Kibbe System for Different Ethnicities: Is There A Secret?

How to use Kibbe’s system for different ethnicities? Is there a special way or rule to use this system for certain ethnicities/countries/regions? The short version is “no” – read more for all the logical details you wanted to know!

Short version: no, there’s no secret at all – Kibbe system can be used by anyone without any limitations or special rules.

You might think: how about the fact that in different regions people have different heights and specific features that are more prominent? Shouldn’t the region/country/descent be taken into account to make the Kibbe image IDs be distributed evenly in every region? Does applying the same system to everyone mean that some ethnicities have lower chance overall of being certain image IDs? I think these are the questions that rightfully occur because I presume that people may find it maybe a bit unfair that women in regions with shorter average heights have higher chance of being Yin-dominant image IDs since being tall means having a lot of Yang according to Kibbe’s system.

All these questions aren’t directly answered in the book Metamorphosis (1987) by David Kibbe and in this post I’ll give my own thoughts on them according to my understanding because this issue is directly related to the false idea of ‘beauty standards’ and discrimination. Let’s start!

I’d like to premise this post by saying that Kibbe’s system has been distorted by many over the years. If you’d like to know how David Kibbe presents and uses his own system nowadays, you can always check his website out as well as learn from him directly in a Facebook group called ‘Strictly Kibbe.’ I think it’s necessary for me to acknowledge that these sources exist since this system belongs to David Kibbe solely and in my opinion this is the only legit version Kibbe’s system (I am aware about different variations and interpretations, however my posts aren’t about them at all – to me they are nothing but pale shadows of the original system, tools to earn money by typings). Nobody can guarantee that you’ll get what you expect from the website and group (e.g. determine your image ID quickly), but it’s always good to have options.

Kibbe’s System As A Whole

What truly makes Kibbe’s system stand out for me is that it celebrates everyone’s individual beauty – not some fake ‘ideals’ like the fruit body type system or face shapes 🙄. Kibbe’s Metamorphosis is about learning your own features and then following them when building outfits (and then choosing hairstyles, makeup, etc). In my opinion, it makes perfect sense – trying to ‘fix’ certain features just distorts them due to the contrast (more about this in my post ‘Let your wardrobe be your friend‘).

In Metamorphosis (1987) David Kibbe says:

Do you realize that Nature created you perfectly? It’s true! There’s not one thing about your natural physical appearance that isn’t absolutely perfect for the totally unique individual you are.

I realize that’s a bold statement to make, and one with which you may not immediately agree.

Now, this very quote is all you need to realize that David Kibbe’s approach is based on love, self-acceptance, and understanding that feminine beauty comes in as many shapes and forms as there are women on the planet.

Inclusivity of Kibbe’s System

We’ve established that Kibbe’s system is focused on making sure that every woman recognizes her own unique beauty. If you feel that you struggle letting go of the false ‘beauty standards’ promoted by the media just in order for different industries to capitalize on women’s insecurities and make them buy a variety of products to become closer to these ‘ideals’ you can check out my post on how to stop comparing yourself to others. Every woman deserves to be confident and never insecure about herself due to these fake ideals. Every woman deserves to feel free and confident in her own skin and change her appearance only if she desires it – not if the society or marketing departments of large corporations tell her to.

The simple truth about Kibbe’s system is that it can be applied equally by anyone, independently on the ethnicity, descent, and race. In my opinion, anyone who tells you the opposite and tries to push the ideas that Kibbe’s system is different for different etnicities, is a racist. I know this sounds harsh, but how else can I call it if someone claims that certain ethnicities need to learn more, some different rules, to be able to use something? If there’s one thing I’ve learned from David Kibbe’s book, it’s that he sees EVERY woman equally, with equal admiration and care.

Rule no.1: the rules are SAME AND EQUAL for everyone. That’s what equality is about!

What About Different Countries/Regions/Ethnic Groups Having More of Certain Traits Than Others?

