Written by Penelope Farthing
We black women are beautiful. We age more slowly, our natural hair grows towards the sky, and at our best, other women buy the features we have naturally. However, we also have so many negative stereotypes that work against us- we are the loud ones, the angry ones, the fat ones. We are the “strong, independent women who don’t need no man”, which, by the way, is not a point of pride. Not to mention, our male counterparts adorn themselves in Party City seaweed-looking wigs and horrible makeup and mock us, calling it comedy.
However, we are partially to blame for the denigration of our image. We are guilty of broadcasting ourselves at our worst too. There is a reason that World Star and The Shade Room have the following they have. And before you say “we shouldn’t have to be perfect all the time!”, you’re right. But we should still make an effort to present our own personal best self to the world.
I was inspired to write this blog after seeing a clip from the Ellen Degeneres’ show. The segment features an overweight, dark skinned black woman showcasing her talent: pulling large items out of her cleavage. These items included a flat iron, a makeup bag, a full-size bottle of liquor, and some other miscellany. She kindly offered a tater tot out of an open package (no doubt with boob sweat for added flavor) to her host, who, shockingly, declined. While some may see this as a bit of harmless humor…I didn’t. We can add displays like this to why we’re collectively disrespected at the levels that we are. The camera panned to the DJ, tWitch, during this segment, a black man, whose face was contorted in disgust. Take that as you will.
The comments on the video, as always, held a wealth of information.
‘It’s not a black thing, aaaaallllll races of women use their tits as a purse!” and “It’s not a black thing, it’s a big bust thing” seemed to be a common theme. That may be true, and it’s gross no matter who does it. But which race of woman is the one broadcasting this behavior as a one-woman sideshow? Which race of women is least protected by her male counterparts, and is in fact, routinely mocked by them, in public and in private? Which race of woman cannot afford to heap additional negative portrayal onto ourselves? We, more than women of other races, suffer from all the –isms: racism, colorism, texturism, and displays like this certainly do us no favors.
A few comments said the display was demeaning and were swiftly met with derision. Some women even posted “I do it too, does that make me ghetto?”. Well, if you have to ask…
We proudly claim the recent Oscar achievements of Regina King and Hannah Beachler. Do we then also claim this woman’s ability to show off her breast-purse?
We have to stop broadcasting our worst and instead reclaim our image and push the best of black women to the forefront.
And just buy a damn purse.