BETTY CHAMBERS

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Black Women – Devil’s Advocate: Has our femininity been denied?

Posted on | September 19, 2010 | 46 Comments

It’s September, and it’s Devil’s Advocate* month. This topic will be a bit spicier than usual. :D

Are black women allowed to be women? Has our femininity been denied or compromised? Do we have the right to be respected, protected, and cherished like all other women?

We are accused of being jealous acid tossing lunatics by lying media whores. We are accused of being overly racially sensitive when we are being insulted by deranged bigoted radio talk show hosts. We are the first ones tossed under the political bus by individual(s) we overwhelmingly support out of misguided and ignorant racial loyalty.

Most of our issues are ignored by or are back-burner issues of so-called women’s groups. All of our issues are ignored by “civil rights” groups, unless it is to lay blame in our direction, raise funds from us, or rally around violent black male felon(s) who are a lethal and deadly menace to black women and men in their neighborhoods. We are berated, harassed, and demeaned to put all out, audition for a date, and prove our worth to useless black males who wont lift a finger to respect, provide, or protect us.

How are we being portrayed in the mainstream media right now?

One of the latest covers of Elle’s magazine is mendacious. No, it is beyond that, it is evil.

One of these pictures is not like the others.

Gabourey Sidibe a.k.a. Gabby

It winks: We’re making fun of her, ’cause this is the best looking actress they (black people) have to offer. They have three average looking, cosmetically enhanced white women all glammed up. We get someone who pc-wise people are gushing to declare is beautiful, acceptable, and attractive. Elle couldn’t use Jennifer Hudson?

And miss me with the garbage about hating on Ms. Sidibe. This topic is deeper than that.

Who do these folks think they’re fooling? The publisher of Elle is French – Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Inc. (HFM U.S.) , and the editor-in-chief is Robbie Myers. That’s who’s making a mockery of this black woman and the rest of us.

Is this their answer to requests for black staff? Investments in black magazines? Whether black women are attractive? Oh, I know, this fits the “Black women don’t sell covers. We lose money with their faces on the magazine” B.S.

Why is she the only big person?

Hey, I would ecstatically and gladly accept Ms. Sidibe as part of the unique, multicultural, fat acceptance, and “quirky looking people are beautiful too” cover, once they have a 400 pound homely white woman, with too much makeup on, wearing a tent-sized red mu-mu, and her stringy dishwater hair looking like dry straw, filling an entire magazine cover.

White women don’t “other” themselves. They are very, very protective of their image as feminine, sexy, and desirable women – despite the carping of “feminists” over some images.

Someone once said: I’d rather they ignore us than pay us this kind of attention.

You need to watch them. They are quite eager to get black women to be the tough-manly-gal, the jealous-and-hateful-acid-throwing chick, the loudmouth sassy troublemaker, the office mammy / Oprah / free therapist, and the “oh, you’re so brave to be xyz” kind of person.

Ask yourself these questions: At work, do some of these chicks come to you complaining about people like you’re going to be the one to set their tormentors straight? Do you get asked to lift heavy objects when there are plenty of guys around they could ask? Are you always volunteered for clean-up duty, cooking, or bringing in food? Do people push their leftovers, Halloween Candy, fattening meals, or other unhealthy garbage at you? I’m sure there are more examples that come to mind.

I’ll repeat myself: I might be willing to accept the alternative “other” images of us, once they let Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC be as unattractive and masculine as their original, keeping-it-real selves used to be. But if you notice, the first thing they went through was a total and complete makeover. They were made to conform to an ideal;  an existing feminine and attractive package.

Ladies. All of these people out there enjoy “othering” you. DO NOT EMBRACE IT. Let those bitches go first.

It’s a disgusting and deadly thing these people like to do to black women. When you accept “othering”, MEN wont and do not regard you as feminine. They will not come and protect you. You leave yourself vulnerable. That’s why people like throwing “strong black woman” at us. No one feels we are entitled to respect, protection, to be provided for, or cherished like other women.

