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Nadra Kareem Nittle

The Changing Face of Beauty: Blue-Eyed Blondes No Longer Ideal

By March 27, 2011

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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.


March 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm
(1) Martin K. says:

Angelina Jolie is very beautiful and have has an exotic look that is versitile but I still think darker women are more attractive. Never thought blondes to be that attractive. Kim Kardashian, Tyra Banks, Beyonce and Paz Vega–now those are good looking women.

March 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm
(2) Robert says:

always interesting to read you stuff…

April 2, 2011 at 11:38 am
(3) Robert says:

I just read “Terry Jones’ Quaran Burning Sparks Afghanistan Riot, 20 U.N. Workers Killed”… and was heart sick.

And then I began to wonder what is the link between islamophobia and racism. Whenever I hear someone spouting hate towards muslims… it is usually a white christian (often Southern baptist) male preacher…

wondering what your thoughts are on this issue… How racism and religious intolerance… combine to make a lethal mixture….

(I was lucky… when I was six, my mother told me that we all pray to the same god, no matter what church we go to. So for me we were all going to heaven… Because of this catholics, christians, jews, muslims, buddhists, sikhs, hindus, etc… have always been equal… in enlightenment and delusion)

April 4, 2011 at 4:16 am
(4) Nadra says:

Robert, thanks for commenting and for your compliments. Yes, I think there’s a tie between islamophobia and racism, simply because our idea of what a Muslim is tends to be racialized. Muslims can be of any race. Middle Easterners can be Jewish, Christian, etc. Yet, in the Western imagination, Muslims and Arabs are mutually exclusive. Several months ago, I wrote a piece about islamophobia. Here’s a link: http://racerelations.about.com/od/diversitymatters/a/Five-Reasons-Why-Anti-Muslim-Intolerance-Makes-No-Sense.htm

April 5, 2011 at 11:49 am
(5) Hans says:

I think the human male is genetically programmed to be attracted by women who are slightly different from their own ethnic appearance. The evolutiary benefit of this is, that on the one hand the offspring will be genetically sound (no inbreeding) and on he other hand there’s enough similarity as a couple that will enhance the chance in staying together.
Of course in this globalising world more and more cultural forces will influence our behaviour. We get used to different appearances and we loose or overcome our innate xenophobia.

April 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm
(6) Raymond says:

Being a man who loves beautiful women, Angelina Jolie has always been one of my favorites, along with Marilyn Monroe.
I have no opinion of what male beauty entails, I do not even care, men, can’t live with them, can’t shoot’em.
There are many beautiful women in the world, The notion of an ideal female beauty comes from model agencies and the fashion clothing industry. I for one love women immensely of all shapes and sizes and there is not one attribute that defines them all where beauty is concerned. There is a great diversity of humans and down through the years of evolution it seems the more attractive have won out. There are many beautiful people who hook up and transmit their characteristics to their descendants. It is fitting that in all cultures there are beautiful women who I just go gaga over. Remember the song, I’m a girl watcher? Well, that’s me, and I’m not a young man. We as a species will be attracted to the beauty in the opposite sex, just the way it should be, not according to some ad agency that defines beauty so narrowly, but in reality as real people are not defined by models, magazines, and ad agencies there is beauty all around us if we keep an open mind and just look.

August 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm
(7) PlanetCharnBaby says:

Personally, I’m white but was raised in a diverse, overseas, military American neighborhood, in the mid 80′s and 90′s. It wasn’t until I moved back to the states that I noticed that stating someone was “blonde and blue-eyed” seemed to be shorthand for implying they were beautiful. In movies, sitcoms, cartoons even, if you were supposed to understand that the female love interest that was just introduced, was suppose to be alluring, she was usually a blonde. I hated this because I had red hair, which was usually shorthand for being irritating and ugly. I myself grew up with a preference for Latino-looking men, and felt darker-featured woman tended to be naturally more beautiful. So, I was very pleased when I started to notice, within the last 5 years, that blonde hair did seem to be going out of style. The girls I knew in high-school who dyed their dark locks sickly yellow, were letting them go natural and exclaiming “Blonde hair seems boring anymore.” and guys were starting to seem more attracted to brunette and redhead celebrities such as Salma Hayek, Halle Berry and Christina Hendricks.

One thing that does disappoint me is when I see Beyonce’s transformation over the years. She was stunning in her earlier years, and she’s still beautiful, but she lightens her hair and perhaps her skin now, which has made her look as though she’s just one flat lackluster color. I wish she’d read this article and go back to the original, colorful, vibrant Beyonce!

February 23, 2012 at 11:10 pm
(8) john mcAllison says:

I think this goes to show why it’s important that White people have a social structure in the world to promote their racial identity. Yes, beauty is defined by culture and White people need theirs to be protected from the influence of darker cultures that already have theirs.

