Beauty, Black and Beyond: 4 Myths We Should Stop Perpetuating

by Kirsten West Savali

STOPIn a comprehensive list that touches on the relentless insults — both blatant and subtle — that many black women face on their daily beauty journeys, Gradient Lair makes it very clear that conforming to standards of Eurocentric beauty is so 2012. Tackling everything from patriarchy to weight bigotry, the list seems to have it all:

1) Stop calling our natural hair ugly.

2) Stop approaching our natural hair with a hierarchy that reinforces colourism.

3) Stop using placement in the natural hair community to bully Black women who may still have relaxed hair or weaves.

4) Stop saying “she’s pretty…for a dark-skinned woman.”

5) Stop saying “she’s pretty…for a big/fat woman.”

6) Stop implying that any biracial women who identify as Black or any light skinned Black women are the only ones that are attractive, and stop acting like any Black woman who deviates from this appearance should be “lucky” to have a man, regardless of how utterly lousy that man might be. Love is not something to be rationed out like a commodity only for those who are closest to appearing White.

7) Stop saying “you’re too pretty to be single.”

While this entire list is excellent, what stands out the most to me are numbers two, four and six. These three points speak to the juxtaposition of beauty, race and colorism that is just as indicative of how black women are viewed by society at-large as it is about how we view ourselves in context of that society.

More than any other ethnic group, there are exhaustive marketing efforts to guilt-trip us into being more black, more white, less fat, more curvy. We are told to be stronger, yet more submissive, independent, but more vulnerable. All of society’s norms and mores pertaining to assimilation, kyriarchy, colorism — and even feminine competition — are tossed into a gumbo of instructions that are deemed to be in our collective best interests; when, in fact, it’s merely a reflection of a society trying to find its racial and gender equilibrium– at our expense. So, here we are, positioned as guinea pigs in a maze trying our damnedest to conform to standards of beauty and femininity that morph with each tic-toc of the clock — and make sure we don’t forget to “look black” while doing it.

At the top of the year, I penned a piece titled, “Evolution: 5 Things Women Should Embrace In 2013.” And number 5 on that list reads as follows:

5. Ignore Media/Studies
If we are to believe the avalanche of negative studies and media coverage, then black women are overweight, unlovable, narcissistic, multiple baby daddy, baby having nymphos who can’t get a job or keep a man, because we’re too busy being independent and angry.

Ignore them.

Black women are not science projects or social experiments. We know that we are not a monolith and we are not the bottom-feeders in the feminine ocean. We will continue to hold our heads high, embracing sisterhood, service and success.

If you will, pay special note to “Black women are not science projects or social experiments.”

We are not — or rather we shouldn’t be — the blank canvas upon which society doodles it’s perceptions of beauty, scribbles it’s asinine, flawed expectations of womanhood, nor traces figures of racial homogeneity.

More importantly, we should not be made to feel that our expressions of beauty are irrevocably linked to our race and ethnicity.

With that said, I’d like to add a few more items to this already amazing list:

1.) If some black women want to relax their hair, maybe it’s because they simply like the manageability of straight hair. It doesn’t mean they want to be white any more than it means white women who get perms want to be Puerto Rican.

Stop saying that.

2.) If some black women rock a weave, maybe they simply like versatility. It doesn’t mean they want to be white any more than Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton wearing extensions down their backs mean that they want to be horses.

Stop saying that.

3.) If some black women color their hair blonde, maybe it’s because it compliments their complexions or it pays homage to the Solomon Islands.

It doesn’t mean that they want to be white any more than white women coloring their hair black means that they want to be, well, black.

Stop saying that.

4.) If a black woman happens to have come out of the womb with light-skin and straight hair, maybe, just maybe she’s not automatically the enemy benefiting from colorist privilege (and subsequently treated as one rung beneath a white supremacist) any more than another black woman, who happens to have been born with dark-skin and kinky hair, is automatically destined to always be pretty — “for a dark-skinned girl” — and one Molotov cocktail away from joining the Black Panther Party.

Stop saying that.

The bottom line is that black women in this country have the added burden of proving racial pride, authenticity and solidarity through our beauty choices, and that is a burden that we should reject. Just as we embrace individuality and autonomy in other aspects of our lives, that is how we should approach beauty.