Nearly everywhere one looks, there’s an overweight, or obese black woman (who’s often loud) receiving  mainstream media attention and accolades. Even if her career is going to last 5 minutes. Or maybe she’s the face of an extremely harsh and pungent detergent, feminine yeast problems, or other unattractive ailments, and even if she’s pleasant, the product is nice – there’s something off about her.

That big loud woman fits a mammy stereotype. Things haven’t changed when it comes to this offensive image of black women. She’s been around since Gone With the Wind and before. Her imagine was created to “other” us. I honor and respect her sacrifices. Black women needed these roles to survive and thrive.

However, we do not need to embrace her now.

A lot of us – feeling conflicted – honestly believe that if we embrace these “othering” images, they’ll eventually give way to those of beautiful, feminine, graceful and glamorous black women. Haven’t we been here before?

Don’t black women realize that when we ARE making strides, they deliberately bring up garish images of us?

Unfortunately, some of us fight each other over it, because for a number of us it means some kind of “acceptance” in all our diverse glory. I notice that this diversity almost always happens to be represented by the same type of morbidly obese, grotesquely crude, asexual and unfeminine black woman. I’m not putting all of this at Ms. Sidibe’s door. But would she have been as widely embraced if she was as slim as Zoe Saldana after doing only one bloody damn movie? At least Ms. Saldana has several blockbusters under her belt.

Funk that nonsense. I am not embracing “otherness.” I want black women to look as hot, glamorous, sexy, desirable, and feminine as the average looking, cosmetically enhanced, photoshopped white chicks on the cover of any magazine. We are women too. We can look as good, if not better, than they do.

Do we believe we are feminine? Are we equal to them as women? Or have we gone so deep down the “othering”, unfeminine and unattractive well that if Tyler Perry showed up as Madea on the cover of a magazine as an Influenial Black Woman – we’d talk about how much progress that is for us? Or would we only complain about the dress and wig he chose to wear? Would we miss the insult entirely?

I think we’re still missing the insult(s).

Black women wake up. Embrace being a woman first. These people are working hard to rob us of our womanhood, our femininity, and sense of self. Don’t let them do it. Don’t accept this distorted view of ourselves, where we are the “other.”

We are women. Our luminous, satiny, and beautiful dark skins do not detract or subtract from that.

*According to Wikipedia, Devil’s Advocate is:

In common parlance, a devil’s advocate is someone who, given a certain argument, takes a position he or she does not necessarily agree with, just for the sake of argument. In taking such position, the individual taking on the devil’s advocate role seeks to engage others in an argumentative discussion process. The purpose of such process is typically to test the quality of the original argument and identify weaknesses in its structure, and to use such information to either improve or abandon the original, opposing position.
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46 Responses to “Black Women – Devil’s Advocate: Has our femininity been denied?”

  1. Southland Diva
    September 19th, 2010 @ 8:47 PM

    /sarcasm on

    OMG!!!

    This is all Michelle Obama’s fault!!!

    /sarcasm off

    If you didn’t know, now you know!

    The gloves are off! MSM are getting their psychological warfare on!

    THE WHAT: The First Lady is a clearly definable, unambiguously black woman, who is smart and attractive and slim/fit.

    People were/are wild about Michelle (real or feigned). Some black/AfAm women stand a little straighter and felt more attractive, more viable, more visible with a First Lady who looks like them.

    THE WHY: Which is why the larger society has to demean/deface/destroy our image, in the eyes of non-black men and in our own eyes!

    THE HOW: Another BWE (Khadija) blogger posted recently how people, when they want to destroy you, join your cause or act as if they are on your side. They know most black/AfAm women are desperate for allies and will volunteer all kinds of information, secrets, and strategies to people who say they are ‘on their side’; all they have to do is imply solidarity and black folks will jump through hoops they specify with little or no hint of reciprocity.

    Make no mistake. ELLE supposedly ‘embracing’ Gabby’s beauty is straight-up GAME! They are selling fat acceptance to black/AfAm women who will take the cover as a sign that the larger society accepts fat women as beauty and will ‘sista-soldier’ for the cause.

    AND they are laughing at us!!!! Why in this world does Gabby’s picture take of the whole frame! We see the airbrushed perfection of the other women. We see a body shot. With Gabby, the subtle (or not so subtle) subtext of the picture is….she so fat, she took up the whole frame!

