Friday, July 07, 2006

A Letter to Black Women

Dear Black Women,
This is not a knock against them, but something about chele's latest blog-post and nikki's response...

' yeah. that guy probably didn't know how to pay a compliment. that's an affliction most guys have.
"you've got a phat ass"
"i've got a fat ass? thanks, you bastid!" '

...reminded me of how sad it is, to me, that a number of Black women (maybe Black people, in general) judge themselves so strictly by "white" standards of beauty and attractiveness.

I thought I'd covered this topic, but it seems the closest I came to it was a comment in my 'Black Women: "How dare you compliment me?!" ' :

' (I'm also reminded of the Black woman's denial of her booty-ful birthright. IF you've got it, why deny its existence or its aesthetic value? But, of course, I digress.) '

I think Latifah tried to give a lil nod to this in Beauty Shop, but it kinda fell flat... like her ass, unfortunately. Still, I've got a lot of love for Latifah, in general, and especially for that attempt.

I've also heard a number of Latinas and Black, female celebrities talk about "celebrating their curves" and not being ashamed of them, which is cool. But something about 1) that vague terminology, and 2) The Hypocrite Factor (i.e. the fact that many of these women, like Jennifer Lopez, claim to big-up their curves, but are really working their asses off... to literally work those asses off), concerns me.

I don't know where J-Lo's ass is, at this point, but last I checked, it belonged on a milk carton.

To address nikki's point, which is substantive, sometimes Black men DO say things that we mean as compliments, but our delivery lacks a certain... everything. I'm sorry about that.
This is certainly something that many of us need to work on.

At the same time, though, I think it'd take some of the sting out of these "compliments," if a number of you would truly take to-heart what Black men, like myself, feel and what SOME of you say, but don't really mean:

Your typical proportions work for you and they damn-sure work for me. ;)
Please don't beat yourselves up because nature didn't give you the silhouette of the stereotypical white woman (or of the stereotypical Black woman, for that matter).

None of this is to say that there's no value in recognizing the potential for self-improvement (physical, emotional, or otherwise), but perspective makes the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy self-image.

In my not-so-humble opinion, finding insult in your genetic heritage is a little too close to the "unhealthy" side of the spectrum.

I look forward to the day when you see in yourselves what we see in you.

-with Love,
A Black Man


chele said...

I haven't read this yet but I wanted to let you know that I absolutely LOVE how you unselfishly promote the blogs of others.

I'll be back with a real comment. Thanks so much for the love.

chele said...

Looking in the mirror and liking what you see is a process. It took me more than 35 years ... now that I'm almost 42 I can't stay out of the mirror. LOL! No, I'm not conceited ... just comfortable with who I am.

West said...

Hehehe. I can understand that.

I can understand looking in the mirror and not caring for dimples in that bottom, but if it's the fact that you've GOT ONE... that saddens me.

On the one hand, it's the nasty in me that wants to see Black women who are proud of their unique traits (which extend further than the booty, of course).

On the other, I'm bothered by the fact that so many women I've known and/or dated over the years have spent so much time fretting over things their male counterparts celebrate about them.

In some ways, it's a quality-of-life issue.

A Black woman's facial structure and figure are special and there's an inherent beauty there. If she doesn't care for the way HERS worked out, I can feel that. If she has a problem with those traits in EVERYone,... again, I'm saddened by that.

This all really comes home when some women go to extremes to divest themselves of their "African heritage," if you will.