Hey, guess what? It’s 1992 and it’s cool to be a White girl who gets Black guy’s attention. Except it’s not. Unless, of course, you’re Tess Holiday and you’re telling magazines in 2015 that “Black men love me.” A fact the “world’s first size 22 supermodel” forgets until she goes to a Black neighborhood and is reminded.
Let the street harassment stereotypes begin – or, perhaps, continue in this case.
If you’re unfamiliar with Tess, she’s the full-figured White girl with the pretty face magazines like People have been going crazy over simply because she’s unapologetically fat and, as a result, has attracted the attention of nearly 1 million Instagram followers, a number of designers and brands like Monif C and Benefit, and the British agency Milk Model Management which recently signed her. Oh, and Black men – a random piece of information she blurted out during an interview that reminded us sometimes the less you know about a person’s real personality the better.
The comment came out while Tess was sitting in a café with an interviewer from The Guardian and “an African American guy, middle-aged, said something appreciative as he walked by.” According to the UK site, that prompted Tess to ask:
“What do guys think they’ll achieve by yelling something? They’re like: ‘She’ll love this, I’ll definitely get her number.’”
The author notes that Tess then added, “with some satisfaction:”
“I do admit that black men love me. I always forget that, and then I come to a black neighborhood and I remember.”
The interviewer then hilariously remarked, “And no one quite knew what to say.”
If we were in fact still living in the days of the “Jungle Fever” craze and it was a novel thing to catch the attention of a Black man – as a White woman – I might ask Tess if she wanted a cookie. But since it’s not, I’m more inclined to respond with a simple, and?
We all know the stereotype, Black men love big women. And they especially love a fat White woman – except when they don’t. At least not exclusively anyway. Tess is a beautiful woman and I’m sure she attracts the attention of many men – like her White fiancé – which is why I’m confused (leaning more toward annoyed) that this became a “Black thing.”
On one hand, Tess’s comments can be taken as nothing more than an off-color observation that she probably could – and should – have kept to herself. On the other, I’m having flashbacks of the street harassment video that went viral last fall and somehow only managed to show Black and Latino men hurling unwanted taunts at a woman walking around New York City and feeling some type of way. To steal a line from Jesse Williams who, in the wake of Ferguson, reminded the world there’s nothing “Black” about rioting, there’s also nothing “Black” about street harassment. And there’s nothing cute about insinuating there is to toot your own horn.
I don’t know a woman on this earth (over the age of 16) who enjoys getting catcalled while walking down the street, so we’re all in agreement with Tess’s inquiry as to what do guys think they’ll achieve by yelling something at a woman. But I’m curious what she thought she’d achieve by admitting Black men love her – I didn’t realize that was something that needed confessing – and then pointing out she forgets until she steps in a Black neighborhood and is seemingly unfortunately reminded, except for the purpose of ego stroking that it serves.
Here’s a newsflash: Black men also love Latina women, Asian women, Indian women, and, lest we forget, Black women. That’s right, you are not special Tess, and neither are the circumstances in which you found yourself on the receiving end of unwanted attention. It happens every day B, and to women across every shade of the rainbow and from an equal number of men along the same racial spectrum. In other words, while Tess has a lengthy list of accomplishments under her belt, catching the eye of Black men isn’t one of them. Move along; there’s nothing to see here.