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.
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
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: