Beyonce Named World’s Most Beautiful Woman: What does that mean to you?

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Sofia Vergara

WisdomIsMiseryPeople Magazine named Beyonce the most beautiful woman in the world this week. If you’ve been around here long enough, you already know my next question. In your opinion, does this mean America accepts the beauty of black women? I asked the same question when Sofia Vergara was named the most desirable woman in the world by AskMen.com. However, I was largely rebuffed. I didn’t know if this was because people didn’t believe we hadn’t made significant progression or because Sofia Vergara is Colombian. At first I disagreed, but after I saw Sofia Vergara’s Cover Girl add – where she is made notably lighter – I wondered if those people were right. Further, since Cover Girl is an international brand, I wonder if the world is ready to respect the fact that beauty comes in more shapes, shades, and forms than slim, pale, and usually accompanied by stereotypical blonde hair and blue eyes. For the record, I ask this question in regards to improving the acceptance of all forms of beauty since, as far as I can tell, not all white women fit that mold either.

My views on the pros for this nomination: Beyonce is African American; she’s a mature representative and not some teeny bopper in the fact that she is a 30-year-old woman; and she made the cover of a widely distributed mainstream magazine, People.

My views on the cons are relative: I’ve always found it weird that Beyonce almost permanently dyes her hair blonde – don’t ask me why. This just seems strange to me. It’s been blonde for so long I actually forgot at one point it’s not her natural hair color; I wonder sometimes is Beyonce a default role model. I like Beyonce as a person nowadays more so than as an entertainer. I’m actually over Beyonce the entertainer. I haven’t purchased an album of hers since Dangerously In Love. In fairness, I don’t purchase much music at all because I’m kind of a music snob these days; and lastly, like most African American entertainers, I feel Beyonce built her fortune on the backs of blacks but when she “made it,” she turned her back. Like some others, she only seems to pop up when she needs us to by a product or support an album or movie to remind us “oh yeah, I’m still Black yall!” For example, the fact that she never personally speaks on the many skin lightening media incidents she always seems to be in the middle of surprises me. To my knowledge, she never spoke on the most recent L’Oreal incident discussing her racial background either, which is even more awkward since People named Jennifer Lopez the most beautiful woman last year and J-Lo, who is arguably just as or more mixed than Beyonce, only listed Puerto Rican as her background for the very same make-up company. However, like a politician after the primaries, I know Beyonce is focused on reaching a larger demographic so she really has no incentive to cater to us (see what I did there?) except for when she needs something. As they say, hate the game not the player.

At the end of the day, I don’t want to take away from this accomplishment despite some of my general reservations. I’m happy Beyonce received this accolade. If I had a daughter, while I would prefer she look to a Michelle Obama as a role model I know that’s often unrealistic to expect of a young woman. Thus, given the other entertainment options like a Nicki Minaj or Rihanna, heaven forbid, I would jump for joy if my daughter chose Beyonce to emulate over them. At this time, I turn the floor over to Dr. J.

Dr. J: Wis… my brudda, but did you see the rest of the list? I was ready to anoint Beyonce but then I noticed that there were some names on this list that just let me know it’s full of crap. This is one of those lists that only serves the purpose of selling issues. Ask me how I know… I mean, I love Beyonce all day, I snort Rihanna everyday, but look who else made the list. Jennifer Hudson made the list! Meredith Veira made the list! I can’t believe this tragedy happened! And when I look at this list, I can name several people who I know won’t end up in the list.

As it pertains to Beyonce, I have mixed views. I think that she’s the epitome of the American woman in so many ways. She is a working mother and that’s real. She’s also a dream and a role model to women, not just young but old. I think that People Magazine is fully aware of this. That’s what our media does to us, they remind us that the unattainable is attainable. Or, they remind us that we are no where near success. Personally, i’d rather see a woman, a Black woman, who represents the majority of our women and still is beautiful. So my vote for most beautiful woman is, Taraji Henson. I love her… and so should everybody else.

For the record, I never agreed with Sofia Vergara. I like her, but I don’t love her. She wears way too much makeup. That raises a big point in all this, are these women even real? Beyonce is photogenically altered and so is Sofia. Where are the naturally beautiful ladies at?

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  • Uncle Hugh, BP

    "Beyonce Named World’s Most Beautiful Woman: What does that mean to you?"

    Considering People magazine named Julia Roberts the world's most beautiful woman four times, not much at all.

  • TanE718

    They needed to pick someone and it hurt happened to be her. That’s how I feel.

  • Larry

    What does it mean to me?

    I say great choice. I think she's a very attractive woman so sounds good to me *shrugs*. I'm a simple man. It's not like she won a Nobel Peace prize or a Pulitzer.

