Megan Seabron: "Through the Looking Glass"
I aim to show how media, society, the beauty industry, and women of color themselves play a role into racializing beauty and rejecting anything that does not meet the Euro-westernized ideal through critical photography. The first photograph titled “Predator” portrays Euro-Western beauty standards as a dangerous entity preying on those outside of the White beauty norm. Although the Black woman is resisting, the Euro-Western beauty ideals have a hold of her, forcing her into a construction of beauty that she will never fit (i.e. the mask).
The next photograph is titled “The Baptism” which reflects on skin bleaching and using dangerous chemicals in one’s hair to achieve straight hair. In this the Black woman is compliant with being bleached, playing a role in her oppression, while she is forced to see what she is transforming into (i.e. the mirror).
The next photograph titled “We’ve Got You Surrounded” shows the negative influence the media has on girls of color and the disconnect between what they look like and the images they are forced to aspire to. The Black girl is literally surrounded by images of Euro-Western beauty (i.e. magazines) that she cannot relate to or emulate; she also shows a form of resistance with her direct gaze.
The next photograph titled “Shattered” presents the issue of the internalization of the devaluation of women of color. The broken mirror represents the concepts of the “Beauty Myth” and the “Looking Glass Self”, where the viewer can be sobered by how the Black girl is processing this oppression.
The last photograph is titled “7 generations” which reflecting on the Native American idea of paying respect to seven generations before you and seven generations after, in regard to the “Black is Beautiful” Movement in the 1960s and the new “My Black is Beautiful” campaign today. This shows a distancing from the image of Euro-Western beauty (i.e. women and teenager having straight hair) to an acceptance of diverse beauty (i.e. youngest having braids) in mainstream culture (i.e. Black women on front covers of magazines), and the attempt of breaking the cycle of devaluation of Black women.