Healing Through Beauty

internal beauty       Observation of the diaspora on Flatbush Avenue revealed that a solution for the low self-esteem that is propagated in the beauty industry is already underway and is coming from an unlikely source. There is a resistance to the low self-esteem and racial divide on which the beauty industry thrives coming from the very beauticians who help women and men achieve whatever type of beauty they want. In my interviews with several beauticians who work on Flatbush Avenue, it was very clear that, even though the beauticians see the media making beauty into some kind of unattainable pursuit of perfection, they themselves see beauty as an internal, personality based characteristic.

talking to a shrink       One of the interviewees, a business manager for MAC Cosmetics, said that the beautician becomes a sort of psychologist for his or her clients because the clients often seek the beautician’s advice for self-worth issues. We see that in the diaspora in New York, beauticians and make-up artists have a good amount of influence on the general population because they are the ones that the public sees for a highly cherished possession: appearance.

Knowing that a majority of the beauticians in the Caribbean diaspora think beauty is an internal quality is a refreshing revelation. It proves that one of the most influential body of workers in the diaspora wishes to see beauty advertised in a different light. By presenting beauty as an internal characteristic and showing the public that their most trusted neighbors- the beauticians- support this notion, community leaders may be able to change diasporic perceptions of beauty in a way that exalts good character over colorism.

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