Race and Beauty in a Media Contrived Society

Topics: Stereotype, Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye Pages: 4 (1435 words) Published: August 19, 2001
Race and Beauty in a Media Contrived Society
Throughout Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye, she captures, with vivid insight, the plight of a young African American girl and what she would be subjected to in a media contrived society that places its ideal of beauty on the e quintessential blue-eyed, blonde woman. The idea of what is beautiful has been stereotyped in the mass media since the beginning and creates a mental and emotional damage to self and soul. This oppression to the soul creates a socio-economic displacement causing a cycle of dysfunction and abuses. Morrison takes us through the agonizing story of just such a young girl, Pecola Breedlove, and her aching desire to have what is considered beautiful - blue eyes. Racial stereotypes of beauty contrived and nourished by the mass media contribute to the status at which young African American girls find themselves early on and throughout their lives.

While the ideal of beauty is mass marketed the damage it does to society is devastating. By idealizing and pronouncing only one absolute standard of the "blonde and blue-eyed" as beautiful and good, it fosters the opposite and negative belief that young black girls would be defined as the opposite. For a young girl internalizing this it would be defined as the opposite. For a young girl internalizing this it would certainly develop a negative sense of self and worth. With black skin and brown eyes the young girl would find herself in a world where she could never find acceptance as someone physically beautiful and special. This stigma produces a feeling of absolute subservience and lesser purpose and worth creating a mindset of needlessness. A young African American girl would begin to feel invisible in these isolating conditions and create a world where esteem was non-existent. As noted by Gurleen Grewal: As Pecola demonstrates, this socially mandated charade of being something she is not (middle-class white girl) and of not being something...

Cited: Grewal, Gurleen. Circles of Sorrow, Lines of Struggle - The Novels of Toni Morrison. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Press, 1998.
Harris, Trudier. Fiction and Folklore: The Novels of Toni Morrison. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1990.
Matus, Jill. Toni Morrison. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998.
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