BIPOC and Body Image

Last week, we met up to discuss body image and BIPOC. Here’s a recap:

Speakers indicated that harmful body image messages came from everywhere

  • Advertisements
  • Their own communities
  • Media (e.g., movies, music videos, etc.)
  • Family and friends

Some of these messages included (but are not limited to):

  • Professional accomplishments are not as important as looking a certain way (e.g., fair-skinned)

BIPOC’s bodies needing to be “fixed”

  • That there is a “right” way to look (e.g., that folks don’t look like they belong to their racial group)
  • That people are more attractive with lighter skin and eye colour
  • Needing to present one way (e.g., more filtered, composed) with White folks for self-preservation
  • Needing to hide, eliminate or alter physical features (e.g., by contouring makeup, bleaching skin) that are part of BIPOC heritage to conform to white beauty ideals

One speaker brought up the point that BIPOC are seen whether we want to be or not as well as the pressure that comes with how to present when we are seen.

Some of that pressure is making sure we are not confirming biases they may hold about BIPOC

An example: making sure bags and purses are far away from us when browsing at stores to avoid getting accused of being “suspicious” or stealing.

So, what helped the healing process for folks? For many, it has been a process consisting of:

  • Seeking education about social justice issues, one’s own culture, etc.
  • Seeing a therapist
  • Seeking out role models
  • Talking to family and friends
  • Finding solace in that BIPOC physical features are part of one’s heritage and therefore a source of pride
  • Re-exploring and embracing one’s own culture and traditions
  • Despite the issues with tokenism, using tokenism at first to enact change from within the institution in question
  • Asserting oneself; not letting others impose their ideas of beauty and dress onto BIPOC
  • Empathizing and understanding why BIPOC may conform to White beauty ideals rather than judging


Aug 08 2021


4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Aug 08 2021
  • Time: 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm




BIPOC Coffee Talk Inc.

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