Femininity as a Black Woman: Reflection

I have been reflecting the past few days, it is currently 6/4/2020 and still amid civil unrest. As a black American woman self-care is a form of resistance to the current status quo. The messages being told through media and real-life interactions are the black women have no value. I have received nasty hostile remarks and comments from coworkers for looking my best and being feminine. When I was dressed more frumpy and was more in my masculine energy, being more outspoken and less of a filter I was accepted because I was not a threat.

But a few years ago I was very dissatisfied with how I looked and how I felt about myself. I started to invest in my appearance and started to learn how to be more feminine in my professional and personal life because I wanted a change. I saw the power that feminine women of all colors have and I wanted to feel that feminine empowerment.

Growing up in a big city in the "hood" it was rare to see truly feminine women because of poverty, mental illness, and the real threat of danger.

As a little girl, I would watch shows like I Love Lucy and The Cosby Show I loved how Lucy and Clair Huxtable were so obviously effortlessly beautiful and powerful! I wanted to be that. I remember drawing beautiful ladies in my various sketchbook surrounded by flowers while in real life I dressed in baggy clothes and had a masculine bravado because I did not want to be catcalled or physically harassed on the street by mostly adult men. I secretly imagined myself in beautiful dresses and heels creating lovely flower arrangments and studying in my library room, greeting my successful husband who appreciates my looks and brains.

The reality is I have faced hostility, disdain, and harassment by coworkers in corporate America because how dare I as a black woman be beautiful and competent. Honestly, facing this type of negative energy can be very draining. And as a black woman, I am expected to play the strong black woman trope to disregard the things that make me a woman which is my vulnerability and the want and need to feel protected. People, including black people, expect me to be stoic, strong, and resilient, qualities that have been attributed to men. Even though women can be stoic, strong, and resilient those attributes have not been attributed to women, I have never heard uttered a strong white or Caucasian woman, or strong Latina woman, or strong Asian woman, or strong any other type of woman. I have heard of the strong black woman it puts in the zeitgeist that black women are not feminine women. I do not bother arguing or debating with people about my femininity I live my femininity unapologetically, this is my silent protest against racially motivated masculine attributes being hoisted on me. I have the right to bring out the beautiful feminine woman that I know I am on the inside to the outside.

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