In my opinion, all this stems from the fact that many interpreters (aka self-proclaimed Kibbe ‘experts’) idolize certain image IDs (not ‘body types’!). We all know what these image IDs are, don’t we? Theatrical Romantic and Soft Dramatic – both the ‘epitome’ of femininity, prominent hourglass shape, magnetic sexual appeal, eye-catching voluptuous curves, and beautiful face.

Would you believe me now if I told you that these image IDs aren’t actually any more beautful than any other image IDs? Would you believe me if I told you that a Flamboyant Gamine can be equally sexy (btw, the definition of ‘sexy’ and ‘attractive’ is very very subjective) as a Theatrical Romantic? Would you believe me if I told you that David Kibbe NEVER said that some image IDs are more good-looking or charming than others? If you’ve been listening to all the interpreters of Kibbe’s system, it’s likely that you feel like all image IDs aren’t equal, which is the worst lie that turns Kibbe’s system from something that celebrates everyone’s features into something that once again sets these false ideals. Sadly.

This is why women with dominant Yang features feel better about themselves if they are told that they still can be a Theatrical Romantic (a Yin-dominant image ID). However, if a woman is confident about herself, she doesn’t care about the image ID she belongs to – she is comfortable with who she is, whatever the image ID. I am a Soft Gamine and it truly matters only when it comes to constructing outfits – other than that I just love who I am. If tomorrow David Kibbe decides to change the name of this image ID to ‘Blunt-Boned and Angular Petites’ (just kidding) I won’t be upset even a little bit – it won’t change how I see myself or how confident I feel in my body.

It’s true that different regions, ethnic groups, and countries, have certain differences. So let’s celebrate our diversity! The image identities aren’t represented equally worldwide and in every region, but they altogether cover everyone. This is why in some regions there may be maybe more Naturals, while in other regions – more Romantics. Does this mean that in some regions women are less feminine? Oh my goodness NO. Elves in the Lord Of The Rings would be considered Yang-dominant due to their height, but are they viewed as less gentle or feminine or beautiful? Liv Tyler who portrayed Arwen in the Lord of The Rings trilogy is a Flamboyant Natural – did she look not feminine enough due to her height and Yang features? To me and everyone who’s got eyes, she looked like an absolute angel, same as a Kibbe Dramatic (extreme Yang) Cate Blanchett.

Rule no.2: image IDs aren’t represented equally worldwide and in every country/ethnic group/region, but they are inclusive and anyone can find their image ID. Kibbe’s system doesn’t discriminate, ever.

Practical Aspect

Now let’s suppose that Kibbe’s system would have different rules for different descent or ethnicities or countries. How would that work? First, it would mean that the whole system would be screwed up and everyone would get wrong recommendations. E.g. a real Theatrical Romantic Jada Pinkett Smith would get same suggestions as Rihanna, who isn’t a Theatrical Romantic. These women have absolutely different features to accomodate, so if they’d be told the same thing, someone would inevitably lose. If a woman is tall (tallness gives a lot of Yang), she doesn’t need suggestions for petite women – she needs to accomodate her long vertical line.

Another aspect proving that the whole idea of different Kibbe for different ethnicities is that how are women worldwide supposed to learn about all these different approaches? This is discrimination right there and is very confusing.

One more simple fact that proves how topsy-turvy this idea is: how are people supposed to use Kibbe’s system if their descent is mixed? Should they pick the one they prefer and one that allows them to be the image ID they want to be? Or should they complete their genealogical family tree before they are able to use Kibbe’s system? Truly, this idea doesn’t contain any useful practical aspect and doesn’t withstand any sort of even mild criticism. Just common sense here – no more, no less.

Rule no.3: there’s no practical value in dividing Kibbe’s system into different variations and it destroys the value of the initial system

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, there’s more than enough sh*t in the world that discriminates people due to their ethnicity and descent. There’s no need to artificially divide a perfectly good and inclusive system into something that creates special rules for certain ethnic groups, making it more difficult to use.

