Commentary: Black Women Aren’t Pretty. What?

Commentary: Black Women Aren’t Pretty. What?

A new study calls Black women unattractive in comparison to other races.

PUBLISHED ON : MAY 16, 2011 / 05:30 PM

It was if every Black woman on twitter let out a unified “#sigh” today when a “scientific” study stated that Black women are less physically attractive than other women. Yes, you read correctly—scientific.


In the study, published in Psychology Today, interviewers rated the physical attractiveness of its respondents on a five-point scale, with 1 being very unattractive and 5 being very attractive. On “average” women were found more physically attractive than men, but Black women were far less attractive than white, Asian and Native American women, according to the study. The study found that Black men were not less attractive in comparison to other races. (Though we wanted to provide a link to the study, it appears Psychology Today has removed the content from its site as the link no longer works.)


One can’t help but to understand why someone would release a sighful expression. It seems as if another depressing study is released every year, if not every month, about Black women. First, 1 in 5 Black men were marrying non-Black women, then 72 percent of Black babies were born to unwed mothers, now Black women aren’t pretty? 


As the saying goes, “Can a [sister] get a break?”


The study cites that on average Black women are heavier than non-Black women, and truthfully, in the Black community, this is almost an unspoken reality. Yes, on average there is a little more chest, a few more bodies shaped like coke glasses, and it’s no secret that there’s usually some more rear cushioning too.


Kanazawa writes in Psychology Today:


“What accounts for the markedly lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women?  Black women are on average much heavier than nonblack women.  The mean body-mass index (BMI) at Wave III is 28.5 among black women and 26.1 among nonblack women.  (Black and nonblack men do not differ in BMI:  27.0 vs. 26.9.)  However, this is not the reason black women are less physically attractive than nonblack women.  Black women have lower average level of physical attractiveness net of BMI. ”


I almost had to re-read the paragraph, however, when study author, Satoshi Kanazawa, blamed the “unattractive” difference in looks not on weight, but genetic characteristics. He boldly cites that because they have been in existence longer, Africans have more mutations in their genes and mutations decrease physical attractiveness.  He additionally cites that Black females are not attractive in comparison to other races because Blacks have more testosterone in their bodies—a benefit for men, but an unflattering characteristic for women. 


Mutations? What!? Next time we should review a study that examines how many other races visit plastic surgeons, make-up counters, and tanning salons to get some of those “mutation-like” characteristics.


In addition to all the negativity in the study, the author notes that even though Black women were found less attractive than other women, Black women, and men, subjectively rated themselves to be far more physically attractive than all other races. But, there may be an explanation to that. Throughout the years  Black families have tried to build-up their children with self-confidence. After years of discrete and non-discrete discrimination, I don't agree with the fact that Blacks think they look subjectively better, but I do believe that Black families have tried to avoid creating insecure children.


I think this study needs some objective re-examining.


(Photo: Finbarr O'Teilly/Landov)


Written by Danielle Wright


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