A Personal Essay On The Changing Faces Of Beauty

Words & Image: Rose Concencion

I personally believe that your environment constantly changes your views on what beauty is.

As a black woman I would look at my immediate family members; my sister and cousin who are tall and slim and my mother being a bit more rounded and short. I would compare myself to them and think that I didn’t look like any of those women. As a young girl growing up, I had thicker thighs and a bum but a super flat chest and so my family and kids at school would tease me about the size of my bum.

So, I started to look outside the women around me. In the early 90s/00s there was a thrive of black women in hip hop videos which were called “Video Vixens”. They were slim, but, “thick in the right places” as men would say. I saw how they were adored and it caused me to believe that they had the ‘ideal package of beauty’.

Things then changed as I moved to the UK and we settled in Essex. I was a teen and I started to noticed boys, but I also happen to noticed what type of girls they were attracted to. They were tall, blonde and wore a lot of make up. Being in that environment made me change my view of what beauty was at that time. And so, it wasn’t that I thought I was ugly, but, I wanted the approval or the ‘OK’ that I had some beauty about me.

It took me a long while to understand that every place, city or country has their own views and standard of beauty. I have to accept that and make my peace with it.  

I guess it’s what makes us so different and fascinating as humans. 

And it’s that difference in beauty that needs to be celebrated. If not the world would be a boring place if we didn’t.

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