2 March 2010
Appearance of Dominican Woman: Description of Beauty Ideals
The concept of beauty has been discussed since the past. The ideal of what beauty is has always existed among each different culture or country. But is there really a concrete concept of what is beauty? What characteristics make a person beautiful? Most researchers agree that besides biologicalfactors, beauty is relative to culture. The idea of what is beautiful or ugly depends on the viewer's eyes, and therefore their cultural perception; For instance, the American perception of female beauty is not the same as in the Dominican Republic. In the Dominican Republic “beauty is a state of mind, not an image” (Academic Search Complete).
There is no precise definition of what beauty is, becauseeach culture has a different ideal, and what was beautiful yesterday is not today. However, there are methods to approach a perfect idea of what is beauty. According to Sozinskey, “ a way of arriving at a tangible and almost, if not entirely, perfect idea of what beauty is, is by comparing the beaux ideal of a large number of persons of culture, persons who have made a critical study of nature, andthen picking out the one that corresponds with the ideals of most” (12). Each country has its own culture and often they differ or share habits and values. Similarly, some cultures may influence other, generating similarities and new ideals. In the Dominican Republic the contemporary ideal of female beauty is very different from what it previously was. The cultural and social influences thatsome countries currently have on the Dominican Republic have generated some changes in the description of a beautiful woman. But what characteristics describe the beauty ideals of Dominican woman? These characteristics can be grouped in two mainly categories: physical features and appearance, and fashion.
The Dominican culture is composed of Spanish, Indian, and African culture. Therefore, theethnic components are brown, black, and white. Sexual inter-marriage among Spanish, Indians, and Africans raised new skin colors. However, the beauty ideal of this country describes the mestizo (Spanish term than means mixed) woman as pretty. Mestizo refers to the skin tone of mixing between Spanish and Indians. Currently, the mixed ethnic group represents 73% of the Dominican population (USCentral Intelligence Agency). In many regions of this country there is racism against blacks because of past conflicts with Haiti. As a result, black women are perceived as ugly, or as Haitian women, even if they are from Dominican Republic.
Physical features are varied in Dominican Republic due to the racial mix. However, the ideal of beauty is this country is a woman with oval face, big and darkeyes, fleshy lips, long black hair, and a shaped nose. The ideal of beauty in the Dominican Republic is similar to the Latin American ideal of beauty. Also, a mole on the face is considered symbol of beauty and sensuality. Many women will use lip or eyebrow liner to draw a mole on her face. They usually draw the mole near the mouth or eyes, since according to the Dominican perspective in theseparts the moles look more beautiful. The eyelashes and eyebrows are another issue. Long eyelashes and thick eyebrows are considered beautiful. All these qualities are perceived in this way because the Dominican population has the idea that woman who has thin eyebrows and lips, small mouth, and round face is sexuality promiscuous or is a bad woman. This is because most of the women in advertisingusually look like that and wear little clothing or are naked.
Dominican women have the duty and responsibility to keep their hair beautiful. But what exactly is pretty hair? Most of the female population in Dominican Republic has curly, thick, and mid-length hair; however, long and straight hair is what defines a beautiful hair. According to the documentary Pelo bueno-Pelo malo (“good...