There may be underlying feelings and perceptions of inferiority and superiority in some women, but I guarantee that it manifests itself in ways that are much more incriminating and/or validating than a teeny-weeny fro or a bottle of Revlon 71. And it’s past time we move beyond this entrenched house negro/field negro dichotomy and get on with the important business of being sisters.

 ***To paraphrase ATL’s finest, Outkast, every sista with dreads ain’t for the cause, and every sista with weave ain’t for the fall. So don’t get caught up in appearances, there’s more than one way to live the Black Experience***

  • MommieDearest

    *grabs popcorn and a drink, gets comfy on the sofa*

  • GG

    How about Stop Telling Black Women what to do, say and think.

  • Anon

    Our African slave ancestors were not Micronesian – stop using pictures of those natives to justify descendants of West/Central Africans ( who aren’t born with, or carry the genes, for those features) changing their features to fit white European beauty ideals.

  • Ms. Information

    We do know that some black people think this way, but all of us don’t which seems to be the sentiment….we have a long way to go.

  • Nila

    This article is weird…

  • AnnT

    We shouldn’t ignore all scientific or medical studies, we should avoid how the media (that includes ALL sites) portrays and cherry-picks certain points about studies. As a Black person, and as a women, we are understudied, misrepresented, and misdiagnosed on a number of cultural and social issues.

    Not everything that is done “against” us. We won’t be better off ignoring certain research and studies because the media thinks it’s “oppressing us” or “holding us back”. That attitude is what is holding us back.
    You can’t fault methodical and thoroughly investigated findings because our feelings get hurt. I’m not talking about junk psychology and science either. I’ve seen plenty of articles here and on other sites, that take studies and research out of context.

    Do not ignore them. Instead of retweeting and reblogging an article based on trigger words used to get attention, read the source material yourself and them decide.

  • steff

    I dont get why so many women on this page are so negative? Makes me so happy to be black and live in the UK. The author is trying to bring black women together by highlighting things that black women (mainly in the US) say and do that are of no help whatsoever. Jeez, cant we just put this negativity behind us and just embrace what makes each and every black woman special? Im ready for all the thumbs downs il get but im just speaking my mind. PEOPLE STOP HATING!

  • Treece

    “Stop using placement in the natural hair community to bully Black women who may still have relaxed hair or weaves”
    “If some Black women rock a weave maybe they simply like versatility. It doesn’t mean they want to be white any more than Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton wearing extensions down thier backs mean that they want to be horses”

    Thank you ma’am.

  • i

    But why? She’s saying to stop doing things that are negative, discouraging, and ultimately divide us as a people.

  • Nila

    Nobody is hating, its just that we read articles like these every month or so and at some point it loses it value. The truth is that there are some people that are set in their ways and wont alter the way they think or perceive things. I understand that we need to try to erase some of these stereotypes but thats an impossible task. We need articles that are a little bit more progressive. This is just rehashing what we already know and there is very little we can do about the issue.

  • myblackfriendsays

    I do think that we need to either A) come together or B) stop criticizing or C) criticize in a way that is constructive and compassionate.

    We all deal with a lot of negativity in our lives at the hands of the dominant culture. Of course there are ways that we can _all_ grow and evolve. I just wish more people wouldn’t put others down as a way to feel better about themselves.

    I have just as many preconceived notions about what makes a “real” black person as the rest of you. But I know that a lot of it comes from my own biases, and that trying to make people feel bad isn’t going to compel them to change. If we want to move things in a positive direction, we have to think critically about what strategies are most likely to make that happen.

  • Yb

    So in your first sentence you exclaim why are people so negative but then in your second sentence you take a superior stance as if being black woman and from the UK makes you better then black American women? Righhhhtttt.

  • Nila

    Clutch deleted my reply again. Basically articles like these lose their value because they are populated every month or so and we need to tackle more progressive issues. These sterotypes are not going to go away because some people are happily set in their ways. The best defense is to not give it much attention and do your part to educate the ones you have some control over. Aside from that this is like beating a dead horse. Enough already.

