The Unfair Beauty Standards That Govern Black Women’s LivesThis is why Black women are sensitive about our desirability.
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This Monday, Bih’s article “What You’re Really Saying When You Call Black Women Undesirable” sparked a conversation about Black women and desirability.
The article discusses what people really mean when they call Black women undesirable, and how criticism about the Black woman’s desirability comes from all angles of society — white supremacy, the Black community, Black men, etc. It makes sense, thus, that Black women have come to be defensive about our desirability.
Here’s an excerpt from Bih’s work:
Black women are constantly being put down in favor of non-Black women. We are told over and over again that we are just undesirable. Of course, then, it makes sense that we would feel defensive about our desirability. In examining how desirability and dating preferences function in a white supremacist patriarchy, it’s time to take a step back and ask what we are really defending. Despite the fact that women’s rights have come a long way, her value is still based on how attractive and desirable she is in the eyes of men.
Black women have had racism and sexism screw us over in cruel and soul-crushing ways, forcing us to defend our humanity, our beauty, and our validity as women. We have watched Serena Williams be denigrated for her body, even being compared to a man on several occasions. We have seen Blue Ivy be bullied and ridiculed for her looks since birth.
Furthermore, we have witnessed beautiful women like Teyana Taylor and Ari Lennox be compared to dogs. We have been dehumanized, deemed too masculine and too ugly, and our apparent ‘lack’ of beauty and femininity has been used to devalue black women as women. As people.
Black men contribute to this dehumanization, dictating how they choose to navigate romance in a white supremacist patriarchy by making sure they run over all the Black women they can. All the while, these men continue to uphold anti-Black beauty standards by uplifting non-Black female beauty at the expense of Black women.