Are blonde, blue-eyed icons such as Farrah Fawcett, Christie Brinkley and Suzanne Somers still considered the epitome of beauty? Two decades ago, when Allure magazine surveyed 1,000 men and women on what they considered attractive, it found that most study participants widely regarded women such as Brinkley as having the ideal "look," Racialicious reports. In 2011, though, gentlemen don't necessarily prefer blondes. So, what do Americans consider beautiful now and why?
"The regal, elegantly varnished blonde has been effectively dethroned," Allure reports in its March issue. "Not demolished, mind you--she still has access to a pedestal; it's just not hers exclusively, and it's come down a few inches."
And that's not the only new development. Allure reports that nearly 70 percent of those surveyed reject the idea that there's a definitive all-American look. Given that the term "all-American" often serves as code for those with Nordic features, this is great news. After all, most Americans--even white ones--don't look like they just landed here from Sweden. Also groundbreaking is that when study participants viewed images of models with various skin, eye and hair colors, 54 percent of women and 48 percent of men (majorities for both genders) chose a Latina model as most beautiful, and 61 percent of women chose an Indian male model as most beautiful. Both models share dark hair and eyes and light brown skin. That's a long way from Christie Brinkley! In fact, the celebrity picked as most beautiful is Angelina Jolie, whose ethnic makeup reportedly includes Czechoslovakian, French Canadian and Iroquois heritage. Known for her full lips, Jolie's looks are oft described as "exotic," but the actress-humanitarian is indeed white. Her appeal may be broader than that of a fellow white actress like Gwyneth Paltrow because Jolie has facial features that a cross-section of America appreciates. How influential is Jolie's famous pout? A whopping 74 of survey respondents told Allure they wished their lips were fuller, like Jolie's no doubt. Here are more findings from the survey:
- 85 percent of respondents believe that increased diversity in this country has changed what people consider beautiful.
- 64 percent of all respondents think women of mixed race represent the epitome of beauty.
- 46 percent of all women (especially white women) find fair hair beautiful
- 70 percent of respondents, especially women, wanted darker skin.
- 74 percent believe that a curvier body type is more appealing now than it has been over the past ten years.
It's heartwarming to hear that increased diversity in the U.S. has changed the definition of beauty. That said, we mustn't forget that in this age, women and men from minority groups still seek out cosmetic procedures to make their noses straighter and smaller, their eyes double-lidded and their hair straighter and lighter. Let's also not forget that skin bleaching creams and colored contracts remain in large demand. In short, while Allure's study signals that Americans embrace diversity more now than in the past, minorities here remain under tremendous pressure to change their ethnic features. The study also reveals that it's high time the fashion and entertainment worlds took note of what everyday Americans consider beautiful because on the catwalk and on the silver screen, people of color remain woefully underrepresented--appearing as sidekicks and tokens, if at all.