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The Sisters Are Alright by Tamara Winfrey Harris

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Chapter 1

Beauty: Pretty for a Black Girl

Thirty-nine-year-old Heather Carper grew up in Kansas and learned at least one lesson very early: “Black girls were never the cute ones. You could be ‘cute for a black girl,’ but you were never the pretty one.”1

To be an American woman of any race is to be judged against constantly changing and arbitrary measures of attractiveness. One decade, being waif thin is in; the next, it’s all about boobs and booties. Wake up one morning, and suddenly your lady parts “need” to be shaved smooth and your gapless thighs are all wrong. The multibillion-dollar beauty and fashion industries are dedicated to ensuring that women keep chasing an impossible ideal, like Botoxed hamsters running on the wheel of beauty standards. ...

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