Beautiful Racism: Pretty Hurts

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Sabrina Coffee

Skin color should not change someone´s worth. No matter the differences of our skin, we should all be heard, seen, represented, and treated equally in all things (Photo courtesy of Pinterest, Photo credits to Sabrina Coffee).

America is a beautiful place, known as a ¨melting pot¨ to millions of people- or so it seems. America is pretty ugly. The country that is known for its acceptance and welcoming appearance has recently been turned on its head and is now seen as hateful and discriminative. A recent headliner in the news, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, has made quite the stir. Prejudicial and segregational practices have been called out dozens upon dozens of times as a reach for equality. It is time again to call out these practices- this time in the beauty industry. 

“BLM is very prominent in today’s world as it is an issue in today’s society. I can see how this relates to the makeup industry because women and men face prejudice there too,” exclaimed junior Genevieve Finizia. 

The beauty industry is known for neglecting the needs of darker colored consumers by only catering to eurocentric beauty standards. This is reflected by the lack of makeup products for those of color. 

¨Most beauty companies represent whites or make beauty products that are mainly for whites- which automatically makes African Americans underrepresented,¨ makeup enthusiast Kimberly Garcia-Quiñones told the Bengal Beat.

The beauty industry is constantly evolving due to its spike in popularity over the past few years, but it is still lacking in certain areas, specifically, inclusivity. Tarte released their Shape Tape Foundation back in 2018 and received severe backlash for lack of shade range. That same year, the Beauty Blender Foundation line also received hate for having a major amount of light colors and almost no darker skin tone representation.

¨People of color are underrepresented in the beauty industry because most brands don`t get shades dark enough for some of us and were not put in ads for makeup in recent years. Some brands such as Fenty have shown diversity and it’s refreshing to see people of color being represented and having foundation shades that are for them,¨  said sophomore Makiya Marshall. 

Rihanna`s, Fenty Beauty, is known for empowering black women and all women alike. Releasing forty shades of foundation, she has one of the most inclusive makeup brands yet. Major brand, Morphe, followed suit and soon after released a line of shades that contained sixty options.

¨If the issue isn’t fixed more people are going to think [discrimination] is acceptable when it isn`t,¨ said Marshall.

Over the summer, Sharon Chuter, the CEO of Uoma Beauty, created the ¨Pull Up For Change Movement¨. In doing so, she called on fellow beauty brands to release the statistics concerning ethnic breakdown in the workplace. Revlon, Glossier, and Kylie Cosmetics were just a few big names who responded to the post. Sadly, most responses showed black employee percentages being in the single digits

During beauty guru Jeffree Star`s video titled ¨SHADE RANGE WHO?? THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BEAUTY BLENDER FOUNDATION¨, the lack of shade range and options for colored people is made obvious (Photo courtesy of Youtube, Photo credits to Jeffree Star).

¨Everyone should be treated with a chance, not just [given or not given a chance] based on their outer self,” added Garcia-Quiñones.

This is not only a problem in America, it is a practice of systematic racism all over the world. In India, it is preferred that women be light-skinned. There are soaps made to lighten the skin of darker women, and it is common to only see light-colored women in their makeup ads. Women and men with darker tones face a lack of foundation shades just as they do in America. This is a popular topic in the Indian media

¨Black people deserve to be treated the same as [white people] because we are the same,¨ said Chandgie.

Some people speculate that makeup brands use the attention gained from neglecting people of color as a marketing strategy to increase sales, web traffic, and such. Ultimately, no matter the reason, colorism, racism, segregation, or anything of the sort is wrong and hateful. Beauty communities need to take a stand against this problem and work together towards inclusivity.