By Dr. Phoenyx Austin
In case you missed it, the now infamous article titled Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women, published yesterday in Psychology Today, set twitter and blogs ablaze. Why? Well if you read what Satoshi Kanazawa (the evolutionary psychologist who wrote the article) had to share about black women, you’d understand why. Basically he hypothesized that our “unattractiveness” could possibly be a function of our greater BMI’s (body mass index), our lower intelligence, our increased load of “genetic mutations,” and even to our higher levels of testosterone. Basically, it was one of the most unscientific and ignorant articles I ever read. And after I finished reading it, all I could think was this: Psychology Today actually published this?! LOL!
I guess, evolutionary psychology, or psychology for that matter must’ve gone through some evolutionary change itself that no longer requires its researchers to think or even publish fact. Because interestingly enough, in all his “hypothesizing” about black women, Mr. Kanazawa decided to completely ignore fact, and substitute it with fiction. Furthermore, he chose to even ignore the profound effect of social conditioning on perceptions of attractiveness. Well I’m not a psychologist. But I’m a medical doctor, have a degree in psychology, and that’s something I learned in undergrad Psych 101.
It doesn’t take a psychologist to recognize that our perceptions of beauty are greatly shaped by what we see, hear, etc… When we sit down to watch television, who do we see? Or rather, I should be asking: Who do we not see? It’s common knowledge that black women are not equitably or variably represented in the media. The general public is constantly bombarded with images of “beautiful” fairer skinned, straighter haired women (i.e. women that do not look like us), it ultimately shouldn’t be too surprising when black women are “perceived” as less attractive.
It’s a classic case of social conditioning. And it’s something that Kanazawa, interestingly enough, wanted to omit. The article has since been removed. But the damage has already been done to Kanazawa and Psychology Today’s reputation. And ultimately this article also displayed that being a psychologist, or any doctor for that matter, does not always require the ability to think intelligently and objectively. It also doesn’t require that one not be ignorant. But even through his very transparent attempt to bash black women, Kanazawa made a great misstep and accidentally pointed out one of the most amazing things about us. And what’s that?
Well, Kanazawa wrote this:
It is very interesting to note that, even though black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women, black women (and men) subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others.
I don’t know about you, but when I read this I got the biggest kool-aid grin. I smiled because it speaks to our resilience and strength. No matter what, you are not going to break a real black woman’s self-confidence when it comes to comparisons with others. You can’t convince a real black woman that she doesn’t look good, that she weighs too much, that she’s too “manly,” or that men don’t want her. I takes me back to one of the first poems I memorized by one of my inspirations and one of the most phenomenal black women, Dr. Maya Angelou:
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
So let’s keep holding our heads up high ladies. We’re phenomenal and we know it. Rock on sisters… rock on!
***Check out Psychology Today’s follow-up article.***
Are you kidding me!!!!!! He looks like a troll with a huge monkey on his face. The mole on his face is massive. Did I forget to at that this Satoshi person has a receeding hairline. His face looks like a Mushroom. Let's face it he is a racist Japanese man. He must be gay because he comments that "black men are the most attractive than any other race". Please get a life. Men of all races are extremely attracted to black women. Whether they come out and say it or not they like the fact that we have nice thighs, hips, behind and breast that we did not pay for… Oh! did I forget full lips and the fact that we do not need to tan. I will end by simply stating that we do not age as bad as other women from other races. So for the woman that the other races marry and think they have received a trophy just wait a few years. I assure you that they will look ten years older.
That psychologist who wrote that article on Black women appears to be a damn racist. Why would anyone claim to do research on such a topic, unless he was a undercover racist! I would not even give this guy two seconds of my time by reading his useless article. This is another excuse for someone to bash Black women.
I feel I have a very positive sense of self esteem but I must admit that for the next few days this man's foolish words will echo everytime I look in the mirror. I realize this post was an attempt to negate his rantings and uplift, but frankly I felt. ambushed. I look forward to my daily CN fix for a lighthearted break and instead was waylaid with a complete double downer. Ugh. I am sure I would have stumbled across this in my daily media wanderings. Just wasn't expecting it here. Tootsmom
this is all a way to get black women to feel bad about themselves.
no psychologist in the world is greater than the God i serve and know as Creator.
let the truth really be told and you will find that black women are more beautiful and more intelligent than most other races.
we have all the that the world desires, but can't get…where shall i begin…
we have the lips…we don't need botox
we have the hips…we don't nned a butt pad
we have the skin…we are already tanned
we have the hair…we don't need perms or weaves
we have the sense…we have raised our children and white children all at the same time
we have it all and whoever wrote the article is a "playa hata"
I Try, by Greenie
My self-esteem is high.
Why? Beacause I try.
I'm shy but I try
And that alone makes me fly.