  • Val

    One day she writes an incredibly divisive article, the next she’s writing one supposedly trying to empower us. You just never know which Kirsten you’re going to get.

  • Peyton

    WOW! I signed on just in time. I absolutely love this statement: “Jeez, cant we just put this negativity behind us and just embrace what makes each and every black woman special?”

    As beautiful as I think a lot of women are, I still wouldn’t trade in my height, size, body, complexion, or face for what they have. We all have something to offer. I think we should continue to ignore the negativity and use that energy towards embracing ourselves. We can change people and their thoughts, but we can change the thoughts about ourselves. Great comment @steff!

  • Apple

    Kinda confused about the second half “don’t” about weaves perms and blonde hair , not sure if she’s agreeing or saying to stop saying perms are for manageability , weave for versatlity and blonde is just a style?

  • Peyton


  • Sasha

    I’m guilty of number 7, I need to stop saying that to my sister and some friends and accept the fact that maybe they like being single. Numbers 1-6 are just strange and I have a really hard time accepting the fact that people actually say those things like in real life and not in the movies/ tv shows….I’ve been in my bubble for too long but maybe thats a good thing.

  • LadyP

    As more time passes, society becomes more and more caught up in appearances. I don’t see society progressing towards a positive light for black women. We need as many positive publications as possible and to use every opportunity we have to increase self-esteem in young girls. If we have children or not, every girl in which our paths cross—it doesn’t take much to tell her how beautiful she is.

  • beauty85

    I know how black people are treated in the UK, and it is not good. You are ignored in every since of the word, I may get upset with certain things that go on in the black community in the us but the black community in the UK don’t have any unity whatsoever! And don’t even get me started on some of the black men over there!

  • leelah

    do you really think black women who dye their hair blond think they are fitting into european beauty standards?—just maybe they are having fun and changing up their hair color. after all I’ve seen women of all races wearing, blue, blond, red, and purple in their hair. They’re even wearing feathers and yarn in their hair. So why wouldn’t black women be apart of that purely female phenomenon of changing their hair color just because their bored. My best friend is a latina and she works at a salon in JCPenny those women have a wall full of hair color and hair accessories that they are paid to push on customers. And I’ve seen all kinds of women doing strange and ungodly things to their hair, including black women.

  • Chillyroad

    Self esteem doesn’t come from praise. You want to increase self esteem our girls need to accomplish things that will make them feel good about themselves. Have them set goals, reach those goals, and reward their accomplishments. No more false sense of self.

  • Chillyroad

    We also need to teach them that they don’t need everyone to love them, not everyone is obligated to love them and they can still have a good life without being the centre of attention.

  • Mastre Terry Baruti

    If a black woman is dark n fine what is wrong with that!! Black is Beautiful!! I know some fine strong Sistas that are dark and fine not only looks but the roots of Black People!!
    I tell you are Beautiful Black!!

  • steff

    Im not taking a superior stance, im just saying that over here the culture between black women is so different than that of what is in the states, being British and used to what im used to i dont think i could necessarily get used to the negativity that i see a lot, especially on online sites such as this (refer to the articles on beyonce recently). The UK is by far not perfect, i could give you a whole list of things we need to sort out. Im just highlighting the difference between both cultures. And im really confused about how you got that mixed up with me apparently thinking im superior? I hope ive clarified that for you, i am the last person who would ever do that, especially when it contradicts everything i believe in

  • ADA216

    There are things that divide us, leading to disparities in quality of life and standard of living based on things out of control. Colorism is systemic, even down to how we perceive black women who significant contributions to social and political reform. I’m not going to stop talking about it because it makes the beneficiaries and the people who love them uncomfortable. Anti-Colorism is not code for Anti-Light Skin/unkinked Hair.

  • steff

    Grrr i just replied back but my post didnt submit! Annoying, well basically i would never ever in a million years try and show my superiority against anyone or any nation. I was simply highlighting that the differences of black culture in the UK and US are very different and to be honest i dont think i could get used to the US way, and im sure in many cases it would be vice versa. The UK has a long list of things that needs to be changed, but from what i read on US blogs and a lot of the comments on here (refer to the beyonce articles for examples) there seems to be a lot of hateful comments spouted agaisnt black women that simply seem petty to me and that we dont get here. Beauty85 what might seem like a lack of unity to you is actually completely different. We are you united, but our unity is not just filled with black people, its filled with all different races and people from different backgrounds.

