Black Beauty in the White House

The Obamas will affect our perception of beauty

obamas03.jpgIn 1533, Catherine de' Medici, wife of the Duke of Orleans, started wearing high heeled shoes to compensate for her short stature. Suddenly, her brand of high heels became the fashion rage in France. The rest is history.

This is only one example of how people in power can influence the definition of beauty. After the Spanish conquered the Philippines in the 1500's, the Filipino standard of beauty became white skin and round eyes in a land where brown skin and asiatic looks abound. Even today, after having won independence from the Spanish and Americans, Filipinos still admire the caucasian look. In other Asian countries, women have surgery to make their eyes rounder and more "Western." In many African and Asian countries, skin whitening cream sells like hotcakes.

But now there's a new look in power. Barack and Michelle Obama and their two little girls. The sight is still shocking to me - a black family moving into the White House. Now everyone is keeping track of what Michelle Obama is wearing. She is an undeniably beautiful black woman with brains and spirit to match. There is no doubt in my mind that the Obamas wiil diversify our perception of beauty.

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