  • http://twitter.com/Amaris_Acosta @Amaris_Acosta

    I don't pay attention to the People's list. Their list of 'beauty' encompasses a lot of things (not just 'pretty' beauty), but even then, it just seems like a popularity contest. I honestly don't pay attention to ANY beauty list, mostly because I probably will not be represented, plus I don't care. in that same vein, Bey can do whatever, make herself casper if she wants. My daughter will understand that an entertainers job is to entertain, not represent.

    • http://twitter.com/SimplisElegance @SimplisElegance

      I definitely agree. I for the most part don't care about these sorts of lists, beauty is a ridiculously subjective thing (for the most part). I think People considers a lot of other factors that contribute to these celebs overall beauty. And when they can't find reasons, they resort to who is more popular. Beyonce is definitely a very attractive woman. But World's Most Beautiful? Hardly.

  • cynicaloptmst81

    It means nothing at all to me, lol.

    This doesn't add or detract a thing from my day-to-day. I'm still the most beautiful woman in my world (my boys) so I'm good, LOL.

    Congrats to her and all her parts…

  • WisdomIsMisery

    The responses are interesting.

    I'm generally confused by a few things when it comes to #TheBlacks: 1) How passive we are when we are represented. 2) How angry we are when we are not represented. 3) How we get in an uproar when relative list dont "represent us," yet how silent we remain when list only represent us. e.g., I've never heard anyone complaining about a 'beauty' list that only includes shades of brown not containing a white girl, but on the flip side, if a 'beauty' list includes shades of white and doesnt include a black girl, it's WW III on the Internet streets.

    Like I said….interesting.

    • http://twitter.com/Amaris_Acosta @Amaris_Acosta

      I'll try to address, but understand it is coming from the point of view of a black hispanic, and a third person account of my African American girlfriends.

      1) I am passive because when we are "represented" it's mostly either as a concession or with conditions. A Black woman who's real skin color we have never seen in print, who's real hair color we've never seen at ALL, who only panders to my demographic when it's convenient. Pardon me if I don't do backflips. Another example is how the majority of popular black actors that are making movies now aren't even American persay (Idris, Laz, Zoe, Thandie), or the majority of popular black models are either of mixed ethnicity or also un-american (sessilee, Liya, Noémie), yet they want us to be 'satisfied' about it when they neither look or speak like us, and really don't identify with our culture.

      • http://twitter.com/Amaris_Acosta @Amaris_Acosta

        2) I know it sounds contradictory, but even if they miss the mark, we'd at least like them to TRY, dammit.
        3) I don't really agree. Another blogger posted a list of 25 beautiful black women assigned by shade and I honestly thought my Twitter would break after it came out with all the complaints. On the flip side with the all white list, please refer to point 2. A list that doesn't enclude a black face at ALL yet is speaking on the epitome of "beauty" is a problem.

      • niksmit

        I've seen something close to her natural color (if it's not natural) before, but you're right it's rare. concreteloop.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/72543373.jpg

        As an AA woman, I approve of your third person account.

        • http://twitter.com/Amaris_Acosta @Amaris_Acosta

          The reason I noted my differing perspective is because in the hispanic community, this issue runs REALLY deep, but it is something we have just kinda accepted as "what is" and stopped caring. For example, note how many Black Brazilian supermodels, or models at all, that you know. I'll wait for it. Scouts go to a very small town known for a huge german/white euro population to recruit, even though it is widely known that the real beauty in the country comes from a multi-ethnic pool. I can name tons of other examples, but my point is that I probably don't take the entire concept as personally because it is just dealt with different, so I didn't think my opinion counted as much.

      • Larry

        I hear what you're saying and you're not wrong. However, it appears you are suggesting that there is only one kind of "black woman" that represents a black woman and anything that diverts from that is a concession or limited by a condition.

        One of the things I respect about the culture of different races is they are more or less very diverse within them when it comes to outwards appearance. Various hair style/colors….hell assuming if it's their real hair at that, lol.

        The whole pandering to a demographic when it's convenient always seemed like a rather interesting take when it comes to celebrities/athletes. I won't elaborate on my thoughts about this as a whole, but I seen in the past people give Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods the same kind of accusations, just to name a couple.

      • You

        I find this interesting. So do you think all the white actors look like other regular white people. I think not, do you think all the white actors are american. I think not, a lot of them are also from England and Canada. Some are mixed with Irish, Asian, and Native American. But, do white Americans stop seeing themselves in these actors and supporting. Answer is HELL NO! because white is white. no matter where you come from or what you're mixed with. If you look it, you are it.

