Hey… haven’t written here in a while so I thought to post something from the blog I share with an amazing friend… Here goes… :)
Slavery isn’t a crime perpetuated by one race against another. At least not anymore… It’s now a state of mind- an inferiority complex inflicted on one’s own race by oneself. I’ve come to this realisation because of the comments, preferences and trends I have observed within this race we call “black”. A Naija guy (born and bred) tweeting that naija girls are not fine… An African woman obsessed with sewing an oblivious South-American or Asian woman’s hair onto her head… An entire race striving to be what it is not.
Sugabelly once blogged about that resonated with me. The reason we have these ferocious “black is beautiful” campaigns and affirmations is because we need them. We NEED to hear that we are these things because noone says it otherwise. White doesn’t have to be reminded that it is beautiful… European hair does not need a natural hair movement to spread the word about the beauty of its long, silky locks… SHE KNOWS. The voluptuous, full-lipped, dark-skinned, nappy-headed girl on the other hand needs to be drilled… Infused… Inundated with these affirmations because sadly, in most cases, she will never get such admiration otherwise. Even black people ourselves idolise the fairer ones with slender features- characteristics atypical of our bodies- at the expense of those who through no fault of theirs look “too African” or are just “plain ugly”. What does “ugly” even mean, anyway? That my lips aren’t thin enough or my nose is too flat? Or that I’m just not worthy of your attention?
It sickens me that this mental slavery is reinforced each and every day by the very people it holds in captivity. Reading any black entertainment blog and the hateful comments on others’ appearance will show this. The fact that women spend inordinate amounts of money (sometimes instalmentally) on other women’s God-given hair without a credible and sustainable stream of income proves this. And the kinds of girls that our men tend to lust after further etches it in stone. The quintessential black sex goddess (read sarcasm) has an Indian woman’s hair, a Brazillian woman’s complexion and is dressed like an American video ho. Seriously. Seriously?
I cannot count how many times a guy has asked my what the fuck I did to my hair (and I quote). “I prefer you with your longer hair”, they say. You mean you prefer me with some other woman’s longer hair. I even got told that I am becoming more Nigerian, just cos said person heard me speaking Yoruba… You could all but see the negative connotations that weighed on the word “Nigerian” in that sentence. It’s like my British education is supposed to have washed away the undesirable African in me and replaced it with a more European-friendly Funmi (weave-included at a slight extra cost). I would be the first person to admit that everyone is entitled to their tastes, preferences and opinions. But something is wrong when the men whose companions we are supposed to be want to model us after something else. AND WE LET THEM. More than that, we go a step further and actively encourage them by putting down others who do not conform to the trend. My idea of the creation story was that making Eve from Adam’s rib symbolised the complementary functions that men and women have to play viz-a-viz one another. Where they falter, we should support and when we are weak, they should be strong. God knows a woman’s weakness- let alone a black woman- lies considerably in the image she has of herself. Do we really need our men and fellow women chipping away at this even more?
I am in no way arguing that everyone should claim to be pretty or expect to be regarded as such. Beauty is defined as such for the very reason that it excludes. We have the idea of beauty or attractiveness because there are things which we do not find physically beautiful or attractive. The problem I have is when this physical appearance is all a woman is judged on. Women who inspire me- Michelle Obama, Funmi Iyanda, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison- aren’t exactly Page Six Models. But I don’t give a shit. Neither should anyone with an IQ higher than 5. Their character, their achievements… WHO THEY ARE… Those things count for way more than some myopic notion of what is exotic or not. The very idea that beauty has to be exotic in itself is stupid. It reeks of inadequacy and self-loathing. You are not whole or worthy of anything as you are. you need more Brazillian in you. Sew it in here, inject it there. Voila. Damn, you’s a sexy bitch.