Magazine article New African

Who Is an "Ideal" African Woman? What Is "Ideal" African Beauty?

Magazine article New African

Who Is an "Ideal" African Woman? What Is "Ideal" African Beauty?

Article excerpt

First of all, thank you, thank you indeed for the overwhelming support through your feedback welcoming New African Woman into the world. Our desk is teeming with your encouraging letters, emails and those phone calls offering words of wisdom, constructive criticism and advice. In return we send a big group hug to those who are as excited as we are that finally a black female magazine they have been waiting for has been born and they are fully behind it.

This is not to say we haven't had criticism. There are those who believe we have got it wrong, pointing to the many other women's publications wobbling out there. I can't emphasise enough why New African Woman is poles apart from the rest. I will only say let our content provide the answer. Get a copy, get reading, as it is the only way you will find out why we truly are a fresh face in women's publications.

As I am sifting through your reactions, I can't help but be fascinated by the varied responses particularly to the launch issue's cover story "Black is Beautiful, admits Vogue", which explored the use, or lack of, black models in Western fashion circles. While standards of beauty have been around as long as the human race, in this era. the beauty world is witnessing profound cultural changes, and from the responses you have given on the topic of beauty so far, it is over whelmingly telling that this is an issue that will generate captivating debate for months to come.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

One reader sent in an email to warn that New African Woman is on the "fastrack to insanity by treading the route that 'commodifies' black female beauty... What you feature is not the ideal African beauty. The models are not the idea! African woman," he wrote.

In our newsroom my Ghanaian male colleague echoes: "He is right you know... my ideal beauty is one with 'great African endowments." Pressed to elaborate, he shies away. But we all probably know where he is at!

But what do you our erudite readers think? What is your ideal African beauty and who is your ideal African woman? Do you think African women are simply adopting the standards of Caucasian beauty as Khadija Sharife argues on pages 64-67 (In Vogue: Token blackness)? Is beauty about one's physical assets and traits or does self-esteem matter more than body image?

Should it matter that New African Woman covers this topic as one of its editorial cornerstones?

I cannot emphasise enough, too, how close to heart the portrayal of black beauty is to the ethos of New African Woman (read Editorial, July issue) and although the debate so far seems to concentrate on physical appearance-make-up, hair, and body size etc I want to touch on the issue of how we dress and the African attire. …

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