Documentary filmmaker Jennifer Holness deconstructs what we understand about race and the power behind beauty in her provocative new film.
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Subjects of Desire explores the cultural shift in North American beauty standards towards embracing Black female aesthetics and features, while exposing the deliberate and often dangerous portrayals of Black women in the media. From society’s new fixation on the “booty” and fuller lips to the dramatic rise of spray-tanned skin, ethnic hairstyles, and athletic bodies, some argue that Black women are having a beauty moment. But others — primarily Black women — argue that traditional Black features and attributes are seen as more desirable when they are on white women.
Told from the POV of women who aren’t afraid to challenge conventional beauty standards, the film is partially set during the 50th anniversary of the Miss Black America Pageant, which was created as a political protest.
Subjects of Desire is a culturally significant, provocative film that deconstructs what we understand about race and the power behind beauty.