Society influences the decisions that people make. Self-value arises from self-perception, and in the case of African American women, their self-value gets degraded by the media, which alters their beauty perceptions. Self-perception impacts their behavior since they adopt behaviors that seek to present them in perceived media beauty. Media provides images that are perceived as the ideal beauty and attractiveness standards, forcing African American women to compare their skin complexion and hair appearance with images from media outlets. Behavior adjustment in their hair and skin color is covered by the Destruction of Black Women Documentary and the NFP organization research, which provide relevant information to help in the formulation of an encouraging message to the affected women. This paper gives support and encouragement to African American women by reviewing how media presents negative images that impact their lives. They try to adjust their natural features as they evade their stereotypes.
The media ruins the self-image of African American women. From the documentary, The Destruction of Black women, the African American women attempt to bridge the gap with their white counterparts by wearing wigs that make them look like Caucasian women. This fact depicts that the destruction of the African American women’s images is disastrous since it intrigues a sense of lack of acceptance in the women, driving them to emulate the White women’s lifestyles. A personal struggle is living comfortably with the natural features intact without artificial manipulation of beauty. I believe that African American women can also get encouraged to accept themselves the way they are, which reduces the need for them to undergo artificial manipulation to enhance their beauty. Self-perception is an essential consideration while exploring this topic. I agree that self-perception defines how people view themselves. When African American women adjust their perceptions, they appreciate self-love, which makes them appreciate themselves the way they are. How is this possible? I believe that by developing a positive attitude to their skin color and hair, African American women become proud of who they are, and they avoid stereotypes against them since they believe that they appreciate themselves just the way they are. They express self-love by taking care of their natural hair and appreciating their skin color.
The theory that accounts for the African American women to align their behaviors is the social comparison theory. According to West (20), Festinger’s social comparison theory specifies that people use other people as mirrors to evaluate themselves based on physical aspects. When people compare themselves with others, they seek to improve themselves based on the similarity concept. People value attractiveness and based on environmental factors, and they adjust their behaviors to suit that of their surroundings. Media plays a critical role in determining the level of people’s dissatisfaction with themselves. By exposing women’s images perceived to represent beauty, compels women to try and improve themselves. However, these comparisons have adverse effects, including poor self-esteem and increased depression for women viewing themselves as inferior to the other women presented in media. The social comparison theory is responsible for the African American women lacking body satisfaction, which drives them to adjust their physical features artificially.
From the NFP organization lens, positive encouragement of African American women is possible by emphasizing the UNESCO mission and objectives. UNESCO is concerned with the maintenance of peace and international cooperation through science, culture, and education. From this perspective, I believe that UNESCO is a relevant key player in encouraging people in society to embrace ethnicity. Education is a viable consideration when thinking about transforming the perceptions in society. The UNESCO stakeholders emphasize the appreciation of African American women’s culture in their hairstyles and culture. By emphasizing these concepts, the rest of the world appreciates African American women. The media perception of the women also shifts to present them with positivity. This transformation bolsters the African American women’s self-image and self-acceptance. They then embrace self-love, which is an essential factor that ensures that they live happily and coexist with the other society members. UNESCO eliminates racial stereotypes through education and fostering cooperation among the society members in international communities.
The African American women prefer to take up hairstyles that represent beauty, status, and power. I believe that this belief arises from the slavery era, where such perceptions thrived in the slavery era. The African American women yield to the pressure of beautifying themselves by adjusting their hairstyles to suit that of the Whites to fit society’s beauty description. These racist events make the women lose their self-esteem and lack self-worth. An intervention to make African American women love themselves and appreciate their self-images encourages wearing natural African American hair. When they are in their natural hair, they should appreciate the self-value that nature endows upon them without listening to skepticism from the media and the other ethnic affiliations that undermine them. According to Darden(4), when understanding the connection between the identity of race and racism, there are several considerations, including the Critical race theory and the ethnic and racial identity framework, among other models that support the acceptance of an individual’s identity. In my struggle with self-love, self-awareness, and self-confidence, the issue of natural beauty remains a solid foundation for living positively. Accepting natural traits bolsters positive social change since the society accommodates the people and their beliefs since they are aware of their conditions. Society embraces ethnicity as a unifying factor.