  • Kam

    Lol, ask the next blond Black person on the street to point to the Solomon Islands on the map. Hey guess what, I’ve known people from the Solomons, they don’t all have blond hair. That’s occurs mostly in some children and the blond changes to black when they get older. And they have nappy hair.

    Oh goodness the ‘they do it too’ excuse. When other races of women dye their hair, they dye it blond overwhelmingly, and they are certainly not changing their hair texture to match ours. I’m not saying that women who dye blond want to be white, but let’s not fake like Eurocentric beauty ideals don’t have an influence.

    I’m not even going to address the “manageability of straight hair” excuse.

  • Kam

    Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton wear hair extensions to match their own hair texture.

  • LadyP


    Everyone is not going to love them, but everyone will treat them as they [deserve] to be treated. If not, they are setting themselves up to experience an unhappy life. While they may not always have the center stage, they will know what to accept or not to.

  • Jacqueline

    Well you try to give constructive criticism but many are too immature to receive it. for instance, it is silly to suggest that all of the long weaves and blond hair are not being used to achieve a certain white aesthetic. Please stop with the nonsense.

    The people on that island are not the norm and most people do not know anything about them. There was a time when were more honest about ourselves.

    Yes, relaxers can give a variety in styling hair but it also is making many of us bald – as our weaves.

    My thing with the weaves is that a person is purposely seeking another races hair. It is sad.

    I know in my life when I dig deep and am honest I achieve my the most clarity.

  • YeahRight2011

    “Im ready for all the thumbs downs il get but im just speaking my mind.”

    Come off it, you are not a martyr for the “cause”.

  • bk chick

    5)..Don’t get all your information from blogs

    Ironically, I think the frequency of posting image oriented blog posts on women’s blogs leads to obsession with beauty/image. I think too much inundation with image conscious articles such as the “positive”: How to lose weight! Best Diet! Best Hair Care tools….to the negative “I feel shamed for being fat” “Stop saying I’m not pretty”, etc. contributes to the same thing: making image seem more important than it is. Now, Beauty and image are a part of every woman’s life and tips and advice are definitely useful but there comes a point when it’s too much!

  • YeahRight2011

    What if its a blonde afro? How about blue, purple, green or pink? Its not that deep.

  • Misshopkins

    Are these, by definition, “myths?” Little confused. Help me out here Clutchettes. Thnx.

  • LadyP

    Chillyroad…I didn’t go into detail. What you have stated is common sense. We can never just teach our young girls on beauty alone. Self-esteem doesn’t come from praise. To tell a young girl she is beautiful is to introduce her to self-love and awareness. Far from false sense of self; more like increasing self-esteem within the right direction. In passing—we are unaware of how this girl feels about herself. While we have the opportunity – have the conversation. You are beautiful which does mean inside and out IMHO. What do you want to do when you grow up? What do you like to do? You have beautiful skin – if she is dark—we already know what she will face. If she is not dark, still tell her she is beautiful. In a nutshell, we can start passing/spreading the love while we have the opportunity. As women, we are already aware of what they are up against.

    I understand what you are saying, but of course we do that as well.

  • pinklipstick227

    KIm Kardashian has also sported an afro wig and braids. Was she trying to be black then?

    Hair policing is quite ridiculous. People should be able to wear their hair in style that are most convenient for them.

  • au napptural

    Thank you! This author tried to be deep, but betrayed her true feelings with phrases like “the manegability of straight hair.” Plus, we all see what she was defending, right? Blond hair, weaves and perms. Woo, black empowerment for the masses.

    We’ll never get anywhere denying reality. These women walking the streets with blue contacts and blonde weave down to their ankles aren’t trying to look West African. Let’s keep it real.

    I’m natural and I’m happy with my choice. I don’t feel I have to defend it all the time. So either the hit dogs are hollering or ppl need other ppl to validate thei decisions. Either way, it’s sad.

