Blackfishing: The controversial beauty trend


“It’s funny to be in my 30s and to see younger generations celebrate curvy hips and a**, but at the same time it’s not gonna last” – Ms. Coughlin

Eric Garcia , Reporter

Social Media also affects our ways of viewing certain situations. It also influences a big chunk of the beauty community. This beauty industry wants to manipulate their viewers to believe certain things are ideal for men and women.

Not so long ago, women have been neglected and shut down because they have to look a certain way, skinny body and white. But now, our society corrects itself into allowing all women to be celebrated. In our day of age, although we have been improving equality and racial discrimination, we are still fighting for social standards and normalizing new lifestyles.

African Americans have been judged by their appearances in this country. We have been letting down other races and cultures, making them less important just because of the color of their skin.

Especially in America, being pale and skinny has been praised as the ideal ‘standard’ of what a beautiful woman should look like. This standard is too broken; it’s so disgusting and wrong to judge a woman’s beauty by skin color and body type. It makes it worse than a lot of women, especially young girls, to stick to this idea and try to form themselves to these beauty standards. These twisted and cruel ideals being celebrated is so disturbing to hear, and it almost feels unreal that people actually honor these beauty standards.

Recently, people have been realizing women’s diversity., Women’s beauty isn’t just being light skin and slim, but all bodies and colors are being accepted, and different races are finally being celebrated as the new beauty standard. But there has been a major problem that people are doing to themselves in order to follow this new beauty standard.

This new trend is being called ‘Blackfish’, or as Inside Edition describes “‘Blackfish’ is defined as when a person, usually social media influencers or personalities, passes as black by altering their appearance – often their hair and skin tone. The practice is problematic, experts say, because it’s a deception by omission.”

White women are changing their appearances to look like a different race, in particular, the Latina and black race. It has gone so far that these women would use darker foundation colors, have hair to resemble the natural curls that African and Latina woman are born with, and change their bodies by having many surgeries to appear more curvy and thick.

Recently there has been some controversy surrounding a celebrity named Emma Hallberg in which her Instagram feed shows depictions of blackfishing, pictures of Hallberg appearing like an African American because of pictures showing her with very dark skin, curly black hair, and a curvaceous body, a signature staple of African American woman’s stereotypical appearance. Many people took action and attacked Hallberg for trying to catfish her followers into thinking that she actually is black.

“Yes I’m white and I’ve never claimed to be anything else. And by no way, there are no ‘before’ pictures, the pictures that have been spread are just two different pictures taken on two different seasons of the year,” Hallberg responded.

Hallberg publicly stated that she is, in fact, white and not black, but the weird thing is that she makes herself look as if she was black, and clearly shows that she uses a darker foundation shade covering her actual skin color.

A writer describes her reaction towards this controversy, “She says her frustration comes when white women who appear to be posing as black don’t know “the struggle that black women go through just to be accepted as who they are… Even now in certain work spaces, black women can’t wear their natural hair out. They have to wear weave.”

Black women clearly do not support these new trends; it’s just offensive that white girls want to look like their race and do not realize the problem with it.

This picture shows how Instagram model Emma Hallberg uses a foundation shade very different from her actual skin color.

Melanie Gomez, a former freshman at the NYC iSchool, Rozlynn Blake, a sophomore student at Richmond Hill High School and Ms. Coughlin, an iLearn teacher, talk about their views towards this problem.

“I don’t understand how that’s a thing. Culture isn’t a costume it isn’t something you form into, it’s how you were born, where you were born, are they ashamed of their own culture?” claims Melanie Gomez.

Melanie commented on Emma Hallberg’s actions: “I think black people are confused to why she is doing this, they don’t understand the struggles black women have to face since they are white. You weren’t raised the same way, you just look like them. Trying to be them is something else, of course, you could idolize a black woman and a white woman could definitely idolize a black woman but not to take it that far.”

She believes that there isn’t a way to solve this problem, but there is a way to tell people about these wrongdoings: “I wouldn’t say there’s a definite solution, I wouldn’t say a ban towards this on social media. Inform them so they aren’t as ignorant, inform them of the struggle black women go through”.

Melanie does not believe this trend will last long, “Maybe it’s a trend right now is to have curly hair and someone might want that but maybe the next new thing is to have pin straight hair and light skin with no eyebrows”.

After hearing the news about Emma Hallberg, Rozlynn Blake was shocked describing, “That’s crazy. Does she not like the way she looks?.”

Rozlynn was informed how Hallberg confesses she is not black but white and does not intentionally make her look as if she was an African American woman. “She looks natural to me.” She was being sarcastic because of how much she has been changing her appearance.

“People are gonna look at that and think it’s okay but it’s not, they wanna change their appearance even though it’s not okay.” Rozlynn felt puzzled and really confused about the whole situation because of how beauty standards had changed drastically over the last decade.

Relating to social media, Rozlynn believes this content should not be banned from all platforms: “It’s her choice she can do what she wants if people don’t want to give her attention stop supporting her. I hope it would end, these trends don’t last forever, they are temporary.”

As for Coughlin, she had a very different view towards this topic, she clearly expressed that she didn’t really care what some people do social media. It’s just a fad and this trend will be forgotten quickly.

She agrees that beauty standards are continuously changing, “Things have changed I know from even when I was growing up and im 32 now. I always have been curvy and it was never ‘in’ and if anything it was seen as a Latina thing, even my family would always call me a little spicy bean and they would say your the milk mans baby cuz everyone is my family is tall and lean.”

Ms. Coughlin expresses how she is fascinated by the evolution of beauty standards and how recently being curvy is being praised in which this wasn’t the case back when she was a teenager. “Recently everyone has been getting hip and butt injections. That kinda blows my mind, in one way I think it’s awesome, there certain women that now celebrate and things that were told to hate about themselves are now being praised.”

Finally, she comments how this trend is just a one-time thing, “these traits are a fad and guaranteed it’s not gonna last and it’s gonna go back to super skinny no boobs, flat, gonna take people with that bodies ‘other’ again. It’s funny to be in my 30s and to see younger generations celebrate curvy hips and ass but at the same time it’s not gonna last”.

When we look back at it, these people trying to look like a different culture will soon realize that this new trend will fade away and they will look back and reflect what they did, how other people find these actions offensive, learn and move on.

We must celebrate everyone, but it has gone too far. We should celebrate other cultures and acknowledge that beauty isn’t based on skin and weight, but intelligence and bravery.