A supporting factor to African American women appreciating their self-value is the psychological impact that the self-acceptance evokes in these women’s lives. Stereotypes against African American women lead to their mental health deterioration. These stereotypes against their aspects, such as hair beauty, lead to their preference for hairstyles that favor the white people’s preference. The African American women believe that their hair’s texture and length are unattractive and seek hair extension services to enhance their hair beauty. The African American women develop an attitude thinking that the ideal attractiveness standard requires women to have long, wavy hair. According to Darden (29), African American women get presented in media as being seductive and sexually irresponsible, argumentative and threatening, and maternal. These representations degrade their self-worth and value since media influences how these people interact with aesthetics. The African American women resort to adjusting their physical appearances, such as hair and skin color, from the psychological impact that the stereotypes have on these women. However, a sense of self-worth arises from the self-appreciation of natural looks and hair. I believe that despite the stereotypes that exist against African American women, change is possible. It is possible to change the perceptions of the African American women’s images through self-acceptance of natural beauty.
A Supporting factor to the adoption of a natural style is for the sake of physical health. Why does this consideration matter? African American women struggle with their images as portrayed by the media. The physical manipulation of their natural features depends mostly on chemicals as they manipulate their skin and hair. Exposure to chemicals from a young age is dangerous and negatively impacts their physical health. According to Darden(30), the chemicals which the African American women use to treat their hair has chemical compound including sodium, guanine hydroxides, lithium and potassium which have significant health impacts such as irritation, scarring alopecia, the fragility of the hair shaft, irritation and scalp burn. These health disparities reflect the negative aspects of chemical intervention for the African American women who seek to evade the stereotypes regarding their natural features. I believe that by informing African American women about their efforts in maintaining their proper physical health by avoiding chemicals, they can guarantee proper health devoid of the negative factors arising from chemical use on their bodies.
African American women must also get sensitized on the beauty standards based on their color. From research, I have discovered that African Americans view beauty from the ideal whiteness perspective. According to West (10), African Americans seek to meet the White attractiveness standards regarding weight and skin complexion based on the images presented in media. They also change their hair to conform to these beauty standards. The African American women perceive a light-skinned complexion as a better predictor of attractiveness than a dark-skinned complexion. Colorism influences their colour preferences since they believe that they are not as beautiful as light-skinned women. However, I do not believe that this should be the case because every individual is beautiful from their different ethnicities. The colorism concept originates from ancient times when racial oppression based on color existed, and African American women got criticized for their color. White supremacy ideology leads to the division between African American women and White women based on eye color, hair texture, and skin complexion, which form the basis of the definition of beauty. However, such notions as the association of whiteness with beauty must be eliminated, and the African American women celebrated for their beauty. This factor boosts the self-esteem and self-images of African American women. I want to encourage African American women to embrace their beauty despite the color difference.
In the American setup, the African American women perceive light skin as the preferred skin complexion. They believe that being lighter gives them a better attractiveness. However, this stereotype is wrong. I believe in encouraging African American women to embrace their skin tones just the way they are and avoiding the notion that being light is better for them. By accepting that their skin tone is good, African American women appreciate their identities and exercise self-appreciation. The media should present beauty without undermining the African American beauty in the African American women’s natural color. I believe that once the media presents the African American women as beautiful and attractive, then the African American women do not yield to the pressure of the White attractiveness standards. The African American women preferring intervention to make their skin lighter, shun away from skin-lightening products and appreciate their natural skin color.
In conclusion, African American women face different stereotypes that influence their preferences on beauty and attractiveness standards. The media images portray beauty and attractiveness as factors dependent on hair, skin color, and eye color concepts. The African American women fall for practices that seek to meet the attractiveness standards set by the Whites. However, these perceptions on the self-image of African American women are wrong. By countering the underlying factors that pressure African American women to conform to the White beauty standards, the problem is possible. I believe that beauty and attractiveness that push African American women to ruin their identities by adopting foreign beauty practices and behavior can worsen.