Beauty plays a highly influential role through Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Morrison's novel highlights the ideals of the south in the 1940's, displaying middle to upper-class ideals of beauty - which seem centered upon whiteness and proves to be harmful to young black girls living in this time. Not only is the novel focused on the effect of these unrealistic standards of beauty on young black girls, but it also shows how it affects others, such as the adult women in the novel as well. Each character craves the desire for a trait that is withheld only within the conventional white- American standards of beauty; whether it is blue eyes, lighter skin, or straighter hair. In magazines, movies, and on cups, only white beauty is celebrated as beautiful, leaving women of color out of the picture - or typically, in the background. Prioritizing white features as the standard for beauty proves itself as being a socially constructed ideal - something many people strive for, but cannot properly attain. In the novel, the readers are introduced to the many ways in which women of this time period have altered their cultural normalities of beauty to fit into society's definition of beautiful. This was done by whitewashing away the “funk” that women of color held in order to fit into society's mold of beautiful. .
Whitewashing is a term used in society that takes people from non-white cultures and molds them into a typical and normal white idealized American version of beauty. People in these cultures change their normal traits within their culture to fit into these norms. This could be black women straightening their hair, or getting a weave to fit into a certain, white culture, or people in India and China, using a bleach based lotion to make their skin less pigmented. In The Bluest Eye, Morrison refers to these traits of nature as “funk”. This “funk” that is wiped away are little things that a black woman is born with to try and get rid of.