e-ISSN 2460-8165       print ISSN 0852-8489
Font Size:  Small  Medium  Large

Self Representation Among Dark Skin People Concerning Discourse of Beauty

Hasty Larasati


This article aims to see how’s dark skin people perceive the color of their skin either it’s beautiful or ugly. Up until now, being beautiful categorized as those with fair skin, including Indonesian. This is important to be seen because how you represent yourself related to your identity− who you are or how do you want to be seen. Either they are confident with their skin or not, it is their way of self representation which they got from identity negotiation. But, among dark skin people there always be people who confidently represents their identity against the beauty discourse or counter-discourse. Previous literature reviews show there are two reason can cause counter-discourse: recognition and negotiation. Recognition is an act actor does to fight the mainstream discourse, meanwhile negotiation is about negotiating about what they have. My argument here is women can counter the discourse because of negotiation, they have free choice and body autonomy. Also, they have power to counter the discourse by bargaining power. This article uses qualitative research with in-depth interview towards nine female informants with spesific range of age: 16 – 24 because those ages are ages with huge internet usage. Skin tone classification for informant selection is based on Fitzpatrick skin type scale. Research findings show seven from nine informants have done counter the beauty discourse. Informants also explained how their personality or skills could be their bargaining power which made them easier to counter the beauty discourse. Beside that, informant also have done negotiate their identity from accepted the beauty discourse about desirable skin tones, into counter it. The process did not come out of the blue, but also it need both internal and external factors role. Internal factor is self-consciousness about beauty itself while external factors from family, peer or media socialization.


identity; identity negotiation; dark skin people; counter-discourse; beauty discourse; womanhood



Back, Les et al. (2012). Cultural Sociology: An Introduction. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Berry, Bonnie. (2008). The Power of Looks: Social Stratification of Physical Appearance. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Limited

Brooks, Ann. (1997). Postfeminism: Feminism, Cultural Theory and Cultural Forms. London: Routledge

Creswell, John W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. California: SAGE Publications

Du Gay, Paul et al. (2003). Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of The Sony Walkman. Sage Publications: London

Hall, Stuart. (1997). Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: SAGE Publications

Hall, Stuart and Paul Du Gay. (1996). Cultural Identity. London: SAGE Publications

Jenkins, Richard. (2008). Social Identity. New York: Routledge

Marvasti, Amir B. (2004). Qualitative Research In Sociology. London: SAGE Publications

Ritzer, George. (2011). Sociological Theory: Eighth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill



Brewer, Marilynn B and Wendi Gardner. (1996). Who Is This “We”? levels of Collective Identity and Self-Representations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Vol. 71

Florini, Sarah. (2015). This Week In Blackness, The George Zimmerman Acquittal, and The Production Of A Networked Collective Identity. New Media and Society: Vol. 1

Friberg, Tora. (2006). Towards A Gender Conscious Counter-Discourse In Comprehensive Physical Planning. GeoJournal: Vol. 65

Frith, Katherine et al. (2005). The Construction of Beauty: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Women’s Magazine Advertising. International Communication Association: March

Gooder, Claire. (2010). A Dissident Voice In New Zealand Wartime Sex Education. Health and History: Vol. 12

Hilhorst, Medard T. (2002). Physical Beauty: Only Skin Deep? Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy: Vol. 5

Imam, Zeba and Shadab Bano. (2015). Patriarchy, Community Rights and Institutions for Education: Counter-Discourse and Negotiation for Rights. Indian Journal of Gender Studies: Vol. 22

Lähdesmäki, Tuuli. (2013). Cultural Activism As A Counter-Discourse To The European Capital of Culture Programme: The Case of Turku 2011. European Journal of Cultural Studies: Vol. 16

Leve, Annabelle M. (2012). The Circuit of Culture As A Generative Tool of Contemporary Analysis: Examining The Construction of An Education Commodity. Sydney: Joint AARE APERA International Conference

Marzouki, Mohamed El. (2015). Satire As Counter-Discourse: Dissent, Cultural Citizenship and Youth Culture in Morocco. The International Communication Gazette: Vol. 77

Millard, Jennifer. (2009). Performing Beauty: Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign. Symbolic Interaction: Vol. 32

Moretti, Laura. (2013). Intertextual Divertissement, Sexual Education and Entertaining Humor: The World of Onna Enshi Kyôkun Kagami. Japan Review: Vol. 26

Moussa, Mario and Ron Scapp. (1996). The Practical Theorizing of Michel Foucault: Politics and Counter-Discourse. Cultural Critique: Vol. 33

Osgood, Jayne. (2006). Deconstructing Professionalism In Early Childhood Education: Resisting The Regulatory Gaze. Contemporary Issues In Early Childhood: Vol. 7

Parameswaran, Radhika and Kavitha Cardoza. (2009). Melanin on the Margins: Advertising and the Cultural Politics of Fair/Light/White Beauty in India. Journalism and Communication Monographs: Vol. 11

Saraswati, L Ayu. (2012). “Malu”: Coloring Shame and Shaming the Color of Beauty in Transnational Indonesia. Feminist Studies: Vol. 38

___. (2010). Cosmpolitan Whiteness: The Effects and Affects of Skin-Whitening Advertisements in a Transnational Women’s Magazine in Indonesia. Meridians: Vol. 10

Swami, Viren et al. (2010). Oppressive Beliefs at Play: Associations Among Beauty Ideals and Practices and Individual Differences In Sexism, Objectifications of Others and Media Exposure. Psychology of Women Quarterly: Vol. 34

Swann Jr, William and Jennifer Bosson. (2008). Identity Negotiation: A Theory of Self and Social Interaction on Handbook of Personality: Theory and Research Vol. 17 - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232569665_Identity_negotiation_A_theory_of_self_and_social_interaction

Tiffin, Helen M. (1989). Rites of Resistance: Counter-Discourse and West Indian Biography. Journal of West Indian Literature: Vol. 3

Westerlund, Michael. (2011). The Production of Pro-Suicide Content On The Internet: A Counter-Discourse Activity. New Media and Society: Vol. 14



Bolsover, Gillian. (2011). Constructing The Virtual Body: Self-Representation,Self-Modification and Self-Perfection in Pro-Eating Disorder Websites. London School of Economics and Political Science: Department of Media and Communications

Chusjairi, Juni Alfiah. (2005). Konstruksi Identitas Etnis Cina Pasca Orde Baru Melalui Media: Studi Pemaknaan Terhadap Film Cina Wo Ai Ni Indonesia, Jangan Panggil Aku Cina dan Ca Bau Kan. Universitas Indonesia: Departemen Ilmu Komunikasi



Euromonitor International: Beauty and Personal Care in Indonesia http://www.euromonitor.com/beauty-and-personal-care-in-indonesia/report accessed on February 11th 2016

Real Man Real Style: Five Truths about Black Man Style http://www.realmenrealstyle.com/5-truths-black-men-style/ accessed on March 21st 2016

The Telegraph. 2015. Teenager Spend 27 Hours a Week Online: How Internet Use Has Ballooned in the Last Decade http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/digital-media/11597743/Teenagers-spend-27-hours-a-week-online-how-internet-use-has-ballooned-in-the-last-decade.html accessed on February 12th 2016

World Health Organization: Adolescent Health http://www.who.int/topics/adolescent_health/en/ accessed on April 18th 2016

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.