You are here:

Framed through the lens of suntanning in popular teenage magazines, Jackie and Just Seventeen, this paper argues that discussions of beauty illustrate enduring histories of racism in Britain. This paper addresses three major questions of the ways suntanning and more broadly, white beauty, was presented in teenage magazines from 1970-89. Firstly, in a post-imperial, multi-cultural Britain, how and why were black women (and men) excluded from cultures of beauty and leisure? Why did Black Britain not appear to exist in narratives of suntanning? Second, it will demonstrate how suntanning and skin, as one part of a complex intersectionality between gender, race and class – alongside hair, body weight and appearance – is significant to the study of race in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s. And third, this paper illustrates how socially normalised narratives of racial exclusion were portrayed in teenage magazines. It places particular emphasis upon the nascent scholarly focus on Black female teenagers and their subsequent marginalisation from such magazines. 

Dr Beth Parkes is a historian of race and cultures and has just completed her PhD at the University of Birmingham. Titled ‘Skin Deep: Race, Beauty, and Skin Colour in Britain, 1930-1980’, it interrogates the history of British racism and skin tone through the lens of skin modification and beauty practices. 

All welcome – This event is free, but booking is required.
Please note that bookings for this event will close 24 hours in advance, to allow the convenors to distribute the meeting link.