“Blackfishing” in the Beauty Industry


Blackfishing is a phrase that describes people who pretend to have a different ethnicity online, specifically non-Caucasian. This controversial beauty trend is, as of late, buzzing on the internet. The fad has become common among younger white women on Instagram, who use certain filters or language to pose as black or Asian, yet deny that there are any racist intentions behind their actions. “Blackface” was often used by white people in the early stages of Vaudeville comedy to make fun of black people. While influencers defend their right to their make-up, tanning, hair type, and style preferences, the real issue lies in the fact that, throughout history, black women and women of color were criticized and dehumanized for their unique features. Caucasian people adopting those very same beauty styles that for generations were a source of degradation for women of color, and then capitalizing on those features while still maintaining their white privilege? That’s not cultural appreciation, that’s cultural appropriation.

For Further Reading

Check out another badass woman on Instagram, calling out non-Native Americans on their racism and implicit bias on her account @dearnonnatives.

Discussion Question

What is the difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation? How would you explain it to someone else?


Action Item

There’s a huge difference between a Caucasian person getting a tan versus appropriating another race or culture. If you see someone capitalizing on POC beauty features and exhibiting cultural appropriating: call them out. The reason trends like this thrive is because not enough people dare to comment on them.


Read more on SheMazing| Image: @DVernands on Instagram