Beauty is emotion. It’s about what’s going on deep inside of us: who we are and who we want desperately to become. We’re never simply buying a lipstick, we’re buying a feeling. And a hairstyle is actually a hair-story about rituals and traditions. But the language around beauty isn’t quite as sophisticated. It’s actually painfully confusing and awkward. No one get’s it right these days. My girlfriends, those chat groups, especially the clunky corporations – we’re all stumbling over our words. Perhaps because beauty and race are so closely connected, it all gets very touchy.
The words we choose to describe beauty are both delicate and deliberate. For example, I love the term ‘Brown Beauty” and use it frequently, but to others, it’s a horrid subcategory and outdated. Use the wrong word around the wrong person, and all of a sudden you’ll find yourself in the middle of a situation. Words matter. And when beauty means so much to so many, who wants to put their foot in their mouth? Not me.
I’ve decided to make it my personal mission to rewrite some of the most silly words- like ‘ethnic beauty’ and ‘ethnic aisle’.
What’s ethnic anyway? Does my brown skin make me more racial than Gwyneth Paltrow? I’m absolutely sure she comes from some sort of heritage as well. Don’t we all? And who chooses these words anyway? A supermarket creates an ethnic aisle and now I’m ethnic? Are we really defining ourselves based on an industry’s need to shelf product categorically and measure sales statistically?
Let’s debunk the myth that hair and skin are ethnic. Beauty has been segmenting people for too long. Black women in the ethnic aisle, white women in the general market aisle, Latinas vacillating between the two, and Asians …well, are they supposed to shop only in China Town. We see how ridiculous this becomes.
I’m Black American, but what does that mean for my fine, thin, curly hair? I use a French brand Leonore Greylopens in a new window, a general market brand Rahuaopens in a new window, a sure-thing-brand Shea Moisture and my very own niche brand Georgia by Jodie Pattersonopens in a new window. I definitely can’t find all of that in the ethnic aisle, where only a handful of brands have existed since the 70’s. No innovation. No price differentiation. It reeks of neglect.
Beauty should be shared, cross culturally and globally. Product and tips flow from woman to woman, regardless of where the trend originates. We can find inspiration from others and make what use to be someone else’s, our own. Nora is Swiss and Vietnamese yet sites RiRi as her beauty icon and EriKa is from The Bahamas and looks to Victoria Beckham for posh, beauty ideas. Watch their videosopens in a new window and others of really cool women on my other, other site, Doobopopens in a new window.
Shop, think, live globally!