It’s a smooth 2017, the year of the Prophet Micheal “Stormzy” Omari, and still the big publications are getting it dangerously wrong. Yesterday, Cosmopolitan Magazine removed an article from their site entitled “The 10 Most Beautiful Women In The World, According To Science.” Luckily for me, my sister Bolu, grabbed a screenshot before the tweet disappeared and I can continue with today’s lesson; Why Are You Lot Still Doing This?
Cosmo haphazardly reposted Jessica Mattern’s 2016 Women’s Day article which is a rehash of a 2014 story that appeared in numerous beacons of hard hitting, fact based journalism including The Metro, The Mirror, and The Daily Fail proving the race is not just for the swift but those who will endure in upholding racist pseudo-science that falsely proves only white women are “the most beautiful” in the world. The “scientific” research conducted by plastic surgeon Dr Julian De Silva used the Ancient Greek formula for physical perfection and computer facial mapping to determine the top 10 was exclusively white. While all 10 women are beautiful, it is important these publications scrutinise what has been reported to them as science and the wider effects of their words. If De Silva’s research shows these 10 women are the most beautiful, what was his sample size? Every one of these publications failed to question the motives of this scientific experiment and were happy enough with the results to print articles that support European beauty standards as the default and the most desirable.
“Science has been used as a justification to propose, project and enact racist social policies” reads the opening to Rutledge M Dennis’ Social Darwinism, Scientific Racism and the Metaphysics of Race paper for George Mason University. De Silva’s biased scientific research is an aesthetically centred continuation of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species and more recently Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein’s 1994 The Bell Curve in which the authors use science to prove “racial differences in intelligence and the implications of those differences.” Herrnstein died the year of the book’s publication, but his comrade, up until the 20th anniversary of their controversial study, stood by their assertions claiming unapologetically “evolution continued long after humans left Africa along different paths in different parts of the world, and recent evolution involves cognitive as well as physiological functioning.”
I remember Dr Satoshi Kanazawa’s “Why Are Black Women Less Attractive” scientific research from 2011 in which he purported he had “objective” data that proved African American black women were less attractive than white, Asian and Native American women, the result of which was that “black women, who have more testosterone and so look more manly, are less attractive.” De Silva’s science does not work to assert the same obviously racist sentiments but is equally effective in erasing women who are not white from the equation and conversation about beauty. The persistence in publishing scientific findings that ignore entire subsets of women is as divisive Herrnstein and Murray’s ludicrous belief they could quantify African-American intellectual inferiority or Kanazawa’s “proof” black women are less attractive.
No longer will we allow publications like Cosmo to publish articles that weaponise science to further disenfranchise historically marginalised groups with impunity. The fact these articles “scientifically” proving that only these 10 women are the most beautiful in the entire- Beyoncé is still alive- world are still being published speaks to the desperation to cling to an antiquated measure of beauty failing under the weight of the fact whiteness is no longer the prerequisite to being considered attractive.
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