Scrutiny| Black Beauty | Satoshi Kanazawa | Viva London 'Untouched'

Linda Wells, Deborah Roberts, Jane Hertzmark Hudis and Steven Teitelbaum, M.D. Photo by George ChinseeAllure’s Linda Wells | Beauty Reexamined

I truly chuckled reading this WWD article The Notion of Beauty Reexamined, organized by Allure editor-in-chief Linda Wells. Four experts — three women and one man —  come together to discuss the changing beauty standard of our time and WWD picks the shot of plastic surgeon Steven Teitelbaum defining the new beauty while the women listen with rapt attention.

‘So much for change!’ Anne said with a smirk on her face.

In this discussion Linda Wells quoted Tina Fey:

“Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass…the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to achieving this is Kim Kardashian.…Everyone else is struggling.”

A recent Allure study found that (in theory) women no longer only exalt those with blue eyes and blond hair as the beauty standard.

Deborah Roberts, a correspondent for ABC News and “20/20,” said, “Sadly, at least in the media we’re still coming about this fairly slowly.” She divulged that stories involving a beautiful, blonde woman as the subject or victim get instant attention from TV producers. Roberts, an African-American who grew up in a small town in Georgia in the Sixties and Seventies, said, “There was an ideal of beauty and it wasn’t me.”

There is no doubt in my mind that there’s a major improvement in a wider range of models being featured in fashion media, in terms of skin color. I will be astounded to read that Jezebel counted them and found no difference. If they don’t agree, we must read the list of magazines included because I see major progress on a more racially inclusive group of models.

Satoshi Kanazawa’s Condemned ‘Research’ on Black Women and Beauty

Confirming just how difficult progress is on this issue of skin color and models, an Internet fire storm broke out this month when Psychology Today published an article by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa titled “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?”

The article used data based on another study to make several claims such as “black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women”, yet “subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others.”

Psychology Today withdrew the article not because of political correctness — although words do not express the level of upset his article caused and Satoshi Kanazawa is being investigated by The London School of Economics where students have demanded his dismissal  — but because other researchers dug into the same data with very different results.

Psychology Today editor-in-chief Kaja Perina finally apologized on Friday:

Last week, a blog post about race and appearance by Satoshi Kanazawa was published—and promptly removed—from this site. We deeply apologize for the pain and offense that this post caused. Psychology Today’s mission is to inform the public, not to provide a platform for inflammatory and offensive material. Psychology Today does not tolerate racism or prejudice of any sort. The post was not approved by Psychology Today, but we take full responsibility for its publication on our site. We have taken measures to ensure that such an incident does not occur again. Again, we are deeply sorry for the hurt that this post caused.

This article is written to contradict the claims of Satoshi Kanazawa, analyzing his same research: Black Women Are Not (Rated) Less Attractive! Our Independent Analysis of the Add Health Dataset.

Viva London’s ‘Untouched’ London Show via 

Before complimenting Viva London on their interesting ‘Untouched’ exhibition featuring 54 models wearing no makeup or special effects in what is generally bad lighting, let me note that their model lineup disputes the point I just made about more models of color in fashion and style media.

95% of these girls are very young and white. Some are barely distinguishable from each other. With these caveats expressed, I think the idea of showcasing the girls ‘for real’ is excellent and refreshing. Anne

See all the images at


More reading:

Makeup Free, Smart Sensuality Beauty: Kristen McMenamy, Cindy Crawford, Nadia Auermann, Amber Valetta, Shalom Harlow, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen, Tatjana Patiz