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Kiri decided to replicate the doll experiment because of issues of intraracist beauty that she and her friends faced. In the black community, those who have more European features are put on pedestals she says. Kiri also says people with straighter hair or lighter skin are often considered beautiful, while those with more African features are considered not beautiful. "[The documentary] was a way to kind of put [our feelings] out there so it didn't seem so taboo or uncomfortable to talk about, so people couldn't just push it under the table."

Ursula, Kiri's mother, says her daughter's documentary accurately illustrates how society and media's narrow concept of beauty affects the self-esteem of children. "The imagery is so very powerful and kids see these images time and time again, and they internalize them," she says. "The message that comes from these negative images and stereotypes, it really says, 'We don't value you.' It hits the core of who you are and your self-esteem and self-worth."

Kiri says overturning these skewed ideas of beauty is everyone's responsibility. We each have to begin by "not letting others define you, and … celebrating your soul and creating that foundation."
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FROM: Children Ashamed of the Way They Look
Published on January 01, 2006

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