The Politics of Race and Beauty: A Study of Alternative Aesthetics in Adichie’s Americanah
Keywords:Aesthetics, immigrant, race, resistance, white racism
This article discusses the social pressure upon the black immigrants to adopt the white standard of beauty and their resistance to such racist pressures, which is depicted in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. The discourses and practices of beauty have been colonized by the racist attitude of white supremacy in the US. This cultural colonization has exerted the social pressure upon the black immigrants to regulate their bodily features to comply with the white standard of the beauty for social acceptability and professional growth. They suffer physically and emotionally in this process. Ifemelus, the protagonist of Americanah, gradually develops her critical consciousness after going through emotional and physical suffering while straightening her hair. Her resistance process is analyzed in the critical frame of David Jeferess transformative resistance model. She resists the white standard of beauty by proposing an alternative form of aesthetics on the basis of bodily features of the black in her blog posts. She explores her origin, uses power of media, urges for collective resistance, and glamorizes the features of the black in order to propose an alternative form of aesthetics.
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