Recently I caught an episode of Being Mary Jane where she discussed the idea of beauty in Black women. I’ve done post about this before but I have to wonder about this idea. I did a search online with “black women are” and the first things I got were : ugly, easy, stupid, less attractive. And apparently black women are the least desirable group when it comes to online dating. When I did online dating I am often amazed to see how many men do not have black as a preffered race for dating. Then scratch my head when some of these same men then write to me. Was this by mistake? Did you think you could just give it a “shot” and see what it was all about (as was told to me once by a guy) because apparently we are an “experience”?
We are also a group that has our beauty picked apart like no other. If we color our hair a certain way we are ghetto, if we wear a weave we don’t love ourselves. We are also lumped in the same group despite our individuality.
And how diversified is the Bachelorette/Bachelor? Do the brown contestants make it far? What if they looked less like brown Barbie dolls and more “natural” – darker skin or kinky hair?
People were up in arms when Mrs. Obama appeared on Black Girls Rock but, darn it, no other female group is berated like us. It’s not about saying all other girls suck but about us taking a stand to love and appreciate us when others may not.
I can go out with a group of friends in my town (D.C. area) and see that the standard of beauty that is most appreciated here is light skin, less kinky hair and a smaller frame among men of all races. I have witnessed more than once a black man approach a group of women and buy drinks only for the non black or lighter skinned women. This is a pretentious town, of course, but the idea that brown is not a popular ideal of beauty even among other brown people is disturbing.
I believe in my own beauty and have traveled enough to know that this sentiment is not everywhere but I can’t help the feeling that we have gone wrong somewhere. I’ve seen beautiful women of all brown shades, celebrities, educated, average girls and so forth face a tougher battle in the path to love. One woman being interviewed on a talk show ( a biracial female who was listed in Maxims hottest women list even) said she was “disturbingly single”. That is a perfect statement that comes to mind when I read statistics that show black women have far lower numbers of marriage rates before the age of 40 than the other races (something like 70 percent which gets me to my fainting couch). Side note:The percentage of unmarried black women lessens in our 50s which seems to show that we do marry just marry later (late 30s/early 40s), which is still problematic and could be a discussion on its own.
So what’s the fix? More positive images of black women in social media? More support of our beauty from black men and even other men? More self celebration in our own group of our beauty (like Black Girls Rock)? Maybe it’s all of it. The one take away for me is that we must stay positive and not let the statistics, stereotypes, and racism affect how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the world. With that positive spirit sooner or later others will see that they have been missing out!