Art by Brianna McCarthy: A Woman's Worth

Posted 12/16/2010 by 8Track Honey in Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“We wanted to get you the doll but the store sold out of the black ones.” 

I was well acquainted with “Christie” when I was a child; it was imperative to my mother for me to only own the “black Barbie” as opposed to her blond-haired blue-eyed counterpart. I always found this unfair because all of my dolls looked alike except for their separate outfits and respective functions, but my mother wanted my standards of beauty to be set by images that resembled both me and my culture, and although this may have not been the best method to do so, her intentions were in the right place.

Every female image I was surrounded by set forth a philosophy that was all but normal, classifying beauty by unrealistic standards concerning weight, height, skin color, and hair texture. Not only are women criticized by the physical attributes that we are born with, we are also forced to endure the lashing tongues of the prejudice within our own cultures.

For years I thought that these types of commercial propaganda only affected little black girls like me, but it was ignorant to think so. As I grew older and our society grew into the millennium the female image transformed: clothes became tighter and more revealing, hair straighter, heels higher and the popular skin color of preference became a frightening shade of Ritz cracker…tan but not "too" dark. With time I became introduced to women of different nationalities, ethnicities and cultures to find that not only were they under the same pressures that I had been dealing with my entire life, they were subject to the same unrealistic standards of beauty. Not to be confused, all of these women are gorgeous, but it was the ugly images in the media that made them feel insecure about all of the traits that make them uniquely beautiful. Scrutinized for anything from the size of their waist, feet and face; crease in their eyelids, arch in their nose, texture of their hair, and the shade of their skin tone down to the amount of skin they choose to reveal.

I remember an instance where I was sitting next to a group of Indian women who were interrupted by an American man who asked where they were from, and after receiving their  response he inquired further, “If ya’ll are from India, why are you so dark?” The key is not only his question but his tone when he said it, his temperament revealed that he had prejudices toward darker skin. This particular situation took me back to my first semester in college, where I watched a friend obsessively apply “all-natural skin lightener” to her face in the hopes of being seen as more attractive, never mind that she was already beautiful, she felt that by lightening her skin tone she would achieve the image she felt everyone else wanted her to have.

Barbie is merely plastic; sex symbols photoshopped and public figures airbrushed, but all of these fabrications shape our perceptions of others. We are setting standards of beauty by something that doesn’t naturally exist; furthermore, a woman’s worth is foolishly set by her attractiveness to the opposite sex. This comes from a time when a woman’s main purpose in life was to be married, so she was forced to spend every moment of her  youth preparing to be a wife and "suitable" prospect. These practices are still prevalent today but completely distorted, and with both sexes under similar pressures it’s hard to break away from them, but we must understand that they aren’t imposed by some unseen force, they are created and fostered by us.

What if a woman’s worth was determined by all that she is within before all that she appears to be based on opinion? What if she began to require the respect she deserves? What if, instead of being picked away by the eyes spectators she is judged by her actions, the words that leave her mouth, the character within her heart, and what she strives for throughout her life?

Its inspiring work like Brianna McCarthy’s that can bring us all back to reality.

Brianna McCarthy, based in Trinidad & Tobago creates art that exemplifies the beauty of diversity. Fueled by the people of the island in which she dwells she uses watercolors, graphite and paper to tell a story which at face value may convey an exaltation of outer beauty, but when examined deeper divulges the uniqueness of inner beauty. Imperfectly shaped eyes speak more for her characters than their words ever could, they evoke a sense of pride and confidence that every woman should have within herself and when interacting with other women. My favorite works are her collections of busts, despite their skin color and hair texture they tell a story that can relate to every woman; bound by a simple white backdrop, each figure declares their true worth, undetermined by fabricated images and the opinions of men.

To learn about Brianna McCarthy and discover more of her work visit Passion.Fruit.

“Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway.”

8<3 Track Honey

2 comment(s) to... “Art by Brianna McCarthy: A Woman's Worth”


Samantha said...

Brianna's work is indeed refreshing. Even the poses that she uses seem to depict a woman in question...whatever the image seems to be questioning....her beauty, her place in life, her self worth?
I am following her work closely.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful statement, a millennial commentary. "Women" inclusive. Thanx.


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