2008-10-02

Self Love

OK Every once in a while I get worked up knowing that as a black woman I am considered of less value in regards to the beauty standards, as they white and asian women have the "ideal" beauty in our society. It is hard to be a black woman in America, because everyday you are told overtly or not so overtly you are not the ideal.

I at one time tried to keep up, but realized early on I couldn't. Knowing the 300 lb white lady with three kids has a better chance of getting a decent looking date than I did back in my single days was disheartening. I succumbed to the stupid stuff, I read Cosmo, Marie Claire, and Allure. I read Essence and all the dumb articles on how to get a man.

Then I discovered feminism and decided I was going to reject those magazines, and focus on reading that catered to interests outside of what name brands I should be wearing, and the quizzes that determine whether or not you are easy, a door mat, or if your man shows signs of cheating. It saved me. It saved me from buying beauty products I can't live without. The thought of doing liposuction and getting a breast lift. The thought of giving birth would be an automatic end to my attractiveness, and that if I do have kids, it would never be ok to get a stretch mark. It saved me from my own self created diets of 800 calories a day and 2 hours of working out so I could get to the size 2 that never happened, or the need to throw up or pop a laxative after a big meal (this was the norm at my high school, I swear every girl popped dexatrim and owned a bottle of Ipecac).

Those magazines, including Essence had women I could never ever look like, as I don't have access to make up artists, hair stylists, and a computer to keep me airbrushed. I was never going to the model ideal of 5'9, I was never going to be a size zero. My hands were manly and my feet are too big and wide. My shoulders are too broad. I wasn't white or asian enough, or light enough, my hair isn't straight or long enough, and the few articles on what men liked never included why they would like a short, dark skinned girl, with curly hair, who wore bigger than a size 2 and had thighs and a booty.

It occurred to me at age 20, that most people, at least in Texas don't look like folks in magazines, and in comparison to the rest of the population, I look somewhat ok. I exercise, I've gone vegan, I focus on what will make me healthy, I don't obsess over brands of clothing worn, I don't even know what is in style anymore. I love converse better than high heels to my husband's dismay, and I wear make up because I like the colors, not because the colors are hot and in season for the fall. I also had to learn that even though I am not the ideal, guys could still think me to be attractive, and yes even though I am married now, that is important, that I could pull a guy if I wanted to is a boost of confidence. The fact I can keep a guy for nine years is a miracle, and that on occasion he still thinks I am pretty, even in granny panties, a greasy coconut oil and shea butter face, a ratty old t-shirt, and a do-rag on my head. The fact that the guys I was always attracted to are supposed to think I am repulsive based upon the fact I am not size 2 nor white or asian, it is a miracle I can still pull a few who like to step outside the box, and they aren't deuces, they aren't old men, jobless and looking for a sugar mamma, or desperate. It is nice to know what that the features I possess that I have been told are ugly; my dark skin, my nose, my lips, my booty, my thighs, and my hair, are the same exact things that are the things these guys, including my husband deemed attractive.