At R29, whenever we post a story on Beyoncé's hair, our commenters have a lot to say about it. Some think that her decision to stay blonde supports unfair standards of Western beauty. Others think that Bey has been doing it for so long, it has become a part of her DNA. And then a couple of you just think, well, she's Queen B, she can do anything.
Example: When we wrote about her photo on her album 4, our commenters all focused on her 'do. One wrote, "I wish some ethnic celebrities would maintain their natural beauty, without subjecting themselves to a caucasian Westernization. I personally would find more attractive and educational to see Beyoncé with a beautiful curly black hair. She just looks like any other celebrities. Of course, she is still beautiful, but a distorted beauty." In defense, another added, "All of these negative comments seem to forget that Beyonce has rocked an Afro, braids, and other traditionally black hairstyles. And, I'm sorry, but why shouldn't anyone of any skin color be able to rock blonde hair? Would you tell a white girl she's trying to be black by wearing dreads? Now, please, get a life. She looks amazing."
For another post, we polled whether or not you liked Bey straight or curly, and a commenter wisely added, "This question brings in so many cultural, aesthetic issues and the desire to be politically correct that there's really no point expecting an honest answer." Clearly, the subject brings up a lot of discussion with our readership...as it should.
Which is why this recent poll by Acematrix is particularly revealing. Viewers looked at two Beyoncé for H&M ads: one where she had blonde hair, and one where she was a brunette. The blonde ad not only scored better, but viewers also found her much more recognizable. When she was blonde, 16 percent of consumers could name the singer, as opposed to the seven percent who could identify her as a brunette. (Less than one fifth of Americans can recognize Beyoncé? Who'da thunk?)
The gut reaction to this, of course, is that we have been indoctrinated since the beginning of the advertising age to associate blonde hair with Americanness, and Americanness with "good." For anyone who has ever felt pressured to conform to particular standards, this isn't exactly surprising, but it's interesting to note that more people associate Beyoncé, who has had myriad hair styles, with a blonde mane. (Business Insider)
Photo: Courtesy of H&M