Thank you Dr. Austin for printing this positive affirmation.
I am a 49 year old Black Woman and I feel as if I've been "RUNNING A GUANTLET" my entire life.
My Dad's opinion of Black folk was on par with the Boondock's character "Uncle Ruckus". We were raised in a mostly white St Louis neighborhood and I was always in the minority, from elementary school through college.
He would drive us through poorer neighborhoods. His mantra was "I work too hard, I don't want y'all to grow up and be like them n_____". Everything was always negative. We were never metaphorically held up to the sky like the infants Kunta and Kizzy to 'behold the only thing greater than us'.
My self esteem is low, but I know the Lord made us magnificently, and to paraphrase Z.N. Hurston, I can't understand why someone would deny themselves the pleasure of my company.
I only wish that mothers and fathers would focus on the beauty and accomplishments of our race, instead of pointing out the meanness and pettiness. It is counterproductive to scorn the disenfranchised and not do anything to remedy their situation. We are judged as a group people: whether you're rich or poor, fair or deep, elite or working class, we are all considered Black, and until each and every one of us has the opportunity to "get on the bus", we will not advance as a whole.
I believe that education and positive affirmation are the strongest tools to break the cycle of defamation imposed on us by ourselves and by social conditioning.
Mothers and fathers – if you want different results for your offspring, try different methods. Let's give our children the blessings the ancestors gave.
Although I agree that the article was ridiculous, disrespectful and all forms of negative, I (like some of the other posters) am a little surprised by how many people have replied by saying how this personally affected their days, made them depressed, made them cry, etc. If you know who you are as a person, an article like this shouldn't be ruining your day. Did I find the article ridiculous…absolutely. Did I suddenly go running to the mirror to question myself as a person and automatically see if I really was "pretty enough"? Hell no.
I don't need a misguided man in London to tell me my worth. My personality first and foremost makes me beautiful – and I learned that a long time ago…didn't need an article to make realize that. The fact that men of all races turn and stare when I walk by is just the icing on top. Words are just that…words. Only you can give them power by ingesting them, debating them, and feeding on them – thereby making them stronger than they really are.
Only you can determine your reality. Beauty & confidence should come from within. It's nice to get it reaffirmed by others, but if you're always looking for someone else to co-sign for you, or allowing someone else's concept/perception of you to totally derail you, that's the ultimate FAIL. I wish that the worst things I've ever gone through in life was someone trying to tell me I wasn't pretty – if that was the case, my life would have been super easy. But it's the trials that make you stronger, teach you something about yourself and make you better for it.
P.S. It's also a little sad how some people are trying to combat racism with racism by making digs on Japanese people (not just on this article but on the original post yesterday). That proves nothing except ignorance equal to the "scientist" who created the original article.
Since the study came from a psychologist, it must be reputable, and anyone disagreeing with what this gentleman has to say is obviously just angry. Let me now surprise the reader with support to the fact that my first statement is complete sarcasm. This "gentleman" decided to attack a race, which shows first and foremost, that he is out of tune with society or, perhaps, he is just angry that his race is not represented well with athletic skills, creative entrepreneuristic skills, social skills, nor do I know of many celebrities representing this man's race. I don't claim to be good at anything nor do I claim to be better than this "gentleman," but I do claim to be dating one of the most beautiful people on this planet. This person is a black woman, and, before I met her, I just figured a marriage was going to be about settling and creating a family. She has shown me over time that the goals for someone to satisfy all your expectations is not out of reach. By the way, she is intelligent and not-even-close to unattractive. I am offended this man is insinuating that I find dumb and ugly women goddess-like. I am not a black man, nor am I defending the black race. I am, however, attacking the brilliant (yes, I would venture a guess as a reader the word 'brilliant' is used loosely) psychologist for his lack of cognitive thought, and questioning why it is he does not visit an associate of his to assess why he feels he is inadequate to the point he must judge others. Let us pray that he does the world a favor and uses his brain first prior to publishing something else.
@Anon 9:42 am
"We need to recognize what is REALLY go on. There is a strategic plan to eliminate black women from society by making us more and more irrelevant and isolated. Look at how the media gives platforms for interracial dating or b/w basshing by black men…"
The plan is to eliminate black PEOPLE from society. They are just starting with black women because we are the easier target.
Were it not for the fact that doing so would make us stoop to this mans level, someone should do an article on him and where he is from. Seriously, lets compare Japansese women to , say Tyra Banks or Naomi Campbell or Iman. To think so many blacks contributed to Japanese relief when they got tsunamied recently. We are busy caring for others while they are busy being nasty rude and classless.
Anonymous @ 5:06, I AGREE!
