This list comprises sources that delineate and decolonize established beauty norms that govern how we as a society understand, engage with, and value or devalue individuals based on how beautiful they are perceived to be. The politics of whose bodies can and should signify beauty are largely dominated by constructs of white supremacy and hegemony that very typically exclude racialized people and their bodies. The authors of the sources listed here broaden the discourse about beauty by explaining historically-based stereotypes and forms of violence like racialized fatphobia, but also centering powerful moments of subversive self-fashioning like the “Black Is Beautiful” movement of the 1960s and 70s, the iconic photographs of Kwame Brathwaite, Black beauty pageants and the natural hair movement.
About The Author
Kai (they/them) is an aspiring cultural and fashion historian. Their work centers the body politics of beauty, clothing, identity, glamour and style and their interactions with the meaning-making functions of the fashion system. Their work also attempts to decolonize exclusionary historical discourses by centering the histories of queer and Black peoples who have been systematically obscured from collective memory. Kai is a recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where they received a BA in Art History and the Cultural History of Dress and Fashion.