NO FEMALE EQUIVALENT
In the Black community, there can be no female equivalent of the often heard expression “Light skin men gone out of style.” White supremacist notions of beauty and femininity have seeped too far into the Black community for us to ever be comfortable with saying that “Light skin women have gone out of style.” In the minds of many Blacks who have embraced white supremacist thinking, light skinned Black women represent both idealized beauty and femininity, and therefore are always “in style”.
We may laugh and chuckle about light skinned men going out of style, but the same would never be allowed with women. We are much more comfortable with dark skinned men than we are with dark skinned women. A dark skinned man can be seen as macho, rugged, rough; all things affirming to his masculinity, and therefore appealing in the eyes of Black men and women.
The dark skinned Black woman, however, is in a much more precarious position. How could the dark skinned Black woman ever be in style in a Black community that has internalized white supremacist notions of beauty? In the minds of white supremacist Blacks, her dark skin marks her as rough, rugged, unfeminine, and ugly. The intersection of white supremacy and patriarchy. Light skinned men may go out of style in the Black community, but the light skinned woman will always hold her position in a community that views her lighter skin as a marker of feminine beauty.
“I can’t say I’ve been talked about or criticized to my face about being a dark skinned woman, but I have felt intimidated in the presence of light skinned women. All three of my best friends are gorgeous, light skinned women. Two of them have the ‘body’ to go along with the face and I can’t lie, I’ve had moments where I’ve felt less beautiful in the presence of them. I know that men prefer them over me for a couple of reasons. I’m not only dark skinned, but I’m also plus sized. I wouldn’t consider myself extremely insecure because overall I’m pretty secure. But we all struggle with something we may not quite like about ourselves. My question is, how do we overcome this issue? Personally, I admire the beauty of our men and women because of our different shades of brown. I’ve also come to the conclusion that in my mind, I don’t think many light skinned men are attracted to me. But why do I only feel this intimidation when around light skinned women? Why do I feel that way about light skinned men? Is it that I’m aware of some people’s mentality regarding light skinned women? Or have I allowed this taint my way of thinking and harm my personal confidence? How do we as a people stop this cycle of lighter being better or prettier? Will things ever really get better? I’d like some insight”. Comment from Stephanie (@ShesMelodic)
This documentary specifically focuses on the history and present portrayal of Black women in the media. The film is approximately 9 minutes produced by India Bouldin, at North Lawndale College Prep High School with Free Spirit Media. Black women in history have always been seen in a negative light and it affects how Black women interact with each other as well as how society’s perceives Black women. After you watch this film ask yourself; Why is this a problem? Why isn’t this ever discussed? How does this affect me? What can I do to help young women around me feel good about themselves?
Anti-Intellect is a Washington, DC based essayist, educator, and activist. His intellectual activism, rooted in feminist analysis, focuses on redressing racism, sexism, homophobia, and bringing attention to the oppressive nature of theism. He can be found on Twitter @Anti_Intellect Facebook and The Anti-Intellect Blog. He is a graduate of Florida A&M University, a Historically Black College, with a degree in History.
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J. Cole Is Right About Colorism (mediadiversified.org)
“You’re Pretty for a Dark-Skinned Girl” (mediadiversified.org)