An article about the aesthetic appeal of mixed-race faces was just listed on today’s links by racialicious. It definitely challenges the claims that are made about how it is ‘natural’ for people to find others of their own race more attractive (this claim is usually used to justify why most people choose partners who have the same skin colour). The author of the study conducted in Britain argues that the results prove Darwin’s theory of heterosis, that diversity in breeding leads to a stronger species. However, it seems like this might be a hasty conclusion, since it does not account for the ways that beauty norms are socially constructed. Women’s non-white faces and bodies have long been glorified as exotic. And implied in that exoticism is their sexual availability, often portrayed in naturalistic or ‘wild’ poses and outfits.
Interestingly, these ideas about beauty have not translated into the modeling industry. For more about this, check out this post on Stuff White People Do about racism in the modeling industry.