The only reason we should even be acknowledging this is to SHOOT IT DOWN. Work on De-funding the advertisers who support this website and journal, but other than that, this type of crap SHOULD NOT be personally affecting so many black women. I mean, so many can dance around to rap and hip hop that describes us as WORSE(!), and this bunk article broke your day? REALLY? I musta grew up in a special spot where I was loved or something, b/c I was wondering why an Asian man was so focused on black women when Asian women have a 50%+ marrying out rate ANYTIME they are in non-Asian environments. What's wrong with THEM???? Work on dis-crediting this man, not letting BS like this break your spirit. Seriously. CONTACT the advertisers and let them know that there will be reprimands from this. And then follow through. But the time has passed us by for internet yelling and the time has come for internet repercussions.
I have to say that I've enjoyed the rebuttal article. I tried several times yesterday to send an email to psychology today but to no avail. I'm glad that another blogger and scientist was outraged and did a rebuttal but I will never ever purchase anything from psychology today.
I so agree with Anonymous @ 5:06 pm
I said this yesterday but will say it again. Black women are giving this tripe way too much attention. It does not deserve a second of our thought, let alone our discourse.
For Satoshi Kanazawa, this kind of misguided opinion poorly disguised as scientific data is nothing new. His overall career proves that he is nothing but a quack with a degree trying to promote his racist/sexist ideologies as science. He is to be ignored.
re: media perceptions. how come black men are rated highly for attractiveness?
That so-called study is not even worth getting angry over. It's just something else thrown in our direction that will only magnify our beauty, strength and resilience.
That study was garbage!
I kept wondering who/what was "Add Health" that he mentioned. It's a study from UNC. 🙁 Add Health is as follows:
The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) is a longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of adolescents in grades 7-12 in the United States during the 1994-95 school year. The Add Health cohort has been followed into young adulthood with four in-home interviews, the most recent in 2008, when the sample was aged 24-32. Add Health combines longitudinal survey data on respondents’ social, economic, psychological and physical well-being with contextual data on the family, neighborhood, community, school, friendships, peer groups, and romantic relationships, providing unique opportunities to study how social environments and behaviors in adolescence are linked to health and achievement outcomes in young adulthood. The fourth wave of interviews expanded the collection of biological data in Add Health to understand the social, behavioral, and biological linkages in health trajectories as the Add Health cohort ages through adulthood.
So…the charts and things referenced were based partly on what TEENS said about others, then the those polled were followed through adulthood. He was probably quite selective in which charts he used from them.
Craziness, all of it. I know better!
From a great article on Racialicious:
"Check for Scientific Racism
Wikipedia has a very useful summary (and a few interesting convos on the talk page) dealing with Scientific Racism. But the clearest example is actually found on the Wikipedia page for The Bell Curve, where an intrepid Wikipedian added a debunking guide for racist misapplications of science:
Evolutionary biologist Joseph L. Graves described the Bell Curve as an example of racist science, containing all the types of errors in the application of scientific method that have characterized the history of Scientific racism:
* claims that are not supported by the data given
* errors in calculation that invariably support the hypothesis
* no mention of data that contradicts the hypothesis
* no mention of theories and data that conflict with core assumptions
* bold policy recommendations that are consistent with those advocated by racists.
Be Wary of People Trying to Quantify What is Subjective
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And yet, every few years, someone tries to prove that x is definitively more attractive than y group. The closest science has been able to come to anything remotely resembling consensus is a link between symmetry and facial attractiveness.
Everything else is informed by personal preferences, how one interprets beauty, and cultural messages about beauty – which again, do change. What was beautiful in the 1980s and 1990s isn’t necessarily valued today. And globally, the idea of beauty shifts often. So trying to definitively state what is attractive and what is not is a bit of a losing game."
I didn't read the article bc the title looked like utter garbage however I learned via fb that this was being discussed on a morning radio show, so I went to check it out and only saw the rebuttal by Dr. Lyubansky. The pieced of this article that I did read absolutely brought me to tears. I'm not highly sensitive but it felt like a slap in the face and was very humiliating. I mean when is enough enough??? I don't understand setting out to berate, demean and cut down an entire race and sex and be so vain as to base it on beauty. I mean our Ancestors in America and abroad have worked so hard for us to do better and br better. This Dr. Kanawaza just spit in their faces. Anyway I could go on. But I did take a minute out of my day to thank Dr. Lyubansky for his response and pointing out issues with thie validity and scientific methods not used in this study. He write back basically saying that Dr. Kanawaza had a reputation for this kind od "research" and makes lots of money. He also felt disheartened and that it was important for him to respond. – pardon the typos sent from my iPhone.