If you want to use Kibbe’s system, the first and foremost principle that you need to know is that this system is equal to everyone, and can be used by anyone – no exceptions. It doesn’t mean that everyone who tries it will like it – we’re all different and are bound to like different things.

However, if there’s one thing you’ll take from this post is that you are beautiful as you are, you can be whoever you want to be, and nobody – absolutely nobody! – should tell you what is beauty and femininity. If you want to use Kibbe’s system – use it, because it’s equal to everyone. No image ID is ‘better’ than the rest – these are all prejudices, same as the one about that oval face shape is ‘ideal’ and they aren’t worth your attention. Once you realize this fact, you won’t want to squeeze yourself into an image ID that is presumably ‘best’ anymore – you’ll just enjoy being you, will learn to look at yourself through the lens of acceptance, and love your own features as they are.

Overall, there’s no secret – Kibbe’s system is already ready for you to use. Please take a look at the gorgeous women on the featured image for this post – all different image IDs and all breathtaking. I don’t see how Kajol is any less beautiful than Olga Kurylenko or how Kerry Washington is any less feminine than Evangeline Lilly. Feminine beauty exists not in a single form – it’s reinvented in every woman. Every – and I mean every – woman is gorgeous once she feels comfortable in her own skin, so let your own unique features shine.

This post was inspired by a discussion I’ve had in the comments to my other post – Rihanna’s image ID and why she’s not a Theatrical Romantic. Huge thanks to the subscriber of this blog Lisette for raising this question and inspiring this post!

More on Kibbe’s Metamorphosis:

Soft Gamine vs Theatrical Romantic in Kibbe System w/Examples

Why Kibbe Image IDs AREN’T ‘Kibbe Body Types’

10 Myths About Kibbe That Ruin It For You

Why Rihanna ISN’T a Theatrical Romantic 

Meaning of Yin and Yang in Kibbe System

What Is Vertical Line In Kibbe’s System? w/Examples +FAQ

How I actually use Kibbe’s system w/examples

How I got to know & love Kibbe’s Metamorphosis: My story (feat. ‘Soft Gamine syndrome’)

5 Reasons why you struggle to find your image identity in Kibbe’s system

Height in Kibbe: why Taylor Swift, Lily Cole, and Zendaya AREN’T Gamine

What Kibbe gets right and the ‘fruit body types’ get wrong

Kibbe image ID quiz with pictures

The philosophy in Kibbe’s system

Author: Alexandra

Passionate researcher and writer. Coffee maniac. Pilates enthusiast. Makeup and skincare junkie. Occasionally - movie and book reviewer. Come join me on my quest!

4 thoughts on “Kibbe System for Different Ethnicities: Is There A Secret?”

  1. I remember when I first shared Kibbe’s system with a group I’m in that’s almost exclusively black women (there are a few biracial women). A few kept saying that they found it hard to identify themselves because there weren’t that many black women to compare themselves too. However you’re not supposed to compare yourself to anyone at all lol. I didn’t know this at the time.

    As for me, I’m African American and personally didn’t find it hard because there aren’t that many women in general that I can relate to physically and later learned intrinsically (as in essence).

    Actually the only black woman celebrity that I felt seen in physically speaking is Janelle Monae. She’s defintely not in Kibbe’s system, but I feel like she would be a Gamine.

    To add my viewpoint regarding that original comment, it doesn’t make sense to “type” someone by ethnicity because features can be  vaired within a group.

    As aforementioned I’m African American and AAs are descended from the West African region. However due to history (unless you take a geneology test) we don’t know which specific country, ethnicity, or tribe where from (not to mention other types of people in our gene pool as well). Therefore, our phenotype isn’t homogenous there’s variety.