    The brouhaha about the ‘lightening’ of her picture is pure derail and distraction!!!

    A picture is worth a thousand words.

    Are you listening to what ELLE is really saying????

    A MESSAGE FROM BWE: Ladies. We have reached the event horizon. The tipping is here! We are moving from early adapters spreading the message into the larger arena! The larger society may not know exactly what is going on, but they know something is going on.

    Nah! I take that back they know. And so must you. More and more AfAm women are realizing they have to move beyond the black community for love, safety, protection, and family. There are far too many groups with a vested interest in keeping as many AfAm women as they can in a position of perceived lack. It’s less work for the oppressors when you can get the oppressed to do the work instead.

    This is what ELLE is telling you:
    We the progressive forces of the media have made ginormous allowances outside of mainstream femininity and pulchritude in order to ‘showcase’ your ‘beauty’. And, really, black women, you should be grateful that we did this because otherwise you wouldn’t be seen at all. Oh, and don’t blame us that we had to use Gabby, after all, we are just trying to reflect you people as you are….in all your fat-is-beautiful glory. And please pay no attention to the fact we have never, and most likely, will never ‘showcase’ a morbidly obese white-woman on our cover…..we have standards…we are selling the dream of fashion and beauty! We just put her on the cover for PC points. And she’s one of four covers, so she won’t hurt our profit margin.

    Peace

    GoldenAh: There are no coinkydinks today. Image is everything. An image that goes around the world in a millisecond and stays on the Internets for eternity.

    Girl, I hear you. They think we ought to be grateful. Like someone else said, I’d rather be ignored. I felt the need to call these folks out. There’s a limit to this mess. It’s so damn blatant.

    Thank you for your comments, Southland Diva. I love it when you ladies break it down even more. :D

  2. Khadija Nassif
    September 19th, 2010 @ 10:36 PM

    Goldenah,

    Thank you for my best belly laugh of the week. I almost spit out my apple cider when I read this:

    “Ladies. All of these people out there enjoy “othering” you. DO NOT EMBRACE IT. Let those b*tches go first.

    {still laughing at that}

    This needs to be one of several new mental mantras for confused BW.

    Other “women of color” are coming at you with their issue looking for you to do some Sister Soldiering…Let those b*tches go first.

    WW come to you talking about “fat acceptance”…Let those b*tches go first.

    Some BM comes at you whining about his run-in with an agent of racism looking for you to do some Sister Soldiering…Let that punk-b*tch go first.

    In fact, let these individuals go first, last, AND every slot in-between. They can keep ALL of that mess.
    ____________________________

    SouthlandDiva,

    Thanks for the shout-out! {smile}

    GoldenAh: Hello Khadija Nassif! I am so happy and thrilled to have you comment here. I am a big big fan of your blog. I first saw the Gabby / Elle issue in your Rosyln’s “Reasons Don’t Matter” topic, and from there I went all over the web.

    You, along with many others, often get me thinking.

    LOL. I was feeling real salty when I wrote that line. We need to see how everybody loves to use us, and then pretend they’re paying us a compliment. And it kills me how they act like we should be grateful for it.

    I’m glad I made you laugh. Thanks for stopping by and leaving feedback! :D

  3. Neecy
    September 19th, 2010 @ 11:44 PM

    PLEASE get this entire post of yours posted on every damn BILLBOARD in America.

    I cannot believe how so many BW are allowing themselves to be bamboozled into thinking this whole “fat acceptance” thing is something to be proud of.

    That cover is atrocious, sad and sooo OBVIOUS. And I agree with whomever said the whole focus on the lightening of her skin shade was derailment at its worst.

    no other race of women are being told by ANYONE that being overweight obese is the way to go. To love and embrace your fatness in all its glory – nope, that message is for BLACK WOMEN and Black women ONLY.

    I also have said in the past, that WW take their femininity and images of such seriously b/c they know how VALUABLE it is in a patriarchal society. It seems BW are the only women collectively who can’t seem to grasp this????????/

    GoldenAh: Makes me think of the lines from the movie 300. The Messenger shouts: “This is madness!” The King roars back: “This is Sparta!!”

