Guide Reclaim Natural Beauty

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Of course, we live in a purposefully conscientious world today, where pedigree is often conflated with liberalism. Belonging to the tribe of Foucault-reading folk who indulge in woke debates over sparkling wine is something to aspire to. We ourselves have never been more outspoken in our criticism of the absence of people of colour in Hollywood and television. And where have the politics of egalitarianism been more apparent than in the fashion and beauty industries?

Ethnic discrimination has been so fiercely battled on the runway that inclusivity is now contrived almost to the point of painful cultural appropriation. How proud we are at this display of diversity! The successes of these women stand testament to the fact that, at long last, colour is in, and gloriously so.

That got us thinking. What formed the basis for hot or not, when it came to women of different races?

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Late nights on the internet spent reading Facebook group posts and Reddit threads devoted to uncomfortable discussions about race led us to a revelation. That template remains disturbingly Eurocentric.

The whitewashing extends far beyond digitally lightening faces on magazines and posters. Recall the popular floral wreath filter on Snapchat: like many filters, it elongates your nose, makes your face thinner and your skin lighter. Ironically, this very technique has deep associations with black drag culture and, much like hip hop, jazz, or cornrows, stands guilty of appropriation. Consider the faces that are applauded for their representation of a more diverse, ethnically inclusive beauty.

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Pakistani singer Momina Mustehsan who became an instant heartthrob following her viral Coke Studio song. It turns out that the default, the conventional, and the desirable are all Caucasian or nearly Caucasian. The very features that should have singled out minority beauties as representative of their ethnicities seem to be subdued. Typically black features, such as kinky hair or large noses, are muted. It is only when white women make typically non-white features trendy that they find acceptance.

Reclaim Yourself: Reclaiming Beauty and Movement Playshop

Suddenly, everyone seems to think that we all owe a debt to Cara Delevingne for making full brows a hot trend while remaining completely oblivious to how entire races have spent lifetimes plucking theirs to pencil-drawn sparseness. This is as much an issue of marginalisation by a mainstream culture, as of shamed self-identity. Why is it that the features we are most complimented on are light eyes, sleek, straight hair, pink lips, porcelain skin and straight, slender noses?

In striving for racial ambiguity, what are we really saying? In fact, it applied across the board to women of colour who have been deemed beautiful by the progressive world when, really, the progressive world just placed a bulk order for white with a twist. On the outset, politics and power might appear to only, if ever, be remotely related to beauty. Beauty inspires awe, a kind of reverence that can render its admirers supplicants. If beauty can command servitude, then its absence evokes disgust.

To be ugly is to be less than human, worthy of inexplicable yet justified derision. The history of slavery across the world is testament to this; one of the many ways in which our colonisers asserted their authority was by systematically dehumanising native people as ugly, savage, beastly beings, fit for servitude. While the dismantling of colonial beliefs is a burgeoning movement among the liberal non-white diaspora abroad, the discourse in India seldom moves beyond a trite — almost bored — conversation about our obsession with fair skin.

Where debates elsewhere have shifted towards the intersections of class, gender identity and expression, religious identity, and ableism, our vapid discussions back home have done nothing to wane the ever-increasing demand for fairness creams or matrimonial ads for fair brides. South Asian communities are rife with anti-blackness; the routine violence and racism faced by African students and tourists on Indian soil are extreme evidence of that toxicity.

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It was meant as a compliment. But it made us wonder, were we only beautiful when we were considered exotic? Could hegemonic Eurocentric standards of beauty be subverted into acceptance solely by fetishizing a feature or trait? Who am I? Can I find the woman I used to be? The one full of vitality, full of shine, full of laughter. I was trying so hard.

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In fact, too hard. What if she is gone forever? What if there is no hope? As a working mum, these were the thoughts were constantly coursing through my veins…it was not a pretty time in my life, nor my husbands, nor my kids. Role model? Yeah right! Having been a working mum myself for over 9 years now I know my first hits double digits next year!!

I understand like many of you that working and raising a healthy family is hard work. My name is Katherine Roodt and I help working mums reclaim their identity and embrace who they have become. There is more and more burnout than ever before, so much so that the WHO World Health Organization has declared burnout as a diagnosable disease; which can be as mentally and physically draining as many other illnesses.

And as we hear of more and more kids becoming disconnected, how is it any wonder when we as mothers have too much on our plates.

Reclaiming My Beauty ~ Fall in Love with You

My journey as a coach began over 17 years ago when I met and worked with my first coach. I started with career coaching and soon realised that I believed in more than just work and that people were so much more than just a job.