    I actually wanted to reply to that original comment, but refrained from doing so once I saw she had no bad intentions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for commenting and sharing ❤️ Absolutely true about the phenotype – even only this fact completely ruins the idea that somehow African Americans need to follow somehow different rules.
      Oh definitely – I also immediately saw that the original comment wasn’t intended as mean and I appreciated it a lot because it raised a very important question. I think my response to it may read as very passionate and that’s because it is – it hurts my soul and brain that the ideas about feminine beauty are so twisted, women are constantly told to aspire to some ‘standards’ or that they aren’t enough. Besides, after doing a bit of digging I realized that certain ethnicities are being excluded from the general approach by many Kibbe interpreters, which totally infuriated me. It’s 2020 and it strikes me as unbelievable and disgusting that so many people still don’t want to work towards inclusivity and equality, dividing people in even such aspects as Kibbe system. This is why I decided to post this as a separate post to increase the reach – maybe someone is just starting with Kibbe and they are being confused by misinformation.
      Btw, to me Eartha Kitt is the ultimate Soft Gamine! She is simply gorgeous.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Simply put, the Kibbe system, like most American systems developed prior to the 2000’s is Eurocentric in its ideals and in its focus and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that. Reckoning with race in this way is uncomfortable, but as an AA woman in my very early 40’s and I’m here to say, the first time I saw a black Cabbage Patch doll in stores in the Midwest was in 1989 and the first time I saw a black Barbie Doll in the South was around the same time even though she first hit the stores in the north in the 1980’s— even though Barbie made her original debut in 1959. It was 1999 before major cosmetic companies like Estee Lauder and Lancome starting designing foundation for black women. Until then my mother, and grandmothers relied on a company called Fashion Fair which was sold door to door in the 1970’s before finally hitting stores, and before that, their options were absolutely nothing at all except buing “white lady” makeup and mixing it with various eyeshadows and lipsticks to make their own shades. But I digress. All that is to say, it’s ultimately up to us as modern women to do what we can to break a Eurocentric system open and make it usable by all women and I applaud you for making the effort, full stop.

    And while I agree with Silver here in that African Americans don’t have a particular phenotype, West Africans ARE in fact, homogenous in appearance and the reason is scientific, not opinion-based. That fact-based reason is that their gene pool hasn’t varied much in thousands of years until very recently due to globalization. Contrasting that with African Americans, well…the truth is, we aren’t Africans anymore and we haven’t been for about 8 generations. Most of us are, on average, only 60-90% African, and 10-40% European, and some additional percentage of East Asian or Native American and these are not the stats of mixed-race people either, these are the stats of standard, average people who self-identify as black, with two self-identifying black parents. These percentages and wide-ranging appearances are the results ravages of time and the results of the worst sins of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

    And while it’s true we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to one another, black women are more often than not, born with fewer angular features, rounder limbs, fuller lips, hips, and behinds regardless of our height and weight and proportion compared to our non-black counterparts in this country. This part is hard for some to hear, but this body type is not by accident, it is quite literally by design. The body types you see on African American women today are a result of natural selection as we were selectively bred to look a certain way—from head to toe— over hundred of years because it benefitted our owners being “thick” regardless of our height meant we were great at physical labor. I’m sorry, but this is reality. Every snide remark ever made about Venus or Serena Williams or any “big booty, thick-lipped” black woman breaks my heart for this reason.

    And while I don’t think the Kibbe system is incongruent with black women. I typed myself as a Theatrical Romantic. (1 A, 13 D’s & 3 E’s, but correct me if I got that wrong ), or inherently racist by design, I do think the underrepresentation of African American women in the examples that modern Kibbe writers, bloggers, and culture enthusiasts create, does make for a Kibbe environment which is less relatable to us when we can’t see ourselves in the examples they share with the world. With the exception of your site, I’ve only seen a handful of others who even bother to include people with our average physical traits differences in the examples. One site claimed that wearing “ethnic hats,” was something Theatrical Romantics should avoid. Imagine my confusion. I have so many questions about that LOL. Like…what ma’am??

