Standards of physical beauty change rather rapidly in response to who knows what. I remember being told that in the history of fashion, European styles of dress for women that accentuated the width of the hips (see Faye Dunaway getting dressed in 17th century attire in the Richard Lester version of the Three Musketeers) was a response to European male fascination with the wide hips of sub-Saharan African women. In my own life, my father’s obsession with “straight equals good” hair meant that I spent countless Saturdays of my childhood and adolescence sitting in a beauty parlor getting my hair either fried with a straightening iron or burned with chemical straighteners. In high school, I wore a wig. (It was a white high school.)
The revolutionary ascension of the short Afro (as in the neatly trimmed sort) as a “classic” hairstyle for African American women was a form of liberation that forced the question of “what makes a woman look beautiful” to the side. It meant that something other than long flowing blonde locks could be ok. See Dr. Mae Jemison’s official NASA astronaut photo.
I take the attacks on the appearances of Leslie Jones, Michelle Obama and Maxine Waters as sidelong attacks on their accomplishments.