Lips Are In!


THE FASHION pendulum has swung dramatically to the left--and to the Black--and women of all races are now emphasizing the liveliest and most individual feature of their faces-their lips. This is the culmination of a long trend that has freed millions of women, especially Black women, of the brainwashing of the centuries. Because of this brainwashing, many Black women believed for many years that full lips--our lips--were unattractive.

The emphasis in these past years was on "corrective" measures, such as coloring within the natural lip line or using subdued lip color, to make the lips seem smaller. It was not at all unusual in these years for Black women to bite their lips or press them together in vain attempts to hide what was, in fact, one of their chief glories. The net effect of such practices was inhibiting. Black women were restricted to dull lipsticks; their access to a rainbow of color options was limited

What made this all the more appalling was that many Whites were openly worshipping the very features they caricatured in Blacks Throughout this early period and on into the '90s, with the sensational success of full-lipped Kim Basinger, Julia Roberts and other celebrities, there was a deep and largely unacknowledged view among beauty professionals and laypeople that full and generous lips were more attractive than stereotypical thin Caucasian lips This was evident in the pages of novels, where almost all major White novelists equated full lips with sensuality, warmth and beauty It was evident in the careers of movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren, whose allure was based, in part, on their voluptuous and full mouths It was evident in paintings and photographs and in the historical appraisals of the great beauties of history, many of whom were endowed with full and striking lips One need only be reminded, in this general connection, that the Queen of Shelba and Nefertari were surpassingly beautiful--not in spite of hut because of their large lips.

In recent years, this view--the view of history, logic and art--has made headway, powered by the fashion and sexual revolutions of the '60s and in the '90s by a more willingness of the beauty and fashion industries to embrace and promote Afrocentric and other ethnic beauty qualities. In the past decade, in fact, an increasing number of White women have had surgical procedures to enlarge their lips.

Black women played major roles in these revolutions, changing their perceptions of themselves and stimulating new changes in the fashion world. Black women who had shunned vivid colors dared to wear red, orange or light plum lip color and, what's more, they enhanced the lively colors with lip gloss and lip frost. …

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