Apr 9 2011

The Darker the Berry…The More Invisible?

Los Angeles Times Magazine celebrated the “50 Most Beautiful Women in Film” in their February, 2011 edition. Someone at the magazine was given the task of deciding what beautiful looks like and they came up with the following fifty:

Note: the little gold and silver circles with numbers in them next to the photos represent Oscar wins and nominations, respectively.

It’s hard for me to take seriously a list of beautiful women in film that boasts Halle Berry, Dorothy Dandridge and Beyonce as the best (and only) representatives of beautiful Black actresses. I definitely don’t mean to take anything from those gorgeous and talented sistas, but they all fit into a light-skinned, Euro-featured standard that excludes gorgeous black women like Angela Bassett (Oscar nominee), Diana Ross (Oscar nominee), Viola Davis (Oscar nominee), Jennifer Hudson (Oscar winner) and Regina King (30+ feature films). I don’t know who composed the list, but the person or persons really should expand their idea of what beauty is to include those who have been gifted with plenty of pigment and may have fuller lips and/or wider noses. (Asian and Native American women weren’t thought of too highly by the judges either.)

The magazine’s masthead proudly proclaims:

“Los Angeles Times Magazine celebrates the region we call home with stories and photos of the people, places and pursuits that reflect our passions, our confidence, our style, our innovations and our possibilities.”

Our confidence. Our possibilities.

Well, I live in Los Angeles, and I see plentifully pigmented Black women on the regular, so I’d like to know why the people whose job it is to uphold the magazine’s mission do not feel inclined to celebrate them too.