  • Nila

    My sentiments exactly! Reading this stuff is not helpful to the psyche. It just emphasizes the negative. We alreay know what the perception is out there so we don’t need to read variations of these articles every month. Lets focus on other issues that are both engaging and progressive.

  • Robbie

    @ Jaqueline. I have to disagree with you. I have 5 sisters among us, three are naturally blond haired women and are extremely fair skin. One of my sisters and I were both red haired until we got into our teenage years when our hair turned dark brown with reddish roots and we are light brown. None of us cannot explain it. It is the way it is. We had a lot of people looking down on us because our hair color was weird. and not black.

    Until this day, I hate redish hair, I hate it so much that I will not date nor marry someone with that hair color even though I know that my kids may end up with it.

    I chose to wear my hair black, jet black because I love dark hairand I am obsess with it even though it is not my natural hair color. So to say that some women with blond hair try to look white shows how ignorant you are.

    I am not from the Salomon Island and yes blond (just like on the picture/red hair runs in my family just like dark hair. Both my parents have black hair, and I am not mixed.

    I just wish like the author of the article says that some black folks would stop saying that some of us with a color other than black or dark brown are trying to look white.

    When I wear my hair jet black as I am currently doing, no one questions my blackness. Why should someone questions the blackness of someone with natural or dyed blond/redish hair?

    This gotta stop! Actually light eyes also runsw in my family. One of my sisters has green eyes and the rest of us have light brown to dark brown eye color. Does that mean that she is wearing contact lenses because she is trying to be white?

    Just because you don’t know anyone that falls into that category does not mean that they don’t exist. It is time to stop putting people into the same bag. Just because we are black does not mean that we all have to look alike or to like the same thing.

  • Bosslady

    Maybe it’s just me….BUT, this article didn’t benefit me at all; not to disregard the work of the author, but this is 2013, do people still think/says these things?! Maybe I’m just blessed to have enlightened friends and acquaintances, but these things are all non-brainers, so much so, to me, it doesn’t even need acknowledging.

  • Nakia

    “Bully black women”. Oh please. Stop using “bullying” to soothe your feelings of guilt and regret. Don’t blame me because my big hair makes you feel some kind of way. Also, I get sick of sistas using this weave argument to deny the plain reality: they don’t want their hair to look nappy or short. Convenient and low maintenance hair styles for a black woman? Braids. Locks. Twist out. A wash and go fro. Hair that don’t run from rain nor steam nor heat nor sweat. A weave that breaks and damages, can’t get wet, and looks in no way shape or form natural (real, authentic)? No.

    I just try to be the change…

  • kim

    this article is an embarassment, it’s incinuating that all darkies hate and are jealous of brights, black men have moved on from lights to bi-racial and mostly white, so that lightskin/darkskin debate is pretty much dead.

  • ShayNayNayNot

    You filthy colored picaninny incubators do not have “hair”. You all have fur like other wild animals. The only “hair” you can have is what you steal from beauty supply stores that comes from a horse’s tail after it urinates and defecates on it which helps explain some of the smell you all emanate.

    Whether you stay “natural” with your nappy fur or try to look human with your stolen horse tail “hair” you are still colored and nothing will change that. You can bleach your sh*tskin, wear fake claws on your paws, etc. and your DNA will not change.

    All you uppity shetwats need to simply accept the fact you are not “just like us” and never will be. You do not belong in human society and need to be sent to your muddaland to live in a mud hut, eat dirt cooks and albinos, take cow urine showers, etc. If you do not want to go to the muddaland then segregation and Jim Crow laws are what is needed so you all can learn your “place”.

    Read what humans truly think about your parasitic, filthy and diseased sub-species at Chimpmania.

