories became commonplace, many African Americans questioned the significance and value of attempts to win formerly white contests of beauty. African American institutions, often representing a broader class base than the earlier middle-class sponsors of all-black pageants, returned their attention to celebrating black women’s beauty within African American contexts. Chapter 5 traces the development of the natural or Afro hairstyle from its origins, among activists in social movement organizations and on college campuses, to its transformation into a popular commodity.

Another body of literature attempted to assess the attitudes toward skin color held by black youths and adults. One of the earliest sociological assessments of adult African American attitudes toward skin color was published as part of St. 57 They found widespread rejection of dark brown skin and a beauty standard that favored light-skinned women. But, despite the favored position Contexts for the Emergence of “Black Is Beautiful” 39 of light-skinned women — or perhaps because of it — many respondents told the researchers that they would prefer a spouse with a medium-brown skin tone.

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