You Gotta Be - Desree

Project Name:
The name of our project is “Diversifying the Idea of Beauty.” We came to this name after brainstorming ideas for the premise of the project. We talked about how a woman is considered beautiful in most parts of the world only if she is thin, tall and has fair skin. This standard is a product of the West, and is especially attributed to the US. Obviously, most women don’t fit this
All of the women in a year of Cosmopolitan covers are white, thin, and blonde. America is a melting pot of cultures, yet this leading magazines has an almost shocking lack of diversity.
standard. That doesn’t mean that they cannot be considered beautiful. Globalization has universalized the stereotypical “ideal woman.” The media, along with the influence of the United States, has created an image of beauty that most people cannot live up to. Beauty is present in all sorts of ways around the world, and that needs to be made clear. The term ‘beauty’ must be diversified.

Mission Statement:
The purpose of this project is to demystify the western stereotype of the “ideal woman” by
One of our fliers featuring a W&M student
focusing on real transnational women. Our world is so rich in culture, and that should be embraced, especially in the United States, which is considered a “melting pot” for culture. This means that we must look past the skinny fair-skinned woman and understand that beauty comes in many forms. We will explore facets of beauty in other countries by examining their national media outlets and report how impacted they became due to Western cultural imperialism. This project will make a substantial contribution to women’s studies, as it will promote equality among women who are in the feminist movement. Feminists impose oppression upon one another by discriminating against women who are of varied nationalities/races, sizes, and sexuality. Until the internal tension is resolved, we cannot expect to move forward in our cause.

Disney Princesses are supposed to signify a dream of beauty and happiness in a
magical world, yet most of the princesses are white and impossibly thin.

Core Goals:

The core areas that we are going to focus on in our CAP project are race/ethnicity, weight, and sexuality/intellect.

We’re going to explore the multicultural aspect of feminism in our CAP because it is an important aspect of the movement that is just now gaining real attention. For too long, white privilege in feminism has been an “invisible knapsack” that some people have to help them (McIntosh, 12). It has been an issue that has caused division among the movement and examining how race and
anorexic_girl.jpg ethnicity affect women; our differences will instead serve to spark a dialogue. Weight is another issue among women hat is only recently undergoing serious analysis. Images in the media constantly barrage women with the ideal standard of beauty; which is white, thin, tall, toned and practically perfect in every way. The ideal weight for women today is an unreachable and unhealthy goal that promotes diseases such as anorexia and bulimia. With the “you can achieve anything cultural attitude” of America, women feel like if they can’t look like this they’ve failed. They don’t realize that this “beauty” is the minority and often resort to unhealthy means to obtain it.

The third issue we plan to address is the portrayal of sexuality and intellect in the media. Often they are put at odds with each other. You can be the smart career woman, but only if you’ve mastered every rule in the beauty magazines. Intelligence is often portrayed as a secondary goal for women. We plan to work on education in this area in order to counteract negative stereotypes in this area and provide realistic images of women.

Diversifying Beauty Community Action Project was created for
Professor Marcus's Intro to Women's Studies Course
College of William & Mary
Spring 2009