Black is beautiful dammit!

Welcome

I believe that self esteem is the foundation for happiness. Self esteem provides us with the knowledge that we have worth, the confidence to take risks, the strength to fight our corner and the wisdom to walk away from bad situations and people. Without this self esteem, we leave ourselves defenceless against the whims of others and lack the conviction to lead the lives we deserve.

I often marvel at the innate confidence that a lot (and sadly not all) of black women possess. I say this because it is a miracle that it exists at all. Black women are under a constant barrage of negative imagery almost at every turn.

I am truly sick and tired of the European version of black beauty which the mainstream media champions. I do not need to have fair skin, slight features and long hair to be considered beautiful. The likes of Rihanna, Beyonce, Vanessa Williams and Halle Berry have become the acceptable face of black. It is undeniable that these women are all beautiful but these women are all of mixed parentage/heritage. Why should black beauty have to have a European makeover in order to be recognised as beautiful? At the end of the day this nonsense still peddles the rubbish that only white beauty is true beauty and the further you are from that ideal the further from beautiful you become. It also perpetuates that women are still just commodities and our value still lies in our bodies and faces.

Over the summer a Japanese psychologist, Satoshi Kanazawa came up with a report stating the black women were the most unattractive group of women on the earth. What I found very interesting is that this crackpot’s views were published in the major newspapers even though it had been rubbished by the psychology community. Perhaps the article was published because it actually promoted a widely held belief? To be honest I thought it was garbage to begin with and advised anyone with sense to completely ignore it. What really saddened me is how many Black women actually take this foolishness on board. I had a debate with a Black woman about this report and she agreed with its findings saying that she does find lighter skinned women more attractive than her. This was an intelligent and articulate woman and she was taken in by this. I base attractiveness on the arrangement and symmetry of facial features – skin tone has nothing to do with it.

Black women are known for our fuller lips, small waist to hip ratio (hourglass figure), big thighs and large bottoms. Unfortunately I am lacking in the ‘junk in my trunk’ department but I think that three out of four aint bad. If these features are so awful why are so many women of other races ruining their faces with lip filler, frequenting tanning beds, stocking up on fake tan and marvelling at JLO’s butt?

What is it about Black women that seem to terrify the mainstream media? I remember watching a piece on TV about ‘Hitch’ (rom-com featuring Will Smith). The movie executives ruled out a Black female lead for Will Smith as they feared it would alienate White audiences. Eva Mendes as a Latin American actress was considered a safer, more inclusive choice. What I want to know is it what is so ‘alienating’ about Black women? I suppose I should also put that question to almost every male hip hop artist, rnb singer and black sportsman. I just don’t understand why you almost never see a dark skinned Black woman in a music video (as the love interest) or on the arm of rich Black sportsman? I remember having to do a double take when I first saw Michelle Obama. I couldn’t believe that she was a Black woman! Something is very wrong when you are surprised that a man of colour is married to a Black woman. It is frustrating to think that Black men also believe the hype that somehow Black women have less appeal, status than other women. In the UK Black men are eight times more likely than any other race to date and marry interracially. In a study led by Tamas Bereczkei at University of Pecs (Hungary), his findings suggested that men are typically attracted to women who resemble their mothers. Why are Black men the exception to this rule in such huge numbers?

I am not against inter-racial relationships. That is not what this article is about. It is none of my business who people choose to love. I have a problem with the world seeing Black women as less than other women. Women are still seen as commodities where a beautiful White woman is considered the epitome of beauty and with dark skinned Black women at the very bottom. We live in a world where many Black men believe this hype and choose women who they believe will reflect or enhance their status. I have many friends of mixed parentage who felt that Black men were only interested in them because of their light skin tone. Conversely, I have friends who find themselves constantly snubbed by Black men because they are considered too dark. This breeds insecurity in Black women of every hue. It saddens me that this ‘self hate’ has created a booming trade in skin lightening creams. We still have a long way to go if some Black people think it is a good idea to put mercury on their skin in order to conform to a false and stupid notion of beauty.

