Our beauty culture continues to let young girls down every single day. Even with the movements we’ve seen to promote the value of natural features, too often there is an underlying idea suggesting that women and girls are supposed to change the way they look to be considered attractive.
There’s an important conversation to be had–not only the messages we send through our unrealistic beauty standards, but also about our habit of sexualizing young girls (consciously or not) too young to even understand the ways that they are being exploited.
Believe it or not, Kim Kardashian has reached a new level of shallow behavior. I usually wouldn’t consider her latest posts on Instagram a significant news development and I don’t generally don’t make comments (at least in public) about how certain people present their own children to the public because it’s not really my place to do so. But I’m going to do it this time because the way Kardashian uses her platform as a beauty icon has a significant impact on the way young women and girls see themselves whether we want to admit it or not.
The trendsetter recently posted some images on Instagram of her daughter, North West, with her eyes photoshopped (by someone else) to different colors like blue and green/hazel, concealing her natural color of dark brown.
At first glance, posting altered photos of her child seemed like an innocuous, even predictable thing for Kardashian to do. It’s no secret that she has someone professionally Photoshop her Instagram photos and she’s notorious for being consumed with her appearance. In fairness to Kardashian, she didn’t photoshop the photos of North herself. They were actually images she stumbled upon online that were edited by fans. Apparently, she thought they were “cute” and decided to share them with her audience.
Of course, Kardashian has the freedom to do this because it’s her platform. But how many times have young Black girls been told they would be more beautiful if their eyes were just a little bit lighter? If their skin was had just a little bit more red in it? If their hair was a little wavier and softer?
How much longer will young Black girls’ looks be deemed attractive through adorning them with some physical feature that never belonged to them in the first place? Grown women should have the right to experiment with their appearance if it genuinely makes them happy. However, setting that kind of precedent for a child who never asked to be in the spotlight is unfair and can skew her self-confidence in years to come. Children should be given their privacy to grow into themselves, the people they were born to be—not the people they would be if we all perfectly adhered to westernized beauty ideals and had phenotypical White features.