    • Larry

      These are all interesting points and am also intrigued at this. Now that I think about it, it's rather comical to a degree, lol. I believe there will alway be a subset of people that will "hate" on whoever is on the cover because…well…that's what "we do". I'd be interested to see what kind of shade Michelle Obama would receive if she made the cover.

  • Jacy

    I'm the first to say that I don't care for Beyonce. I think everything about her is fake and I wouldn't want my kids looking at her as a role model. But as stated above, there are worst ones.

  • http://twitter.com/SaPiBon89 @SaPiBon89

    I love Beyonce that's my homey i bangs with her music, her work ethic, I have tons of respect for her. But esthetically speaking, as a black woman, I don't think her receiving this award is a nod or even a sign that America "accepts the beauty of black women", my beauty. Beyonce barely looks like a black woman to me. Is she beautiful? absolutely! a beautiful fair skinned blond. If anyone is to be rejoicing or feeling 'accepted' by this award its other blonds like her. idk that's just me, no shade to Bey but just on looks, she's basically just another white girl. Like Dr. J said if Taraji or Michelle O won, than maybe it would mean something for black women.

  • judyneno

    I am not a fan of Bey. Last album i got of hers was Dangerously in Love (like you WIM) which i believe was her best album. People’s Most Beautiful List gets it wrong most years so I don’t pay attention to it.

    Bey being most beautiful person just means next time we talk about beautiful black women…Bey is it, yet most black women in this world don’t look like her. Plus the blonde hair is a turn off for me too. Have you seen her standing next to her BFF Gywenth? Can’t tell who is more white.

    She is still a beautiful woman though at the end of day.

  • Naija

    It means absolutely nothing to me. It's cool that an African-American is getting the title and all, but she practically looks like a blonde white woman on the cover, so it doesn't seem as though there's much cause for celebration over diversity. I think B's a good-looking woman, no doubt. I just don't think most of these "most beautiful person in the world" titles come remotely close to reality.

  • starita34

    The "Black enough" phenomena is truly saddening…I know it goes very deep and that it's something that I can never truly understand, but it's really hard to read. Forget that Bey will never read this, what about the other light skinned women that read, only to be informed that their "Blackness" is somehow null and void because they aren't "Black" enough…that their beauty has an asterisk beside it…

    Sorry if I'm crossing a line, but seriously…it's hard to read.

    Bey is gorgeous. Naturally gorgeous too IMO after seeing her Tumblr…no, I don't love the blonde hair, but that's her choice, a huge percentage of women in America dye their hair. But we're talking about the People's magazine's list….it's a non factor IMO. Beauty will forever be subjective, it's an entertainment magazine. Why take this silly issue of a magazine to hurt people?

    "Like what you like, promote what you love. Disregard what you dislike, don’t bash what you hate." saminal

    • WisdomIsMisery

      Not sure who this is directed to but, for me, this isn't a "black enough" issue nor, as far as I can tell, was this discussed in the write-up. Beyonce is Black by birth. Thus, the "black enough" debate is null and void.

      The issue here is, Black or otherwise, Beyonce clearly downplays her "blackness" as she sees convenient. She's not the only one, and as indicated by the comments above you, must of us are used to this phenomenon – especially as it pertains to entertainers. If you want to plead ignorance on why Beyonce dyes her hair blonde, which is also related to why Sofia Vergara, who is a natural blonde, dyes her brunette to better fit into the mold of expectations and views of mainstream America, that is your prerogative.

      However, that is why as you referenced, a "huge percentage of women in America dye their hair." Why do you think they dye their hair? And why is that hair color predominately blonde? This only proves my point that the "standards" of society, or more accurately media, permeate and affect everyone of every hue. Do you really think women would dye their hair (or spend billions on beauty and weight loss products in general) if everyone wasn't bombarded with what is or is not beautiful for their entire lives? As a woman, I'm going to assume you are not that ignorant.

      Myself, not being blind to these issues, am clearly aware of it. But, as I said in the post, it is what it is and has been that way for years – and will likely remain that way for many more years to come, quite possibly forever. It's easy to dismiss People as "a non factor" but it is a factor considering People, and magazines like it, reach millions upon millions of subscribers. So it's even easier to dismiss this "silly issue of a magazine" when almost every magazine, among other mediums, have for years informed women (and indirectly, men) what is perceived as beautiful. Quite frankly, that historical standard of "beauty" is rarely representative of the many hues or weights that occupy not only America, but the Earth. The fact that so many accept this with such apathy only serves to reinforce our complacency on the issue but…

      "Like what you like, promote what you love. Disregard what you dislike, don’t bash what you hate." saminal

      • starita34

        FTR, it was directed at these comments:

        "Beyonce barely looks like a black woman to me. Is she beautiful? absolutely! a beautiful fair skinned blond. If anyone is to be rejoicing or feeling 'accepted' by this award its other blonds like her. idk that's just me, no shade to Bey but just on looks, she's basically just another white girl."