    You see they couldn’t keep us from educating ourselves and killing it in education and workforce, so now they are really pushing the petal to the metal to make sure that those educated, well to do upwardly mobile attractive BW don’t get to uppity thinking they are gonna snatch up all those Non blk men they work with in those good jobs.

    Hey I understand… the white woman gots to do what she gots to do. It aint easy trying to hold the throne and keep those Alpha men of theirs in place. But really? Sabotaging BW? Really? that’s all you got? IT WILL backfire something terrible. I already see it coming. See it happen everyday.

    No WW wants BW competing with them for their men. They got enough of those Asian wimmens to deal with. but they were a dollar short and a day too late to try to rip apart the Aw’s appeal since AW were quite stealth in how they maneuvered their femininity to work for them in American society with White males. BW better take notes and QUICK!

    BW need to wake up! It would take a mentally challenged person to not see that if Elle wanted to keep up with the theme of attractive succesfful young up and coming actresses, they would have used none other than THIN ATTRACTIVE ZOE ZALANDA instead of Gabby for obvious reasons. No not just b/c she is Black but because she has been in not 1, not 2 but 3 or more movies between this year and last year that have all been number 1 or 2 at the box offices this year. And no, she was not playing an extra with 1 or 2 lines. Gabby played in ONE movie?

    I believe there is a saying “the grave you dig for someone else, just may be your own”.

    it could be the underdog comes out on top fire in me, optimism or just outright KARMA. but something tells me this ish is gonna backfire BIG TIME in the next 5-10 years. They are working waaay too hard and doing waaay too much to keep BW in mammy, asexual fat acceptance mode. And there is a reason. The best BW can do is work stealthily to improve our individual images and to stop supporting those who push that DANGEROUS and sabotaging message that “being fat is okay — IF YOU’RE A BW”. BW need to realize not only does it have to deal with sabotaging and robbing of our femininity, beauty and potential, but its DANGEROUS message b/c being overweight and obese like Gabby is what kills women everyday.

    GoldenAh: You would not have heard a peep out of me if they included other women (WW, AW, HW, etc.) as big as Gabby. But when it’s just us? Come on! There’s a plethora of other black actresses out there that looks as good, if not better, than the other women on the cover. This is straight-up bamboozling time.

    Neecy your passion is always welcome. :D

  4. Queen
    September 20th, 2010 @ 2:51 AM

    OMG Betty GREAT topic again. IMHO Yes our feminity has indeed been denied. Our public image has been categorized into 3 sterotypes; The Mammy, The Jezebel Whore, and The Sapphire. We are identified by these three sterotypes becasue they are “safe” and “non-threatening” images of black womanhood that keeps us as “undesirable” in the eyes of the public.

    THE MAMMY: This is the usually oveweight asexual black woman. Takes care of the family’s chilluns. She is sassy, witty and full of spice. She is not a threat to other women becasue in their minds men don’t want her. She is usually unmarried and her weight ranges from plump to very obese. She is also the faithful non-complaining burden bearing MULE.

    EXAMPLES: Hattie McDaniel (Gone With the wind) Nell Carter (Give me a break) and most recently, The Madea Character (Tyler Perry) Jennifer Hudson (Sex and the City) oh and we can add Gabby to this group.

    THE JEZEBEL WHORE: She is an out of control sex fiend. She oozes sex and there is nothing she won’t do to use her sexuality to get what she wants. She dresses practically naked.

    EXAMPLES: Lil Kim, Video Vixen Persona, Lisa Bonet (Angel heart)

    THE SAPPHIRE: She is a loud ball busting, neck popping, attiudinal black female who crushes manhood under her boot heel every chance she gets. If she is married, her husband is a miserable sap who tries to stay out of her way.

    EXAMPLES: The original sapphire (amos and andy),Angela (Why did I get married? Part one and 2)

    THE GHETTO FABULOUS HOODRAT: She is fluent in ebonics, wears loud jewely, loud clothes along with her knock-off purses,loud fake nails and hair. She has plenty of attitude and like the mammy, sass.