‘So what does this have to with marriage?’ I hear you ask, everything is the answer. It is virtually impossible to find lasting love if you lack self esteem. Confidence has little to do with being a mouthy alpha male/female. However, it does give you a sense a self worth, an ability to believe you are deserving of love and gives you an idea of what real love looks like. I’m lucky, I come from a loving family, my dad believes that I am the best thing since sliced bread and my mother taught me to take crap from no one. What about other Black women who do not have that base? They are constantly undermined or ignored by society at large. In western society perhaps there is a pressure for Black men to prove their self worth via external means such as a fancy car, a high paying job and the right looking woman. Perhaps this pressure drives peoples’ choices. How can we hope as a community to be making the right romantic decisions if they are coming from a place of self doubt instead of self worth?

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

12 thoughts on “Black is beautiful dammit!

  1. “I do not need to have fair skin, slight features and long hair to be considered beautiful. ”

    Long hair is widely regarded as attractive. It’s a sign of good health and genes, as if you are poorly fed and unhealthy you can’t grow hair. It’s especially important for unattractive or middle attractiveness women- long hair can make a woman much more attractive. I know from talking to black women how hard it is to grow your hair long, but it’s worth it often.

    I’ve never heard the term slight features, so.

    And fair skin is almost universally preferred.

    http://www.vdare.com/articles/blondes-have-deeper-roots

    “Although virtually all cultures express a marked preference for fair female skin, even those with little or no exposure to European imperialism, and even those whose members are heavily pigmented, many are indifferent to male pigmentation or even prefer men to be darker.”

    The article suggests that this may be because women who don’t have to work outside (and so don’t acquire a tan) tend to be higher class, and so are seen as more attractive. It’s not european, it’s almost universal.

    “It also perpetuates that women are still just commodities and our value still lies in our bodies and faces. ”

    Women are valued for their beauty more by men than vice versa. It doesn’t mean they’re a commodity, any more than a man being a musician, which many women find sexy, means he’s a commodity.

    “We still have a long way to go if some Black people think it is a good idea to put mercury on their skin in order to conform to a false and stupid notion of beauty.”

    As harsh as this sounds, it is a good idea as they get more attractive men. You can’t beat biology, and men biologically want fairer skined women. So they burn their skin. They are as smart as you, they just face the reality that if they are lighter coloured they can get a better man.

    • Hello ‘The Second’

      Thanks for the message.

      The point of my article is that you cannot compare Black and White women. A White woman’s hair has the ability to grow in length. A Black woman’s hair can only grow in a similar way with chemical assistance. It is like comparing apples with oranges.

      As for the women being viewed as a commodity, a woman is for the most part, valued on what she looks likes whereas in your example of the musician a man is judged on what he does.

      Here is another Biological fact for you, mercury applied to the skin raises the chances of developing skin cancer and other related disorders. I think that it is tragic if any woman believe that it is a good idea to endanger their health in order to get a ‘good man’.

      Finally Michelle Obama has short hair, does not use any lightening products (to the best of my knowledge) and she is married to one of the most powerful men in the world.

      • “A Black woman’s hair can only grow in a similar way with chemical assistance. It is like comparing apples with oranges. ”

        Surely the issue is that black men are comparing black women with white women, and chosing the white women? While you may dislike it, it’s still a reality that women will have to face. And black women are certainly within their rights to take efforts to make themselves more attractive.

        “As for the women being viewed as a commodity, a woman is for the most part, valued on what she looks likes whereas in your example of the musician a man is judged on what he does. ”

        As this article notes, beauty is something you do. You can make substantial efforts to improve your looks through good nutrition and there are more radical ways to improve it. Why should we value women less simply because they chose to develop a different attribute? Most men don’t.

