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BellaOnline's Ethnic Beauty Editor

What is Beauty?

What is beauty? Most people may define beauty as simply what appears on the outside. Others may even state that beauty is a couple things that should be evident on the inside. Let's explore some misunderstandings about the perception of beauty, and discover what truly determines a woman's real beauty.

For a very long time, people with skin of color spanning the globe from India to Africa and everywhere in between, have been exposed to ideals and images of what the standard in beauty is supposed to be. This ideal projected to us has been just this: long flowing, straight hair, fair skin, light colored eyes and a tall, rail-thin body.

For many years, we've put way too much emphasis on straightening and lengthening our hair, be it with relaxers, wigs, weaves, etc. Many of us have, and still do focus a lot of attention on skin bleaching just to get lighter, even when we have no real skin problems. Some of us have even gone to great lengths to have colored contacts put into our eyes to give the appearance of lighter eyes - even if we don't have a problem with our sight.

Some may wonder, "Who originated and distributed this false standard of beauty through out the world in the first place?" Some of you, as well as I, understand the real deal here. Well, that's a whole other topic. As it stands at this present time, many of us have had only one thing to look to as role models in determining the standard of beauty for ourselves, our daughters and granddaughters: Actresses, singers, and models. Years ago, most of us have seen and heard about them all over the TV, newspapers and radio.

Today, we not only see and hear about these celebrities all over the TV and radio, but internet, books and magazines. Standards of beauty have even been replicated in some of the dolls we've seen in toy stores over the years. Another unfortunate thing to consider, is that we as people of color, have been looking to style experts, Hollywood and fashion designers to define beauty for us. This is not the way to go.

Don't Believe the Hype

The standards of beauty set by Hollywood and the like, has severely infiltrated our society. Our role models that are deemed as being the standard of beauty, are celebrities whose photographs have been drastically manipulated and altered with extensive airbrushing, computer imaging, and any other trick photography available for this use in the industry.

Also, these people can afford the best make-up artists, clothing and stylists for covering just about any facial or figure flaw imaginable. So even when celebrities make appearances on TV, you don't see them as they truly are. They are carefully and meticulously made to LOOK flawless.

How do we non-celebrity women (or men) compete? We simply cannot. Why? Because these images are an illusion. We cannot compete with some image that doesn't exist. Typically, these celebrities do not look anything like their photographs or TV appearances in person. The Paparazzi can confirm this fact.

We are unique people with distinct, lovely physical and inner characteristics. We need to embrace and love these qualities in and of ourselves. How do we do that? Read on to find out.

Loving Ourselves - Inside and Out

First, I believe every woman has something WITHIN herself or ABOUT herself that is distinctly beautiful. There are three very conclusive categories that make up one's TOTAL beauty. Keep in mind, the first two are MOST important in establishing the definition of TRUE beauty. They are:

The next thing to do, is take a look at the above categories, then seek to identify positive attributes about yourself. Be thorough and honest with yourself. Take your time about it. Do not look at what you don't like about yourself. Once you've realized or have been reminded of what those wonderful things are about yourself, embrace them and accentuate them. If there is something you truly want to address, that's fine.

It's OK to tweak a little here and there within those categories above until the desired benefit is achieved. And remember it's quite alright to look like you and not someone else. Look at your glass as being half full, not half empty. Be who God created you to be. YOU are a unique individual. There's not another anywhere in the world like YOU!

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