White Beauty Standards for Men of Color?

01 Jun

Friday’s conversation sparked a question for me: if white beauty standards apply to women of color, how do they apply to men of color? How are our readings and expectations of masculinity and handsomeness shaped by race?  While I don’t have an answer to this question for you, I do have a series of pictures of men for you to look at while contemplating this question…

Taye Diggs

Taye Diggs

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan

Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin

Will Smith

Will Smith

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling



So after half an hour of looking at pictures of beautiful men on the internet, back to my original question: how are our conceptions of ideal masculinity shaped by race?





Posted by on June 1, 2013 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “White Beauty Standards for Men of Color?

  1. Nikki

    June 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    My immediate reaction is “I’m not sure, but Taye Diggs is probably the most attractive man who exists, so good job.” But probing that, it’s not hard to define that one of the things that makes him so incredibly goodlooking is his smile (seriously, can we talk about that), which is awesome but also if we talk (as we did in class one of the days we were outside, maybe just Friday) about MOC being perceived as a threat, then maybe one of the reasons he is the best-looking person on this page is that the expression with which he’s photographed negates that – would I think he was as attractive with a serious face? Answer: No, but I wouldn’t say he’s struggling. But I would say that smiling Taye Diggs is marry in the MFK game, which we also talked about in class and is definitely a scientific diagnostic, and serious Taye Diggs is probably in another category. It’s likely that I also categorize white guys based on whether they look like a nice person or not, if I don’t know them, but I’m still willing to guess that that’s a salient issue here – some standard related to effacing anything in the way he looks that might not be noticed on a white male body but would be perceived as threatening on his. Sorry, this answer is both extremely casual and extremely hand-wavy, but I’m not sure I can think of a lot to draw on in what we’ve read.

    • pencee

      June 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      I have a similar reaction to Nikki, in that I find all of these men incredibly attractive as my first reaction, but exactly why is hard.I feel like men of color may be just as exoticized in our culture as women of color. For example, as a white female, I wonder if my attraction to these men is partly or large do to the fact that I see them as an alluring other very different from myself. Many stereotypes exist for men of color, as well of women of color. I remember in class we discussed how black men are cast as super masculine, Latino men are cast as extremely passionate and Asian men are seen as somewhat feminine. It is interesting to compare these masculine stereotypes with the female stereotypes that exist for the same races.

      The biggest difference I notice when comparing how men of color and women of color are viewed in society is the focus on body. All of these images are only of men’s faces whereas when I Google image search “women of color” this is what I find:

      I feel like a lot of our conversations around women of color have focused on their bodies and how this bodies of color are seen as “other” when contrasted with the “normal” white female body. This focus on body seems to be virtually absent when discussing men of color.

  2. yawen214

    June 4, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I definitely feel that MOC, especially Asian men are not well represented in the US media. Although Asian men are seen as somewhat feminine, being somewhat masculine has become a standard to meet in order to be recognized as handsome/attractive. I felt that MOC are not as confident/feel as safe in terms of their body compared to white men, as I noticed that most people who voluntary take off their shirts are white men. White men feel OK to reveal their bodies in public even if their bodies are not perfectly fit. Whereas MOC usually don’t show their bodies unless they have really fitted bodies (of course, they would take off their shirts if it”s required).


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