        “Here is another Biological fact for you, mercury applied to the skin raises the chances of developing skin cancer and other related disorders. I think that it is tragic if any woman believe that it is a good idea to endanger their health in order to get a ‘good man’. ”

        And numerous men do dangerous jobs with the hopes that it will get them women. It is a physical fact that coal mining is more radioactive and toxic than nuclear power plants, but men still burn their lives away working in them for women. People often hurt themselves for love. If they feel it’s the only way to get love, I have no desire to stop them.

        “Finally Michelle Obama has short hair, does not use any lightening products (to the best of my knowledge) and she is married to one of the most powerful men in the world.”

        Yeah, Obama sought out her as one of his few work collegues that was black and dated her. Most people do prefer to date within their race.

      • Hi ‘The second’

        I have no problem with inter racial relationships. People are free to choose who they love. I have a problem with Black people looking down upon themselves. If a man is truly going to choose a woman based on the length of her hair – he is an idiot.

        In the West, most men work in white collar jobs or in relatively safe environments. Men have the choice not to have a dangerous job, no one is forcing them to put their lives in danger to earn a crust. That might be the case in the developing world but not to the same extent in the West. That decision is on them.

        Real love doesn’t hurt. If it is does, have the good sense to walk away and leave it. The point of my blog is that a lack of self esteem encourages people to make stupid love and life choices. Love should lift people not make them feel even more insecure about themselves.

  2. Hi Sudelicious,

    First of all, I love the fact that your article is written so eloquently. It is absolutely wonderful to see a young black woman express herself with such intelligence. Secondly, I’d like to share my thoughts on your subject.

    We know that these attitudes about her skin tone and our worth are ideas that have been promoted over the generations, beginning with the slave trade and colonialism. However, my frustration does not lie with the white society that perpetuates these views. My frustration lies with US as black people. Regardless of where these views began, it is up to US to demand change and to reject these ideals, instead of waiting for other people to validate us. I am always disgusted when I walk into a black hair shop to see the plethora of weaves and hair extensions, most of which come in a texture that imitates Caucasian hair. These shops aren’t filled with this hair because white people are forcing us to buy it. It is filled with this hair because WE as black people seem not to consider our own hair beautiful unless it is straight and long – which happens to be the opposite of how our hair tends to grow. There is also an unlimited range of products available for us to chemically alter the texture our hair in order to achieve the same Caucasian effect. As a black woman, I am well aware of the challenges of having natural hair and the limitations available with styling it. I also know that as women we have a right to style our hair in whatever style we want, whether the end effect appears Caucasian or not. However, I do have a problem with the fact that these hair shops generally exist because we as a people have largely rejected our inherent state of beauty and adopted a perception of beauty that looks nothing like us. As long as we are the ones keeping these shops open, it’s foolish for us to place blame white society for rejecting our beauty.

    As for me, I haven’t relaxed my hair for over 10 years now. And I don’t do long weaves. I tend to wear my hair in braids or twists and although I use extensions I tend to use afro kinky hair because it is a more honest reflection of my own hair. I am insulted by the idea that my hair should reflect anyone’s hair other than my own. I made a conscious effort long ago to reject this view.

    As for inter-racial relationships, I personally do not have a problem with them as an idea. Like you, I believe people should be with whoever they want. However, I am disgusted with the idea of a black person dating someone outside of their race simply because they believe it’s a ‘step up’ of some kind. And I am insulted with the idea of a black person rejecting their own kind simply on the basis of race or skin tone. Shame on any black person who feels this way. Frankly, if a black man doesn’t want me because I’m black or too dark for him and he chooses someone lighter or who isn’t black, he can get lost and go and make someone else’s life miserable. He’s one less problem for black women to deal with. I wouldn’t want to be with a self-loathing ignoramus like him anyway. The irony is that this type of man is desperate for respect from outside cultures – yet he does not respect his own! As long as we don’t love ourselves enough to reinforce the richness of our own culture, what gives any of us the right to demand respect from others?