    EXAMPLES:You see this type as a frequent regular on shows like “Bad girls Club” “Flavor of love”, “For the love of Ray J” and like the Jezebel, in hip hop videos.

    What do these 4 sterotypes have in common? They lack femininity and if you fit any of these images, you are female, but not feminine; and when a Black woman does not fit any of these stereotypes, there is hell to pay. I read about a black woman who was a jazz singer by trade. She was a size 3, very girly, and feminine; not to mention she could sing the phone book. She noticed that at some venues she performed at she would get some very disgusted looks from some women (usually white). After expereincing this one time to often, she asked some of her band members if they noticed the reactions, they confirmed they had and went on to explain why she was getting them “you are supposed to be big and fat, and your slim figure with that voice does not fit the image they are used to seeing” In this case a sexy feminine black womans looks worked against her and she was considered a threat.

    If you look at the majority of the images in print, movies, and tv, these 4 images are the most promoted over and over and over again. There are a few exceptions like Halle Berry, but even to win her oscar, she had to become a Jezebel; her sex scenes were so graphic that the movie almost got an X rating. (I strongly doubt Hollywood would show Julia Roberts opposite of Sammuel Jackson in such scenes).

    GoldenAh: Julia Roberts played a prostitute in one flick, and that was cast as a Cinderella flick, so we definitely know America’s sweetheart would never be offered that kind of role.

    While these images ae alive and well, my question is WHY many black women pay money (via movies, magazines, etc) or as actresses continue to accept roles in movies and television to keep these images alive with their support; it is time to pull the plug. There are some images in times past where were our femininity did show. Diahann Carrols’s* show “Julia” in the late 1960′s showed her as a stylish single mom. When she was not in that nurses’s uniform she was always stylishly dressed. Diahann was and still is a classy feminine woman (but alas Hollywood did not give her and oscar nomination until she played a broke welfare mom in the movie Claudine). This issue from a 1962 issue of EBONY celebrating well dressed black women.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=b9cDAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Our feminiity has truly been denied, my question is how do we get it back and stop being forced to accept these images about us that do not repesent us? I Love femininity which means “Characteristics unique to a woman” and everything that it embodies. I am tie of being not only mis-represented but in my everyday life on one level or another there is this unspoken “expectation” that I embody one of these images. For years it seemed that the only time many people were “comfortable” around me was when I assumed the “mammy” role , but when I lost weight and ditched the “mammy-isms” some people treated me differently but that is ok because I have never been happier, but I still find my femininity under fire by public images that demand I assume one of these 4 roles in order for me and other black women to make those around us comfortable becasue we pose no threat to their dellusion about the beauty of black women.

    GoldenAh: That’s why I know we don’t need to embrace dysfunctional images of ourselves. If we look back, we can see that no matter the decade a black actress (regardless of size) looked on point. These ladies were so so fly. They wouldn’t be caught dead looking like the hot mess some of our famous celebritards love to look like in public.

    They understood they weren’t only representing themselves. They dressed with dignity to elevate themselves and the image of black women everywhere.

    So, for people who believe in the mantra of “keeping it real” (tacky, ghetto, and hood rat should represent the image of black women in the public eye) – please grow up.

    Thank you for the historical information, Queen. You add background to my posts. I appreciate your contribution(s). Plus you let folks out there know – we know what’s going on – we ain’t slow….

    :D

    * I’ve seen Diahann Carroll on a couple of shows. The most recent being White Collar. I bet that even when they try and tell her to look tacky – she always makes sure she looks perfectly amazing!

  5. LaJane Galt
    September 20th, 2010 @ 8:29 AM

    This should be elevated beyond the realm of “Devil’s Advocate.”

    This is REAL TALK.

    GoldenAh: Thank you, LaJane Galt. :D

  6. Frank M.
    September 20th, 2010 @ 11:51 AM

    Great post Betty. Also another great post by Queen.

    Putty “Gabby” on that cover was just wrong. Well played, Elle. Well played.

    If they are resorting to those tactics, then WW must be getting desperate to keep BW’s value down. I’m sure they will hide behind the veil of giving opportunities to all, but wouldn’t Nia Long or Sanaa Lathan be able to fill that role?

