New book explores women, beauty and race

In 2011, a psychological study entitled ‘Why are black women rated less physically attractive than other women’ caused outrage across the globe.

The study by London School of Economics’ Dr Satoshi Kanazawa was later dismissed by serious academics.

However, the feelings evoked by the study sent one woman on a journey to exploring what it means to be beautiful, the importance of beauty among Christian women and the dangerous ideas about female beauty that contradict God’s original idea.

This month, the results of that journey, taken by Chine Mbubaegbu, are revealed in a book entitled Am I Beautiful? which is being published by Authentic Media.

Chine – a Nigerian-born journalist, theologian and Head of Media at the Evangelical Alliance – hopes that the book will provoke and challenge, as well as encourage women to find their true identity, worth and beauty. She says: “Christian women may hear that they are made in the image of God; that he looks at the heart and not the outward appearance; that they have been set free from negative thought patterns. But often all that evaporates when they look in the mirror and compare themselves to the images of beauty they see around them.”

The book recognises that deep down, all women – regardless of their background – long to be seen as beautiful. But it dispels the beauty myth, challenging the media and society’s narrow definition of beauty which seems to have crept its way into our churches too.

The book has already received praise from experts:

Maggi Dawn, associate professor of theology and literature at Yale Divinity School, said: “Chine Mbubaegbu offers personal and theological reflections on physical beauty. She challenges the narrow idea we are fed from billboards and magazines, and sketches out a better way to appreciate our own and others’ beauty in a diverse, multicultural society. Her thoughtful and vulnerable writing draws the reader from page to page.”

Book

Michele Guinness, journalist and writer, said: “At last, a life-enhancing, challenging gem of a book that tackles the scourge of society’s obsession with a woman’s appearance. In a style as captivating as her personality, Chine writes about her own struggles with weight, height, hair and colour, with an honesty so real it hurts. This is a liberating must-read for every woman of every size, age, belief and background. Buy it for yourself, your sister, your mother, and most of all, your daughters and granddaughters.”

Am I Beautiful by Chine Mbubaegbu is available from www.authenticmedia.co.uk and costs £7.99

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