    To be honest, I am tired of US looking for everyone else to fix US for US. It is for US to educate ourselves about our history and our impact on civilisation. It is for US to heal the brokenness of our community by respecting one another. It is for US to build ourselves up by using our skills, talents and resources for OUR benefit. And it is OUR job as black women to embrace our own beauty and to celebrate it. We aren’t slaves any more. We are free to reject the false ideas that have been passed down to us. Change begins with US, in our own minds, our actions, our homes and then our wider community.

    Nuff love.

    • Dear JG

      Thank you for the message. You are absolutely right, we are in control of our destiny. We need to believe in our self worth and to love ourselves. I totally agree with everything you have written.

      Love

      Sudelicious

  3. “I have no problem with inter racial relationships. People are free to choose who they love. I have a problem with Black people looking down upon themselves. If a man is truly going to choose a woman based on the length of her hair – he is an idiot. ”

    That’s a rather rude attitude. Why can’t people chose what they find attractive? Why are you an idiot for finding some particular feature attractive or unattractive?

    Women need to get male attention to date them. They often want a man to know the real them. He’s not going to want to get to know her unless she obviously offers something.

    “In the West, most men work in white collar jobs or in relatively safe environments. Men have the choice not to have a dangerous job, no one is forcing them to put their lives in danger to earn a crust. That might be the case in the developing world but not to the same extent in the West. That decision is on them. ”

    And no one is forcing women to bleach their skin and hair, they chose to do it because they get a better outcome. And men do the same with their careers.

    “Real love doesn’t hurt. If it is does, have the good sense to walk away and leave it. The point of my blog is that a lack of self esteem encourages people to make stupid love and life choices. Love should lift people not make them feel even more insecure about themselves.”

    Love does what it wills. It hurts and makes people insecure often enough. Sometimes people have low self esteem because they’re not good enough to get what they want.

    It sucks having to date someone you don’t find attractive or caring.

    • Hi ‘The Second’

      I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

      I think that if people want happy and healthy relationships, they have to look beyond the superficial.

      Although we have opposing views, I appreciate your feedback.

      P.S I still think that hair length is a very superficial reason to date or not to date someone but that’s just me.

      • Beauty isn’t superficial. Beauty is a sign of your health, fertility, and youth. You mentioned facial symmetry, for example. If you are ill you get blotches which destroy your symmetry. If your health is poor, your hair doesn’t grow long.

        If you want a long lived wife who will give you many children beauty and hair is a good thing to look for.

        Plus, why date someone you don’t like looking at?

        I enjoy the discussion too.

  4. I think Michelle is amazing, i love her. Michelle Obama is amazing. It it very frustrating to see beyonce rihanna label as beautiful black women when they are mixed. Thats not the piont of black beauty. There always trying to put a western input into black beauty. Black is beautiful the way it is. No i dont have to be mixed. Stand up to the critics and fight for your rights. By the way Obama won and Michelle and Obama will be in the office for four more years. Dont like it you can f*** off.

  5. I feel we as black women need to reclaim our power and identity, by willfully playing up and enhancing our features, once we stop imitating the caucasian race, start accepting our ow. unique beauty, that means embracing all of our different varying skin tones, not condoning colorism within our community, teaching our children to value respect for all black women in our community, no matter what color their skin is, and teaching our young women to embrace and learn how to work with their God given kinky curly hair. I am a beautiful DARK SKINNED WOMAN WITH WAVY, CURLY, WAIST LENGTH NATURAL HAIR, YES U READ THAT RIGHT, I EMBRACE MY OWN BEAUTY, HAVE NEVER WORN WEAVES, NOR DO I DESIRE TO WEAR THEM, HAVE ATTRACTED ALL TYPES OF MEN, EVEN DARKSKINNED BLACK MEN HAVE BEEN ATTRACTED TO ME AND HAVE HIT ON ME. Once we as BLACK WOMAN GO BACK TO EMBRACING OUR GODGIVEN BEAUTY BLACK MEN AND EVERY OTHER RACE will see and notice the beauty of us.

    • Wow!! That is a powerful post and I apologise (UK spelling) for not responding sooner. I love the energy and self love in this post and I hope that you are a source of inspiration for Black girls everywhere.

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