  • leelah

    hair color and texture is two different things. so the whole thing about them changing their hair texture to match ours while discussing hair dying doesn’t really make sense. Other races are mostly dying their hair blond? Thats so not true. In order to dye your hair blond you have to bleach your hair first, strip the dark color out of your hair. Then you add the blond color. That process is extremely damaging and most women wouldn’t risk it. Some do obviously but most wouldn’t.–’they do it too’ is not my argument. I’m saying that playing around with our hair is a part of being a woman in america. and haircolor and haircut is two of the most obvious ways that american women express their individuality. The salon, the nail shop, and the mall takes up a whole lot of time and money for american women.Like seriously you don’t notice all these salons around for other races? Plus as black women we are not that delusional. We know blond hair looks fake on us but some choose to try it to look cool. At 20 I put two grey pieces in my pageboy and rocked some really nerdy tortoise shell glasses. It was my own special sexy librarian. A year later I changed it up with a blue black dye job, my hair looked thick and in the sun u could see a hint of blue. When I had my daughter and was feeling old. I dipped the ends of my hair in red. And maybe one day, when I don’t care about my hair and right before I do a big chop, I’ll go blond. But never not for one second would I think I look like a white woman.—-We really just need to stop policing each others blackness and let people express themselves. stop labeling and stereotyping and assigning shame. Get off your judgemental high horse, you sound pompous.

  • leelah

    you know I have done it all, including the natural. I have a mighty fro, it grows fast and thick. I don’t know all the number codes but I have thick coarse hair which is a blessing in some ways because it can take some torture. But its difficult because an afro was not an easy style for me. I was constantly picking it out, it got dry easily, and twisting it took the whole weekend. so this whole notion that natural hair is so easy and simpler is not true for everybody. And even with my fro I was running from the rain. —At first I didn’t think this article was needed. But then I started reading the comments and some of them are just dripping with arrogance and condescending tones. Your big hair doesn’t make me feel any kind of way but happy. I don’t look at an afro with disdain or regret or envy or hate or any type of negative emotions. sorry you get that from some black women but I’m going to go out on a limb and say most black women don’t have a problem with the afro.

  • Treece

    @ Kam, yeah but lots of White women get weaves that Don’t match thier natural color or texture. Whether its curly to straight, blonde to brunette…..whatever lots of other cultures change their hair to colors or textures they weren’t born with. Why is it we are the only ones that give each other shit about it?

  • Treece

    @ Nakia, um…not threatened in the least by Black women who are natural. my motto is live and let live. Do you and I will do me. And if what I choose is to wear a weave or relaxers, then why should I have to feel judged? Why the hostility? I am no less Black and proudof my heritage and my people. Quit being a hair Nazi….

  • Really

    This article is so apparent that it’s damn near see-through. Yeah, I’m sure the BW who hide their hair 24-7 under blond wigs are trying to look like that photo above, that must be it. Why it can’t possibly be anything else. =/


    Lol, it must kill you to not be able to chant “White privilege” or “white superiority” after an article.

  • Keepitreal

    RMFE And just because you do know someone who falls into that category OBVIOUSLY does not mean it’s the NORM which is what Jacqueline said above. Talk about playing purposely obtuse.

  • ChillyRoad

    As a black American woman living in the UK I must say blacks are a non entity in this country. Outside of black footballers, blacks just dont exist-no political, social, or economic presence outside of London. I look forward to black Africans from places like Nigeria and Ghana being the new face of the black community in the UK. Black Afro-Caribs (Jamaicans) are completely ineffectual. Most of them have mixed with the English anyway.

    Im happy to say that black Africans are the only future blacks in the UK have. They happen to be better educated, more family orientated, stronger business acumen, superior culture, and a strong sense of self. Afro-Caribs (Jamaicans) on the other hand are a complete wash.

  • Cheryl

    You do understand that all of mankind originated from Black people don’t you?

  • Damn

    The best defense is to not give it much attention

    Why is this always the response to black women issues? I’ve never ever ever seen issues affecting black men, or anyone else given this sort of response. smfh

  • gryph

    paying homage to the solomon islands…LOL

  • Courtni A. Patterson

    I hate saying “the problem with black women is…”, because it further explains my theory. As women, we have a general idea that “our way is the right way”. Being apart of the black community gives us so many more issues to overly express our opinions. We have a lot to overcome. I find myself falling into the same boat… I’m a woman. It’s natural.
    If we plan on progressing, we must singularly throw our opinions on ourselves, or the impressionable. My thing is, if you feel like you are progressing… PROGRESS, but changing any other adult woman’s opinion on HER life is a lost cause. If you are living the “right way”, others will see that and follow suit…but constantly arguing…

    well, you see where that gets us.

