When I wrote about ASAP Rocky’s beauty advice that dark-skinned women should stay away from red lipstick, more than a few readers commented saying he was just stating his opinion and he shouldn’t be attacked for it. Their thinking went: ASAP just happens not to like how red lipstick looks on darker skin tones — what’s so wrong with that?
That logic reminds me of growing up around African-American boys who told me that they only found exotic-looking women with light skin tones and long, flowing hair attractive. They immediately shut down my rebuttals that they were subscribing to a dominant standard of beauty with the claim, “that’s just my preference.”
How can you tell when a preference or opinion is completely objective or when it is informed, even unknowingly, by societal notions of beauty?
I wondered about this when Solange Knowles engaged with yet another critic of natural hair on Twitter. Via GlamazonsBlog.com:
The user tweeted her: “if u would just slap a relaxer on that hair you’d b a dime piece, smh”
And she responded: “How about u put a relaxer on your ignorant mouth:)”
I got a good laugh from Solange’s usual quick wit and sass in shutting down her detractors. Still, criticism of the singer’s response loomed: is it ignorant if the Twitter user just prefers the look of straight hair?