        "Have you seen her standing next to her BFF Gywenth? Can't tell who is more white."

        "It's cool that an African-American is getting the title and all, but she practically looks like a blonde white woman on the cover, so it doesn't seem as though there's much cause for celebration over diversity"

        • Naija

          FYI – The reason why people take issue with African Americans not making it on this list is because you rarely see people of darker hues and features that are traditionally identified with minority groups. In that context, this picture and the fact that she traditionally appears lighter than she actually is in commercials does nothing for the perception of diversity. I don't question Beyonce's blackness, and never implied that she isn't "black enough". That line simply meant to convey the idea that her inclusion won't necessarily be touted as a victory for the African American populace.

    • http://twitter.com/Amaris_Acosta @Amaris_Acosta

      Star, I completely understand your concern. However, you are discusing two different things. The "black enough" debate is internal. What we are currently discussing is society's beauty standards and how it is reflected upon the community, which is external. The "issue" is NOT whether we believe Bey is "black enough" to represent "us". The issue is that THEY do, and will consistenly choose NOT to deviate from this particular standard and showcase our diverse shades of beauty. It would be similar to Vogue choosing to only show blond Nordics and label them "most beautiful", and completely ignore olive tones, or Italians/Sicilians, or Greek, Jewish or even brunette. Then they feature Natalie Portman ONCE, & tell you that because of one cover that they ARE showing all tones and exploring all angles of beauty.

      • starita34

        Don't you think "they" see Black=Black=Black=Black? You don't hear many of "them" saying "you know, the dark skinned lady in HR" or "that tall caramel colored guy". To the vast majority of white folks, they're just Black.

        P.S. I really appreciate your tone. It's pretty obvious that I don't get it. – I'm not trying to be a jerk, I saw something that made me sad and spoke on it.

        • http://twitter.com/Amaris_Acosta @Amaris_Acosta

          To be honest, no, I don't. I have friends of varying shades, and yes, there is a difference, even though it is not overt. For example, my darker friend and I can both get angry and it is the difference between someone laughing it off and someone considering it a security problem. To a lot of people, I'm just considered "safer". A girl like Bey, with her hair color and more euro-centric features, is a level of attractiveness that is universally understood. Vary a little towards more "ethnic" (like say, Mary J whom we consider quite pretty) & it's a "meh". Too far from it and you are "exotic", or just not considered pretty at all. Google Viola Davis, she had a great interview where she addressed this in Hollywierd standards.
          I really hope this point came across as intended, & I didn't open a huge can of worms.

  • http://www.wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

    Beyonce is beautiful. She looks good blonde. She is a great performer and has a gorgeous new baby girl. I’m happy for her. So what shes light skinned? So what she doesn’t remind us shes black. It’s her career to do with what she wants. But People magazine and all the other mags that declare the sexiest so and so are just some peoples opinions. Theyre opinions don matter any more than mine. Or the people who think I’m beautiful with my dark brown nappy headed self. ;-)

  • http://youreratchet.blogspot.com Young Heaux

    "does this mean America accepts the beauty of black women?"

    I wouldn't say that. I'd say it means that People, and "America" has accepted the beauty of Beyonce…. and that's it. Honestly, Beyonce has long been embraced by white folks. She's able to do what many black women have never been able to, and I think it's because aside from her own natural beauty, her look truly appeals to white people. #NOSHADE it's just real.

  • King Jordan

    i was gonna say something earlier, but i thought it would be more prudent to this on it.

    that and my cell phone is very slow when accessing the web, i blame the Based Signal Gods.

    to me this a macro- and micro- level..

    on the macro level, i think this is important, because the majority of people, whether i/we like it or not, get their cues on a beauty (which is subjective; one man's birthday cake is another man's ether), so i get it, instead of a jennifer anniston, angelina jolie, at least getting beyonce this 'honor' is big, and maybe, this opens up the door for other beautiful african americans of different hues (megan goode, viola davis, etc.)

    but on a micro level, aka me? i honestly could care less about what magazine, especially a magazine not for us, not of us, not by us, thinks is the sexyist woman in America. i have my preferences for sure, but they aren't based off of Maxim, or People (Maybe Smooth tho, lmao) but rather off my experiences living where i am. then again, i'm a single black male, so it probably doesn't affect me as much as a black female. *shrugs*

  • Melissa

    Good for her. But I will never see Beyonce as BLACK. Just won't. I'd rather just call her mixed race or something, I don't know. Just not black. This accolade of hers will probably do nothing for "real" black women. Beyonce is for white people and mixed race.

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