Mixed Race Beauty Gets a Mainstream Makeover

Mixed Race Beauty Gets a Mainstream Makeover


Marcia Alesan Dawkins, Visiting Scholar
Brown University

Are mixed race faces considered the most beautiful? A recent report from Allure magazine says yes. Results of a survey conducted by Allure reveal that 64 percent of its readers thought mixed race was the most attractive. The editors attribute the results to the growing population of mixed race youth. As much as I’d like to agree it appears that this is just another case of wishful racial thinking.

Here are a few reasons why. We need to remember that beauty and race are both social constructions—concepts societies create that may not actually exist in nature. As a result, beauty and race are associated with and impacted by class, immigration, gender, sexuality and marketing. Case in point: Since the Time magazine cover in the late 1990s, multiracials are more and more said to be the face of 21st century America. But what’s less known is that even this image was altered to look less “Hispanic/Latino” and more “European.”…

…With that in mind, we also need to think very carefully about what the rise in the mixed race population means. Despite interpretations of the 2000 and 2010 censuses, the idea that the Two or More Races (TOMR) population is somehow seeing a surge in the U.S. because of 1967’s Loving v. Virginia case is false.  Multiracial populations have been in existence since the days of exploration, colonialism and enslavement. The rise that statistics are tracking now reflects people’s ability, willingness, perceived advantages and comfort in describing themselves as multiracial. This growing trend is certainly laudable and may even be a sign of personal progress, but it definitely does not reflect a change in standards of beauty. It might be more accurate to say that the surge in TOMR identification is a sign that we are moving away from the old tragic mulatta stereotype. This stereotype—applied mostly to women—says that multiracials desire to be white and that they loathe the nonwhite part(s) of themselves. Note that what’s still missing from the conversation is how even this unfortunate stereotype privileges mixes that include whiteness and marginalizes others (i.e., Asian-Black)…

Read the entire article here.

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