Wanting to be a Big Booty Hoe (#TBT)

31 Jul

2chainz-birthday-songSexy is a Lifestyle

In high school, my nickname was “Feed the Children,” because my friends joked that I was skinny enough to be in Feed the Children’s campaigns about malnourished children in third world countries (Clearly my friends weren’t very PC).

I was somewhat insecure about my thin frame because I had internalized something that I’d learned from listening to hip hop and the guys at school: girls with curves and big booties were sexy—bony little “Feed the Children,” was not.

So I always wanted to be thicker. Three years later, while studying overseas in Argentina, where my diet consisted mostly of pasta and cheese, I gained some weight and grew what became my pride and joy: my ass. Coming home from Buenos Aires with a little curve in what I believed was all the right places gave me a synthetic confidence.

Imagine my disappointment one day when I turned to the side in the mirror only to find that my booty had shrunk, and for a little while, so had my confidence.

As women, many of us are all taught at young ages —either from our parents, magazines, music, or the world around us—that part of our duty is to be pleasing to the eye. Scholars Sheila Lintott and Sherri Irvin explain in “Sex Objects and Sexy Subjects: A Feminist Reclamation of Sexiness,” women are socialized to believe that being sexy is essential to their value as human beings, and that only certain looks are defined as sexy. When someone fails to adhere to those narrow standards of sexy she may be viewed as less of a woman.

That is how I felt when I looked in the mirror and saw my lack of curves: I was less sexy; I was less of a woman.

Many of us have those times where we judge ourselves according to someone else’s definition of sexy. In doing so, we progress this idea that sexy means fitting into a very small box (more like a very small prison).

We are often taught that we are too skinny, too big, or too dark. We have too much of this and not enough of that. Most women do not fit the dominant idea of sexy.

However, many people go to great lengths to try to fit into that prison. We spend hundreds of dollars on our hair and makeup, constantly change our diets, wear the highest, most uncomfortable heels, experience a lot of pain (sometimes at the hands of beauticians, stylists, or plastic surgeons), and in the process, we deny and reject our real selves.

There’s a difference between the synthetic confidence I attained when I first noticed my weight gain and the real confidence I got from defining sexy on my own terms. Sometimes I have to remember that sexy isn’t something I can buy in a bottle at Sephora for $45. Nor is it my favorite pair of heels that make my legs look longer. Sexy is a fusion of confidence and compassion. It is a decision to live on my own terms (not according to anyone else’s expectations). Sexy is a lifestyle.

 

P.S. This is a throwback post from last year. I’ll do a throwback post once or twice a month for my newer audience. Enjoy :)

7 Things That Happen When You’re the Only Black Person at Work

24 Jul
First job out of college and I’m the only black person in the office. It’s been interesting, to say the least.  Here are some of the funny and offensive moments I’m sure a lot of us solo black folks have experienced:
1. When you forget to code-switch your language at work.
GIF Oops
2. When your hair becomes a frequent topic of discussion. 
GIF hair
3. When you want to turn down your music in the office parking lot but this Kendrick song is EVERYTHING! GIF Car dance
4. When you’re at a loss for words because your white boss rolled his neck and snapped his fingers in an attempt to act out an “angry black woman.”
GIF 8
GIF Lord
5. When you don’t want to be a stereotype but you’re like “fuck it” and heat up your chicken in the office microwave anyways.
GIF oh well chicken
6. If your parents were a little creative with your name, people feel the need to ask and comment on it.
GIF So 2
7. When you frequently encounter microagressions at work and don’t quite know how to word your response.
GIF 9
Hey Y’all. really need your advice. At work, I’ve had to deal with some semi-racist (aka just plain racist) jokes that aren’t funny.
The thing is–there used to be one black woman in the office before I got there. Given the openly racist things that happen, I don’t think she said much about it. But I cannot be that person. I cannot let this go on while I’m at work and it certainly cannot continue after I’m gone. Then the next black person that comes along is going to have to deal with the same shit and will be stuck in this same awkwardness.
Some folks need to be told up front that what they’re doing is NOT okay. However, given the very casual, always-joking climate of the office, I’ve found it difficult to switch gears to a more serious tone and voice my opinion.
It’s easy to be outspoken with my keyboard, but in person I am sometimes more shy and reserved. I’m new to this office and don’t want to create any tension or drama, but I have to do something about it because it feels wrong not to. I can’t be that person who talks tough on the internet and becomes spineless in person.
How should I handle this?

Natural Hair vs. Weaves: It’s Time to End this Battle

21 Jul

NAT solangeLast week, The Root published an article criticizing a meme that made fun of black women who wear weaves.

Weave V. Natural

Writer Jenée Desmond-Harris pointed out that this meme makes various assumptions about black women’s feels about their hair.

Contrary to what I expected, when I scrolled through the comments, tons of people agreed with the meme. Many of them argued that all black women who do not wear their hair in a natural style are struggling with low self-esteem, internalized racism, and self-hate.

In order to pull some folks out of this shallow, misguided thinking, I immediately felt the need to write this post. Let a buzzed-cut girl (who’s been natural her whole life) break it down—because it’s been passed time to end this hair feud.

In defense of weaves and wigs:

Now I won’t sit here and act like internalized racism isn’t an issue in our community. Some people have been taught (at very young ages) that nappy hair is ugly and unkempt. Sometimes weaves, relaxers and other hair trends are an expression of the internalized black hate that has been in our world for centuries.

However, not every girl with a weave has internalized racist views about their hair.

Wearing a weave doesn’t automatically mean you have low self-esteem or self-hate just like wearing natural hair doesn’t automatically mean you’re confident. Michelle Obama wears a weave. So does Janet Mock, Oprah, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Beverly Bond (Creator of Black Girls Rock), and many other powerful women. These women have to have a certain level of confidence in order to make it as far as they have.

Oftentimes women wear weaves for protective styling and convenience. Sometimes it’s easier to throw on a cute wig or wear a weave rather than raking through your hair and styling it all the time. Natural styles, including locs, can take quite a bit of time and effort to maintain.

In defense of Naturalistas:

Being natural isn’t always easy. It takes a lot of courage to be natural in a society that has an all-around hate for natural hair.

Natural girls get very little love in the mainstream, as very few of our major pop stars wear their hair natural when they’re in the spotlight. You hardly find natural hair in Hollywood, fashion, or even the White House (Wouldn’t it be cool to see FLOTUS rockin some double-strand twists). Natural hair is still pretty revolutionary, because unfortunately, our world still has an obsession with European standards of beauty. And unfortunately, our naturalistas are penalized and attacked for wearing their natural hair in various situations. Locs and afros are often viewed as unprofessional in a work environment, several private schools have banned little black girls from wearing afro puffs, and black women in the military have recently faced stricter regulations on certain natural styles.

NAT hairYet, natural hair has become on-trend lately. Tons of women are having the Big Chop, there beauty bloggers, tons of Pintrest, Tumblr, and Instagram accounts dedicated to natural hair.

Yes, we do need to teach that black hair is beautiful when it’s in its natural state, but we don’t need to shame others for straighter styles.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both natural hair, weaves, and relaxed hair. People do what works best for them.

At the end of the day, who died and made anybody the hair police? Browsing the internet, you’ll find memes making fun of natural girls and shaming girls with weaves. So whether you wear a weave or your own hair, small-minded people will talk shit either way. If you have a problem with anyone’s hair type or texture, this is all I have to say to you:

Mind ya businessMind ya business, that’s all. Just mind ya business. If it ain’t growing out of your scalp then you have no need to comment or feel any type of way about it.

 

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