B1 Intermediate US 146 Folder Collection
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Transcriber: Kamilah Roca-Datzer Reviewer: Amanda Chu
I am a beauty disruptor.
I am a self-esteem advocate.
But more than anything,
I am a woman who's fed up with linear beauty standards.
I grew up right here in Detroit,
where the ideal image for black girls is light-skinned with long hair.
Well, I'm brown-skinned.
I was always curvier,
I had a gap in between my teeth,
and I had a flat butt.
Still do.
But I remember vividly
overhearing a guy describe me with the attributes I didn't have.
"She not even light-skinned."
"She's got a flat butt."
But at this time, you couldn't tell me a thing.
I thought I was so cute.
And that day taught me a valuable lesson.
It taught me how to love myself wholly.
And more importantly,
it taught me how to never allow someone else's opinion of me
to determine my value.
(Cheers) (Applause)
For the last six years, I've built a cosmetic company
with the idea to change the way we think about beauty for ourselves
and ultimately, how we extend that to those who look differently from us.
When I started making lipstick in my kitchen,
it wasn't because I was passionate about makeup - no.
It was because I was frustrated
that attractiveness was consistently looked at through a singular lens.
Today if you search the word "beauty,"
you'll end up with a sea of fair-skinned, thin, young women
as if good looks don't come in any other form.
And so, when we have those ideas in the back of our mind,
we really start to think that we're ugly.
We look at the beautiful people and we think, man, they have it all.
They're rich, they're in love, they're happy, they're successful.
And I could have that too if I just had ..., if I just changed ...
We start to think that we're not enough of something,
that we are lacking in some areas.
That causes us to stifle opportunities for ourselves
because we feel as though we don't belong and that we don't deserve.
And even worse, we extend that lack of confidence and low self-esteem.
We extend that onto our sisters, our friends, our cousins.
Because if I'm not enough, she's definitely not enough, right?
For years, women were taught
that our value was directly linked with our looks,
our ability to get married, our ability to have children.
And even today, now that women are starting businesses, taking office -
taking over the world, essentially -
we're still relegated to this idea
that beauty and our looks are most important.
We see this in every industry,
from Serena dominating on the tennis court to Hillary running for President,
all the way down to Louisiana,
where a little girl wasn't permitted to go to school,
because of her braided hairstyle.
Now, braids have always been
a long standing part of African and African-American beauty culture.
And just because you don't practice it,
it doesn't mean that you can't accept or respect it.
And I don't know about you, but the last time I checked,
my hairstyle didn't prevent me from learning.
The tutu that I wear on the tennis court
doesn't prevent me from winning a Grand Slam.
And the colored suit that I wear,
it certainly doesn't make me ill-equipped to run a country.
But what's attractiveness anyway?
And shouldn't it be subjective?
Well, yes and no.
What's attractive has become a popularized understanding
of our cultural footprint.
What we as individuals believe as attractive
is directly stemmed from our environment.
That's why men really just want to marry women just like their moms.
And as much as we want to hate them for it,
they can't help it.
That's their first perspective of what beauty and love is.
Like if I were to grow up in Ghana,
I would have valued my thick thighs a lot more than I do
having grown up in the US.
And while the world is becoming more interconnected than ever,
we're seeing that the global standard of beauty
is quickly becoming the Western standard of beauty,
so much so that in countries like South Africa or China,
where the population is largely people of color,
white women are still at the forefront of these commercial campaigns.
So it doesn't surprise me
to hear that 70% of women in Lagos, Nigeria, bleach their skin
even though skin bleaching has been linked to cancer.
What that tells me is that 10-billion-dollar industry
is being upheld by this idea that beauty is linear.
Those women are just trying to get ahead.
This idea leaves plus-sized women feeling invalid,
mature women feeling
as though they aged out of their beauty beyond their child-bearing years,
and ethnic women feeling unwanted.
And don't get me wrong.
While it impacts women the most, it's not only us who suffer.
Most males CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are taller than average
because height is linked to attractiveness and power.
This is a multi-generational, gender-neutral issue.
Our children are growing up not valuing themselves
and certainly not being able to extend that love and acceptance onto their peers.
Those children grow up with low self-esteem
and end up being consumers of weight-loss fads,
of plastic surgery.
Have you guys noticed the plastic surgery trend?
Surgery on your butt and thigh is up 4,200% since the year 2000.
How crazy is that?
And so it makes me think back to when I was a little girl,
and I thought about me not having a butt.
You know if I didn't have that confidence to keep going on,
I could be one of these statistics.
So how do we transform?
How do we start loving ourselves?
Well, first of all, we have to figure out what those triggers are
that make us feel less than.
Is it scrolling through social media?
You may need to give it a break.
Is it going shopping?
Or is it simply just going over Granny's to hear her telling you
how much weight you've gained since the last time she saw you.
Figure out what those items are and cut them off.
I'm telling you if Granny is pulling you down,
Granny has got to go.
You have to be prepared to go to bat for your identity
in this pop culture driven society.
So I challenge each of you,
when you go home today,
look at yourself in the mirror,
see all of you,
look at all of your greatness that you embody,
accept it, and love it.
And finally, when you leave the house tomorrow,
try to extend that same love and acceptance
to someone who doesn't look like you.
Thank you.
(Applause) (Cheers)
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Why You Think You're Ugly | Melissa Butler | TEDxDetroit

146 Folder Collection
chengye.cai published on July 24, 2020
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