Disclaimer: This Post may not be for everyone, There may be things said that may offend some! CAUTION: View with an open mind!
Four years ago while Attending York University I took an “African American” class that dealt with the lives, struggles and progresses of African American peoples. Being a black woman I thought this would be something interesting, a learning experience for me to get to know more about my “people” and the stuff we went through as a collective body. I learned a lot of the ‘mammy”, a term I was otherwise unfamiliar with. A Mammy was explained to be a weighty, black female whose sole purpose was to care for the Caucasian family she was “owned” by. Her everyday attire consisted mostly of a head tie covering her koils, and a apron hiding her entire figure. She was known to be strong and motherly taking care of not only her children but others as well. It is interesting to see such a shift in the societal views of African American woman as the years progressed, going from categorized as motherly, yet estranged beings to sexual entities, toys, and slaves of entertainment subjected under male dominance.
While a lot of black mothers were taken from their homes to care for the children of their masters and slave owners, they left their children at home with little to no motherly care and attention. Black woman were only given two main images. They were either, strong, masculine and considered a “Mammy or a Sapphire”, or sexual, seducing and promiscuous and deemed a “Jezebel”.
Your probably wondering by now why I’m giving a history lesson, this is supposed to be a fashion and lifestyle blog. Right? I promise you I’m getting somewhere with this, just hold on a little while longer it will all make sense soon.
If you sit down and try and watch any black movie today I guarantee you there will be at least one “Mammy” seen. There is always that one overweight, big chested, loud but nourishing black woman who is surrounded by kids with a head full of naps and a face that only a mother could love. literally. She has no man, has no sex and has a kind serving heart. The “Mammy” has not retired at all, we still see her every morning on our Maple Syrup and Pancake Mix in the form of Aunt Jemima.
Another dominant stereotype given to black woman is this idea of a “Jezebel”, a black sexual woman. In the 1600’s these were the woman who were captured from their homes and sold on the auction blocks, stripped out of their clothes and placed on a stand as if they were animals to be fondled, examined and made to be a spectacle. Raped, abused and used as sex toys these woman were then named Jezebels using that title to rationalize their sexual behavior.
My problem is that Today black woman are NOT rejecting the stereotypes that society gave them hundreds of years ago. Flipping through the TV, going on IG and Tumblr you can see these same “Jezebels” gyrating, whining, booty clapping and twerking all over the place as if its not already hard enough for a black woman as it . I’m not knocking ANYONE’S hustle and If you take this to heart. I’m sorry but this is just me saying how I feel. I don’t understand why so many black woman are latching on to this sexual identity instead of rejecting it. Is it because they love sex, Is it because that’s what they were exposed to as a child and that’s all they’ve ever known?
Instead of trying to reject the given stereotype and prove to society that even though we were made into sexual beings we are not like that anymore and have evolved into beautiful, successful, ambitious black woman I am too often seeing scantly clad, loose ( and I use that word Loosely) “I’ll do anything for a dollar and a pair of Louboutins” woman. I am not picking on black woman I know there are other woman of other ethical backgrounds that do the same thing BUT I am black and can only really speak for my own race at this time. Researchers have taken surveys and done studies and the conclusion keeps coming back that it is strongly believed that black woman are sexually loose and promiscuous. You can see why this would be an issue to me as a black woman. Having to work extra hard to prove to the world that I am not like the other woman whose Social Media pages are covered with half naked pictures of them in thongs, g-strings and body paint seductively biting their fingers while their comment boxes are bombarded by horny men enticed and seduced by their physical appearance.
Yes, I am a black woman but I am much more than that. I am educated, I am driven, I am a business owner and a writer who rather spend my time planning out my life than spreading my legs to the closest available guy to feed my lust and crave for not only sexual but material goods.
We are not seen for what we posses in our minds, but more so what is seen physically and verbally.
My issue is not just that society has rejected the beauty of black woman, my issue is that for myself as a black woman I am made to feel that having “kinks and coils” is not attractive. As a Black woman I am made to feel that If I get too dark that there may be a problem in terms of not only getting a job but also finding a potential significant other. Living in a society that praises straight hair, a straight nose, perfect lips and a perfect body there is no question why a large chunk of Black men are drawn to black woman who posses Caucasian physically features. As if that wasn’t enough, I’m seeing so many black woman getting their bodies re-arranged, waist taken in. booty added on. breast done hips done. Shoot. They’re just getting everything done to look like only God knows what? Now I know not everyone is born with that perfect ” Kim K” shape but never before have I seen so many woman and by woman I mean black woman getting so much operations to change around their bodies. Some females have more silicone in them than anything else….Why do I care?
We have an up and coming generation of young black girls who from the tender age of 12-13 already have a head full of extensions, because of the chemicals in the food have grown woman bodies and are starting to look too old for their young ages. I am seeing 18 year old girls with fake bums doing only God knows all over the internet hoping to pursue “modeling” or should I say Instagram Modeling posting booking information details under their bio instead of trying to pursue an education and make something out of their lives.
The issues around colorism dominate my life from the day I was born till the day I die, telling me that to be truly accepted In North American society I have to look and talk a certain way. Our hair will be considered inappropriate or not professional if it is puffy and free causing a lot of black woman to spend hundred on relaxers and texturizers trying to tame and remove the issue they think hinders them from getting to that place in the world where they will be accepted and visible. The Virgin hair industry has been making millions by selling Cambodian, Eurasian, Filipino, Peruvian, Brazilian, Chinese, Indian, and probably even Italian hair to black females seeking this European and exotic but far from black look for their hair. can say this because I myself have spent a lot of money on Virgin hair, this life saving hair that comes in so many different shades, textures and bundles that curls, wonds, straightens, dyes and if installed right can give off the illusion of being your own natural hair.
Scary eh. I know. Sounds like Witchcraft how perfect this hair is.
And if not liking the texture and look of our hair is not bad enough, the shade of our skin is another factor that makes and breaks many woman’s self-esteem and thoughts on how the world will accept them. I have never seen so many bleaching creams and skin lighteners in Beauty Supply stores in my life until recently. Everyone someone is going from dark to light in the span of a year …. -__..
So your probably wondering again.. So what? What’s the point of all of this? Why should I even care?
I don’t have the perfect body. I don’t have hair flowing down the middle of my back. My body isn’t “flawless” – I didn’t wake up like this- BUT I am a proud black woman who embraces her flaws, rejects the given stereotypes and presses to be the BEST woman that I can be. I know what I want out of life and I know that in order to get it I have to work hard for it but in the end I will come out on top.
I’m not a Stereotype.