April 4, 2012 at 3:20 am
(9) Tara says:

“70% of women want darker hair”? More than 70% of women already have dark hair. Of course both men and women still associate the word “blonde” with beauty, seductiveness, and looseness (and stupidity, let’s not forget), and I wouldn’t be surprised if plenty of dark-haired women found the blonde paragon as somewhat threatening. This is coming from a relatively unbiased redhead.

These studies are such garbage. Beauty comes in many colors, and it’s pretty much impossible to say what is more beautiful and what is less. There are handsome men and beautiful women of every shade. People will perceive an individual as beautiful if he/she appears healthy and symmetrical and confidant.

May 3, 2012 at 3:37 am
(10) susan neal says:

I am so sick of hearing about blue eyed blondes, Ever since I was young all you would hear about when it came to someone pretty was a. person with this coloring,If you didn,t have it then you just lucked out on having any looks at all acording to society. That is so unfair and believe me it can about ruin a young girls life.Im refuring to mine.I was born into a family of light hair and light skinned people,but I have dark hair, dark eyes and olive complexion and no Im not mixed Iam Amrecian and white just like the rest of my family. My two older sisters were considerd the beautys in the family and if they lighted there hair the slightest bit it went with there skin tone while if i lighted mine it looked toatoly stupid on me.So there I was not considerd the all amrecian girl just because of my ethnic looks.
I don,t let this sort of thing brother me anymore because Im now getting the reconition that I deserve and that every other person like myself deserves.Im not trying to be selfish, because Ithink that people of all colors have beauty and it;s time that someone put some empises on that and not just on the bleached blonde.

May 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm
(11) Heather says:

This kind of thing is such bull****. I am a blue-eyed natural blonde, and I grew up constantly being teased about not having a tan, etc. and this came mainly from other white kids. I am 35 and as far as I’m concerned, darker skinned, “exotic” women seem to me to have always been preferred over thin white women. Except maybe in some idiotic magazines like Playboy, which is completely artificial anyway. I don’t think it’s any more fair to assume that everyone considers white blondes to be more attractive than other women, than it is to assume that any one who isn’t white or blonde is unattractive. I think this is just biased, and has a definite racist undertone. People from all walks of life, all colors, races, nationalities are discriminated against. It isn’t one sided. And what about “ugly” or overweight people? This whole entire world is obsessed with appearances, and it’s pathetic.

September 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm
(12) Some Guy says:

Blonde chicks have been out since the 90s. If you really wanna know what the epitome of female beauty is just watch the evolution that the Bond girls have made throughout the years… They went from big-breasted blondes in the 60s to mixed-race and dark-skinned more recently.

February 13, 2013 at 11:08 pm
(13) RandomHispanic says:

I wouldn’t consider Hollywood as a racial diversity meter. There are a dozen reasons why James Bond comes up with a blonde, brunette or black girl, beauty is just one of them. We might as well think of affirmative action, or some subtle effort to change stereotypes, etc.

IMO, all Bond girls I’ve seen were smoking hot, and the black girl from the last version was particularly attractive to me.

February 28, 2013 at 7:07 pm
(14) Al-The-Ripper says:

Today in America, I notice that EVERYONE seems to think men with huge mucsles and women with huge boobs are sexy.
And when my friends show me this stuff, I almost want to
puke. It’s gross to me.(I’m Russian, so that might compensate for the difference in tastes.)This will sound racist, but I refuse to date blacks or mexicans, just because I find them so unnatractive. A lot of women I’ve met like men who are more delicate and have a sort of beauty that’s real and not artificial. And the only place I can seem to find it is Orientals. Why is that?

March 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm
(15) henrik axelsson says:

Robert, theres only one name under heaven by which we must be saved, and that is jesus christ.
Buddhists probably dont go to heaven:
“i am the truth the way and the life. No one comes to the father but thru me, ” jesus said.

Interesting article though. I find my taste in women has changed also. It goes back and forth. Females are fascinating…

April 9, 2013 at 7:12 pm
(16) Snowy Breeze says:

This is fantastic news!!! I love this article! I too, grew up hearing about “blonde chicks” being the best. Horse puckey! You know what I think is attractive? A woman who is friendly, carries herself well, takes awesome care of herself; eats healthy, works out, dresses cute, wears accessories, has a career, and confidence, and treats others well. I am a caucasian woman, but have always admired African-American women that were go getters and took great care of themselves: Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen, Janet Jackson, LaToya Jackson, Judge Lynn Toler…also, one woman I saw in a movie, who was Hispanic, I thought was absolutely gorgeous! She was in, “Next Friday”, with Ice Cube, and played his love interest who lived across the street with her brothers. Does anyone know who I mean? What do you think? I also love that thick, kinky phone cord curly, long black hispanic girl hair. It looks like a permanent, but it’s natural! Love it!!!!

April 27, 2013 at 11:59 pm
(17) deevan says:

I dont agree with this article.
The blonde white woman (for myself and the majority of people in North America) is the standard of attraction and beauty. Caucasian features are really the most attractive if one compares a beautiful white woman to what is deemed by some an attractive woman of any other background.

July 30, 2013 at 9:57 am
(18) carmen says:

It is entirely offensive that any one person believes they, ONE PERSON, can speak about what the “American standard” of beauty is. One American does not, cannot, and never will be able to speak for the entire population. Nor can a study involving one thousand people. There are billions of people on this planet. The obsession with being attractive to other people is sickening. Blonde, brunette, redhead, freaking purple. All hair and eyes and skin turns grey and wrinkles, respectively, and that attractiveness doesn’t hold your hand when you’re old. Men have tracked me down my entire adult life because of my figure and overall “beauty,” but not one of you, like most of them care about who a person is, which is really what matters when you try to have a long term relationship.

August 1, 2013 at 6:57 am
(19) Alibaba says:

I think blue eyed blonde women get a hard time.I still think they are more beautiful.There are alot of jealous people out there of them.I think they should start breeding alot more before they become extinct.

September 14, 2013 at 10:10 pm
(20) TediusZanarukando says:

I agree with this article and disagree with deevan. I am a Native American. The blonde Caucasian woman is not my kind of woman. I prefer brunettes over blondes and redheads, therefore preferring brown hair on Caucasian women and black hair on minority women. I am sick of minority women feeling the need to change their looks to look Caucasian. I am sick of people assuming that women are unattractive just because they do not look Caucasian or just because they are not blonde. Women should not transform themselves into something they are not. Babies are not born to believe that Caucasian features are somehow more beautiful than African or Asian features. They are indoctrinated into thinking that way. Pigmentation in and of itself does not decrease attractivity. It is the stigma that society has attached to varying degrees of melanin that does that.

October 24, 2013 at 11:44 am
(21) Janine says:

Why is everyone always trying to dethrone fair skinned women in this country. Seriously, it goes both ways. Ever hear a blonde joke? I’m not particularly fond of them. I’ve never heard anyone say “she’s more beautiful because she’s blonde”. Now a day you hear more about women being attractive because they are exotic. The very definition of beauty has changed. The trend of being blonde stemmed from Marilyn Monroeís day and age. Hey, letís face it, she was a very successful sex symbol and still she still is; but it never meant that beautiful is always blonde. Some examples from her era are Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Lucille Ball, Carmen Miranda, Katherine Hepburn, etc. None of which were fair skinned and blonde and they were seen as being very sexy women. I just donít agree with the article at all. I think our changing world has more to do about race and ethnic backgrounds, rather than hair and eye color or the tone of our skin.

December 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm
(22) courgettef says:

I also don’t think that blonde hair, blue-eyed women are all that attractive. However, I have read many of these kind of articles over the last several years, where a non-white women or white women who did not have those features, elaborates on how the face of beauty is changing in America. They all have one striking thing in common: They make a point of telling how blonde, blue-eyed women are not only “not all that” — but inferior. They often go into detail why and how these women are also flawed in their personalities, character traits or personal abilities. The comment section is usually full of men who will eagerly affirm the same. My point is, if it’s indeed true that women with these features have nothing to, why the need to put them down further? If you are comfortable with yourself and what you find attractive, there wouldn’t be a need to character assassinate someone who looks differently from you or who you prefer to date. Just leave them alone. Spend your time founding companies, franchises, designing fashion lines, writing books, movies, plays, and articles for and about women you prefer and leave the others out of them. If they are truly that unimportant to you and your world, there ‘s no need to mention and even less to compare. This article fails because not only does it exactly that, it encourages people to continue comparing themselves to the very features it purports to be ignoring.

December 31, 2013 at 10:34 pm
(23) BluIdvl says:

Say what you will to make yourself feel better but deep down you know that white is the preferred race and Nordic beauty will ALWAYS be coveted.

January 14, 2014 at 9:28 am
(24) ba says:

This race obsessed generation is an embarrassment. Stop this sort of conversation and get on to meaningful things. Who the h#ll cares what someone looks like? I thought we already did this? Why is this important? All I can see is that brown people have become what they hated in bigoted whites, and whites afraid to be unPC are bigoted against themselves. It’s absurd!

February 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm
(25) Jason says:

Y’all realize that Angelina Jolie is a natural blonde, right?

And her strong facial features indeed indicate that she has European ancestry, especially northern.

And don’t forget her striking blue eyes.

Just because she dyes her hair brown does not make her more ethnic.

Jon Voight is her dad, right? I can’t think of a more whitey white guy than him.

As for brunettes. My tall natural blonde Swedish girlfriend turns way more heads that any brunette I ever went out with. But I will agree with the article in that when her pale skin is slightly sun kissed, it is really a sight to behold.

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