Listen up: This is so important. On the publicity tour for her upcoming movie, The Incredible Jessica James, Jessica Williams opened up about white beauty standards, and how she’s still working on un-learning the subtle biases pervasive in mainstream media. Williams has long been outspoken about intersectional feminism and why it’s so important to think critically about how the various oppressive systems work together and separately, and she continues to inspire us with her honest and powerful words.
In this case, the relatable star of The Incredible Jessica James made an important point about the commercials we saw a kids, and it will make you reconsider a lot of things about your childhood.
Here’s what she had to say in an interview with Allure:
Williams’s words about the subtle ways that commercials of our childhoods showed us a “preferred” way of looking are really important, as we likely internalized so many biases that we didn’t even know about.
In case you’re curious, here is an example of a Barbie commercial from the ’90s that emphasizes diversity, yet towards the end, the classic blonde-haired blue-eyed doll is held up as the original, most favorable doll.
After watching that, it’s easy to understand that Williams struggled with accepting her own appearance from a young age. She added to Allure,
It’s hard to believe that someone who the world sees as gorgeous, smart, hilarious, and SO talented could ever feel bad about themselves for a second, but alas, the patriarchal white supremacy is relentless.
Eurocentrism is pervasive in mainstream media, even today, and we’re glad that Williams is boldly speaking out about it.
The 27 year old also remarked on her efforts to undo the damage that Barbie commercials and the like did to her self-esteem.
As Williams says in her podcast, 2 Dope Queens, “YES, Khaleesi.”
We love you, Jessica.