This past week I was curled up in my bed watching a slew of music videos from the 80s and 90s. At first not paying attention to anything else but the ol’ school beat and catchy lyrics, I started to pay attention to all the young ladies in the music videos. I began to realize that either the actual singers or the girls in the background all had one trait in common—they looked like real women. Attractive women you could see out at night on the town, or running errands around the city. A variety of complexions, features and sizes. The more I noticed this commonality, the more I appreciated and began to compare it to modern day times.

From the newest sensation in the rap game, aka Nicki Minaj, to the video vixens making a name for themselves, nowadays you see women in media who mimic live dolls. Not necessarily throwing shade on these women’s images, but it is a domino effect that’s happening as more and more women are beginning to look like this. Back in the day, girls who dominated the game, such as SWV, Aaaliyah and Total, had natural talent to match their natural beauty. They rocked their natural length hair and embraced their full figures, and this made them feel relatable to the audience who were watching them. Not saying that these women did not have trends they embraced, but it was more along the lines of a similar haircut or a nail design, not necessarily implants or any type of plastic surgery.

Nowadays, media translates to real life. There is a thin line between what is done in entertainment and what is set as a blueprint for other young women. What are we telling young ladies when every woman we see is changing herself. Implants, injection, extensions, tummy tucks . . . the list can go on as to the numerous tricks you can use to change up your appearance. Yes, developing confidence should always start in the household, but when it doesn’t, young ladies begin to want to be like the women they see the most when they turn on a music video or an award show. This can also trickle down to young men, influencing them to want to have the same lifestyle as these rappers and leading them to try and find a girl like those they see on tv, or even encourage their current girls to fit that mold of all the women in the media. Some young ladies see that this certain look can bring them attention and so they start chasing ways in which they can look as “perfect” as possible.

It’s important that we know who we are as individuals and embrace it. I’m not necessarily talking about natural vs. perm or make up vs. fresh face, etc, but you should wrap yourself around whatever you personally like as an individual. Define your own beauty and make others gravitate to you. I’ve been hearing more and more women of color openly discussing plastic surgery to change their look, while, in reality, most plastic surgery is being done by women who want to have our natural traits.

So what are your thoughts, Is authentic beauty out of style?

-Ellisa Oyewo

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