The Twelve Years A Slave star, Lupita Nyong’o, was recently named People magazine’s most beautiful woman.
Some decisions made in beauty pageants and rankings of the most beautiful people in the world could be challenged because beauty as a topic itself is not only subjective but often biased. It always depends on the person judging or measuring said “beauty,” which is not clearly defined to most audiences.
Another problem such rankings seem to have is the possibility of being shallow. The category to hold the title of “Most Beautiful Woman” is not often defined and sometimes people question whether Angelina Jolie won such a title a few years ago because of her physical beauty or her kind acts of adopting children.
As a child, I grew up hearing my mother tell me that beauty comes from within and I should always be a good person. Such an idea is challenged because reasons why certain people are announced as People magazine’s “most beautiful women” are not clearly stated.
As an African teenage girl, some people think that I would be happy that Lupita was voted most beautiful right? I should feel like now I have a chance at being considered beautiful too right? Wrong.
Of course I am happy for Lupita and it definitely was a confidence boost seeing a Kenyan woman winning the title of most beautiful ,but at the same time, it was demeaning. Most articles written about Lupita’s new claim to fame mention the fact that she is African and that an African girl has made it as the most beautiful woman in the world; making it seem like by electing Lupita as most beautiful, People magazine has done Africa a favour.
Lupita was quoted saying, “I am happy for all the girls who will see me on it (the magazine) and feel a little more seen”. If anything, I feel less seen. Because I have a mass of black, coarse coils on my head instead of a buzz cut; skin a couple shades lighter than Lupita and a much bigger body – I feel as if I cannot be considered as the “beautiful” kind of African. Yes of course I am proud to see an African woman on the cover of every magazine and even happier that I have the right to say “I am East African too, you know,” every time Lupita is brought up as the topic of conversation BUT the tabloids should stop re-iterating the fact that she is African and look at her as an individual, rather than the representation of an entire continent (imagine how North Africans must be feeling). Beauty is not only subjective – it’s complicated. There is not one kind of beautiful, especially not in a continent as diverse as Africa.
This is my opinion on Lupita Nyong’o being voted the most beautiful woman in the world according to People magazine. Let ALAians Media know yours.