I didn't even waste my time reading that article, it was trash. As soon as I heard about it, I choose not to humor the person who wrote it. Dr. Phoenyx, thanks for the words of encouragement! Black Women rock, we always have and always will 🙂
This article was a flock of crap. I don't care what degrees you have and what ivy league schools you attended. The mission to tear down the esteem and self-perception of the black race started WAY before slavery and continues to exist today, it just isn't as blatant as back then. Now, racism is masked by fancy degrees and big, useless words. It is rightfully so that we take pride in ourselves. I'm all for a boycott!!
One of my favorite poems ever!
Why do racists devote so much attention to a group of people who are supposedly irrelevant? Geez, someone needs to do a real scientific study examining non-blacks obsession with blacks.
Satoshi attacks black people because he knows he can get away with it. If the focus of his racial hatred was Jewish women, this "article" would have never seen the light of day but if it had slipped through, Psychology Today would have issued a formal apology by now after firing the editor responsible for approving it.
It's sad that Satoshi's niche is demeaning black women as society continues to emasculate Asian men.
If we want to hurt the author where it hurts, you boycott Psych Today and let them know why, then you look at the advertisers who support Psych Today and you call them and boycott the advertisers and let them know why, mention the author and mention Psych Today, let them know you will not support advertisers that support Psych Today, who supports the troll author. In short Boycott, let them know, Boycott the advertisers and let them know. Do not respond with anger, respond with GREEN.
Put on your poker face, remain calm or ignore. Articles like the psych today article are designed to TROLL and generate page hits and revenue. They say ignorant things just to get you MAD. Remember Poker Face, ignore, and boycott..Psych Today and all their affiliates and let them know what you are going to do. Do not engage them at the level they want you to engage which is anger….fight hatred with COLD revenge, hit their pockets.
I noticed that she slipped in that she is a medical doctor with a degree in psychology…wonder if that was in response to the people who kept questioning her in the Rihanna article. I'm probably wrong though.
I'm sorry, but this guy has an unusual fascination with people of African descent. Honestly though, I believe the attention black women receive, whether negative or positive, speaks to a much greater issue at hand…
I also agree with the person who said that not all black women are so sure of themselves… I have always battled low self esteem.
i don't like the whole "you can't convince a REAL black woman of this or that", black women can have low self esteem
I found this after googling this guy. He is notorious for making such generalist statements– "It's not the first time Kanazawa's theories have sparked controversy. He drew fire in 2006, for example, after arguing that poverty in African nations was caused by the lower intelligence of their populations."
Phenomenal woman is such a beautiful poem and it's the truth!
We cannot continue to allow this blatant "attack on black women" to go on. Especaially within the last 2 years, this article is only one of soooo many racist and hurtful tactics to beat us down. It needs to stop. We are becoming more and more isolated from society and now the mainstream is even trying to isolate us from black men.
We need to recognize what is REALLY go on. There is a strategic plan to eliminate black women from society by making us more and more irrelevant and isolated. Look at how the media gives platforms for interracial dating or b/w basshing by black men. Look at how they are real quick to throw out some statistics about Bw and std rate, abortion rates. All of a sudden, the media will have us believe that black women are not bm's "preference" and we are unmarriable, angryy, bitter, fat, ugly, etc.
We don't need to be bitter or angry- we just need to be AWARE, THINK, and EDUCATE ignorant people.
We need to stand up and command respect. Stop waiting for other's to validate us. Stop allowing other peoples' standards condition how we live or act. Recognize ignorance when you see it and correct it.. We need to embrace who we are and stop trying to be like other cultures.
I tell people all the time, "if speaking my mind makes me "angry" so be it; now, HEAR what I have to say…."
It angers me as someone who works in the research field, when some QUACK comes up with a study like this. It's "studies" like this that simply feed peoples distrust of science.
As to us thinking we're beautiful even when the world tells us we're not…speaks volumes about our character. I hope and pray that if I ever have children that I will be able to instill that same defiant sense of self worth into my child.
"It is very interesting to note that, even though black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women, black women (and men) subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others."
I too had the biggest Kool-Aid grin lol…we rock we rock and we have to keep telling ourselves that…even if no one else does or says so 🙂
I read the counter-article. LOL @ "I polled myself, 3 different times over 5 hrs." 🙂
I have never put much stock into most "scientific studies" and statistics, because the results are often skewed to support one's desires.
I have no reason to be mad at any of this, if the following is true: "You can’t convince a real black woman that she doesn’t look good, that she weighs too much, that she’s too “manly,” or that men don’t want her.
i like the take on everyone's favorite aspect of the article given by Very Smart Brothas:
"Got to take an odd look here though. How is it that enough Black folks thought that we personally looked better, but when asked about others, Black women rated below. Self hate going on? I’m curious as to how that little calculus works. Crabs in a barrel? Something ain’t right there. We might hate on each other publicly, but we ain’t about to sell out other folks anonymously, that doesn’t benefit us. I’m calling foul on those grounds alone"