  • thinkpink

    that makes two of us. I’ve never heard any of these things in my personal life. Sometimes I wonder if these comments are actually made in peoples life of if they are mainly regurgitated over the internet, radio and television. The media is the best way to implant an idea. Articles like this only help to further the implanting.

  • thinkpink

    This! Do you know how powerful we would become if every blog, radio station and media outlet geared toward african americans took this hard but necessary stance? Focusing on progress even if it results in lower ratings, less page clicks or comments?

  • Ooh La La

    Gosh, I hate when people try to use their personal exceptions to discount the entire rule. So none of this applies because you know 3 or 4 women who are atypical? Okay…

  • Kam

    I’m in a majority white country in a majority white state in a majority white school, I see white girls all the damn time destroying their hair getting it blond. It looks hideous but they love it because it’s BLONDE. Look, I don’t go up to permed women and dyed women and beat them up for their choices. It’s none of my business. I certainly don’t think anyone who does wants to be white. (I never wanted to be white when I was permed but I sure didn’t want to be nappy.) And it’s entirely possible for it to be simply a change of style for a minority of women. But I’m not gonna just sit around and say nothing when people want to lie and say “It’s just hair”, “White people wear weaves too” or deny that European beauty ideals have an influence.

    It’s not me being better than anyone or on a high horse, it’s because I want things to be better for Black children coming up. It’s frustrating because I see these things destroying the souls of Black children daily and we’ve lulled ourselves into complacency with these silly excuses that serve to only benefit the adults. Our children are STILL overwhelmingly associating white traits with “good” and black traits with “bad” and we just sit on our hands and do little to nothing. Yeah tell those excuses to the six year old getting a perm that this has nothing to do with the straight haired girls she sees flipping their hair on tv. Tell her it’s only because she is a female and likes to have a choice of hairstyles even though she had no choice in sitting down in that chair. Tell your little black girls that when prominent black female rappers rap about “nappy heading hoes” needing a “perminator”. Or when she wins a gold medal in the Olympics and all people wanna talk about is her hair.
    Tell her those lies. And it’s obvious you all don’t even believe it yourself judging from the kneejerk reaction anyone says anything remotely negative about perms.

    God, Black people I really don’t know how our children are going to fare when we’re gone. I’m a bit afraid to think about it.

  • NubianQueen

    Wow you sound upset. Did a black man or woman fuck your husband or wife?

  • NubianQueen

    But red hair is beautiful . Learn to love it :-)

  • Dont Care

    I don’t think any of us were hurt by this…
    But good try tho!

  • Diana

    I wear a weave and I run in the rain. I also work out on a regular basis without fear of ruining my “doo”. I also love and take care of my own natural hair. like some posters have said, it’s not that serious…

  • London

    “3.) If some black women color their hair blonde… It doesn’t mean that they want to be white any more than white women coloring their hair black means that they want to be, well, black.”

    Are you serious? Yes it does. It’s deep-seated. This is not a good comparison. If a white woman permed her hair into a tight afro and rocked that constantly, there would be some general consensus that she wanted to be black, or at least sought to be more accepted by black people.

  • Trudy

    Thanks for the shoutout Clutch! Gradient Lair is my blog. And for those who think cognitive dissonance or denial about the challenges that Black women face in regards to beauty, within our race and outside of it, is a form of “healing,” more power to them. However, they must know that they sound like Whites who claim never discussing race again will end racism. Yes…that illogical. As far as “focus on negative” which some alluded to, FALSE. I cannot account for Clutch’s content, as it is not my blog, but on my blog, all types of experiences, images, art, photographs, videos are shared. Some are complex. Some are painful. Some are celebratory. Some are accomplishments. This is the fullness of life. I will not ignore the challenges Black women face, as a Black woman, so that people can feel “positive” yet remain ignorant. I will embrace the full experience of Black women in America, and that involves a plethora of facets, and while some will be great, some will not be. ‘Tis life.

  • Kittee (@kuroikittee)

    But light-skinned women do benefit from colorist privilege. I’m not saying they chose to, just like most white people don’t CHOOSE to benefit from white privilege, but the fact is they do.

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