    So when I see black centric Kibbe blogs, I don’t think “oh, look, segregation and division.” I think, “Okay, someone else has recognized that we need a closer look at the system and by closer look we mean images of people with black bodies appropriately Kibbe attired, and here is someone trying to give it to me. I bet I can click on that link, or hit play on that video and that blogger or vlogger is going to make it really easy for me to see myself as the Theatrical Romantic I think I probably am, but can’t really be too sure because I haven’t seen anyone who looks like me yet on the charts.” You are doing great work here. I absolutely appreciate your attention to detail and your drive for destroying barriers and divisions. Don’t let my passion cause you to think I’m being critical of you in any way. I think you’re doing a great job. I just wanted to add some outside perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I managed to communicate my ideas and thoughts through my posts, most of all the fact that this system can be equally used by anyone regardless of the skin color or race or ancestry. I’ve gone through the verified lists for different image identities multiple times, searching for pictures and examples and it was a hard task. The reason is very simple though – the underrepresentation of different ethnic groups in the U.S. popular culture, especially films and music, which resulted in a very limited number of celebrities from ethnic minority groups. On top of all, David Kibbe focused a lot on the stars of the old Hollywood, and he included those few AA women who were famous at the time – Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, Marilyn McCoo, Shari Belafonte, etc. He’s added more examples over the years. The reasons why there was so few celebrities from ethnic minority groups for decades is a different question, but simply put – racism and discrimination. I’ll leave a link to videos that explains this topic in-depth for everyone interested and another one Please feel free to check them out and do your own research!!
      Another great story for everyone to read about is the story of Rita Hayworth (born Rita Consuelo) who was de-Latinized in order to fit Hollywood ‘standards’
      That’s EXACTLY the standards Kibbe’s system is opposing and I speak against in my posts. Interestingly enough, I’ve received messages from Kibbe bloggers saying that these standards are just ‘evolution’ and shouldn’t and won’t go anywhere… To everyone reading this: please take everything you hear about the use of the Kibbe system by different ethnicities with a grain of salt! Many people still strive to put ethnic minorities in separate boxes and don’t understand what self-acceptance, beauty, or respect are.
      EVERYONE should have equal opportunities – all races and ethnic groups. This is the vibe I get from how David Kibbe presents his system himself and that’s why I respect him a lot and write about this system at all. Some might say that we’re talking about mundane things like a personal style approach, but that’s where discrimination starts – at the level of everyday small things. Somehow makes me think how Hattie McDaniel had to use a different entrance to get her Oscar for ‘Gone with the Wind’).
      However, one important thing: I’ve noticed that some bloggers address the question of the use of the Kibbe system by minorities (I’m talking about the minorities in the US, such as Asians, Hispanics, African Americans, American Indian, etc) as a way to simply get the views or clicks. The thing is that the use of this system is SAME for everyone. No ethnic group is special here – it’s every person, every individual who should be celebrated. Yin is Yin and Yang is Yang and if anyone claims it to be otherwise, they’ve got no idea what they’re talking about. This system is focused on individuality, which is a characteristic of Western societies (for instance, as was defined by Hofstede – very interesting theory, I must say).
      Finally, you don’t need to worry about that I’d take offence at all – I can absolutely see your intention by the tone of your comment! I completely understand the passion behind it – you can probably detect my own passion about this subject too! This is why I write about icons like Eartha Kitt (SG) and I think she’s tremendously underappreciated in popular culture! She deserves same accolades as, for instance, Audrey Hepburn does, but she’s hardly talked about. Truly, the times have changed and we’ve made progress, but saying that African American women need to use the Kibbe system in a different way than anyone else is a step back.
      Oh and as for the image identity! You’ve mentioned the answers to the test as the criterion for determining your image identity and they might actually be misleading. David Kibbe doesn’t use the test at all and doesn’t recommend it anymore. If you’re just starting out, I’d suggest reading physical profiles of every image identity and the ‘so and so image ID WILL NOT be’ lists. Another good method is watching the actresses on the verified lists ‘in motion – it helps understand what ‘delicate’ or ‘curvy’ means, like I’ve mentioned in my post SG vs TR or SN vs R And, of course, if there’s anything I can help you with, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
      Have an awesome day ahead!


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