While surfing around the blogosphere, I came across a couple of articles that made me laugh…well, chuckle anyway. In Stuff Black People Don’t Like, our hair made the list. (Update 2016: Since 2014, the site that started out humorous has become increasingly butt hurt and therefore unfunny, which leads me to believe that it is part of Team Old Troll, or highly influenced by them.) In another, an Essence writer claims that Serena’s nude photo in ESPN magazine empowered her, and by golly it should empower you too.
Now, I’ll admit that many Black women change the texture of their hair in a conscious effort to look more White. Some White women probably shave their legs in a conscious effort to look more Black. However, the reason most people alter their appearance is to look more beautiful. Whatever the going standard is in their area, that’s the one they’re going to adhere to, even if it means taking harmful or counterproductive measures.
If it was really a matter of White makes right in western aesthetics, nobody would wax. We’d all be running around gluing hair to our arms, legs, and butts (yes, you see some thangs when you venture across the ol’ Atlantic) to look more White.
It’s not about race. It’s about femininity. Whatever a culture values as feminine will be what they perceive as beautiful. In the U.S. for most people, it happens to be straight, long, preferably blonde hair. Plenty of people of European descent don’t have that, and go to the salon to create that look. Black women do it for the same reasons. It’s what’s in, so the most socially invested will invest the most in fitting the society’s standard.
It’s not rocket science. In fact, it’s high school social studies. It’s a shame that some people still don’t get it. It disturbs me no less to see a White woman than a Black woman with cicatrical alopecia from abusing their hair to be more “beautiful” when it doesn’t even accomplish that. “My hair looks like dry hay, but it’s straight and blonde, dangit!”
…and why oh why is this in their relationship advice category?
The whole article is basically a list of excuses which basically boiled down to White women (who are not professional athletes but actresses and models) did it pin-up style, and were “celebrated”. Serena was just as “celebrated” as any other hoe. Nobody is complaining because a Black woman got naked for the cover of a magazine. People are complaining because she is a professional athlete with a big mammy grin in a pin up pose.
It’s about the context. The context was dancing a jig, not Olympic nude. To make my point, in this forum topic, a poster took the head off and put a bronzing filter to it. Her facial expression was one of the main problems with the photo, aside of it being empty of anything but “ESPN” in the background. She didn’t look very empowered to me.