    Part of the problem is that the BC does not have a united front in opposing these BF archetypes that Queen so eloquently broke down.
    BM have just as much vested interest in keeping BW’s value down as WW do, so it’s an uphill battle. Since WW/BM are united against them, and WM are largely apathetic, I can understand how frustrating it can be for BW.

    Just know that some of us see your beauty AND femininity crystal clear despite the best efforts of some to devalue it.

    GoldenAh: Thank you, Frank. :D

    You get a big virtual hug, and I’m gonna rest my head on your shoulder for a while. Sigh. :) {{batting eyelashes}}

  7. Valerie
    September 20th, 2010 @ 12:03 PM

    Betty, when I first saw Gabby Elle cover, I thought it was good, however you have brought up some very good points, there are plenty of black actress, they could have used such as Jennifer Hudson, Gabrielle Union, Sana Lathan, Kerry Washington and many others.

    There is a fight about the black feminity, Michelle Obama is greatly admired and there is a fight to make Michelle the exception, whereas we know millions of black women are not overweight and are very beautiful.

    GoldenAh: I’m glad Gabby is getting work. I wish her much success. However, after our initial excitement, we always have to step back and think about it. Why this? Why now? We have the right to question these people who love to play games with our images, in a mostly damaging fashion, and call them out on it.

  8. pioneervalleywoman
    September 20th, 2010 @ 12:05 PM

    “Betty,” you got me at this:

    Do we believe we are feminine? Are we equal to them as women? Or have we gone so deep down the “othering”, unfeminine and unattractive well that if Tyler Perry showed up as Madea on the cover of a magazine as an Influenial Black Woman – we’d talk about how much progress that is for us? Or would we only complain about the dress and wig he chose to wear? Would we miss the insult entirely?

    My reply:

    But isn’t this the next move? Some of us have accepted Caster Semaya, intersex woman as representative of “us,” we want a morbidly obese woman to be celebrated and uplifted. So what is next? Uplift a man who is only a caricature of a specific type of black woman–mammy and sapphire…

    GoldenAh: I didn’t Google it, but I’m wondering if he’s already been presented on a magazine cover in that costume as representative of black women. I think I’m afraid to find out.

    It’s hard for us to push back, because like you said, some of us have accepted these representations, and I know they tend to shout a lot louder. We get blindsided by this stuff, because it hides behind a wall called “progressiveness”, “political correctness”, and the usual stereotypes some black women have decided to embrace. I think that stems from a belief that we are capable of turning every bitter lemon into lemonade. Yet, a lot of us have lost that fine art. We can’t even discern the insults anymore.

    My feeling about all these progressive experiments is this: Y’all go first, and keep it. I’m done with us being the poster child for “otherness”.

    Glad to hear from you, Pioneervalleywoman! :D

  9. avery
    September 20th, 2010 @ 12:49 PM

    i agree with everything!!!!…thats why i dont buy mainstream magazines I look online for websites that support me as a black woman and make me feel good about myself…I have come to the point where i dvr shows from the 90s or 80s were black ppl were better represented on tv, living single, a different world, even Martin was decent compared to today…Gina and Pam were executives even ghetto Shanene had her own business…

    today if you dont look white enough or overweight enough they dont want us there (they look at black woman and they see us as a threat)how do you keep white women on the pedestal when you have woman of color who aren’t fitting the stereotypes theyve created for us around?…they would rather put a white woman with a spray on tan, injected lips and butt in representation of us then have an actual black woman on the screen…

    oh well..the more we boycott the more money they lose…look at how much money the beauty consumers are losing since most of us have put down the creamy crack and hair weaves..lol i love it…they insult us but need us…how come chemicals for our hair is promoted on tv but not healthy organic products?? because thats made by black consumers who want us to take better care of our hair and of course they dont want you to know about those products thats why you cant find them in sally’s or etc….

    oh well welcome to america ppl the reality is Hollywood was never meant for us…they didnt want us there in the past and they still dont want us there today…as for gabby i hope she milks it for all its worth because wants she goes on that diet Hollywood will official be done with her…

    GoldenAh: Do we realize that if the only black men represented on TV could only be very very light skinned / half-white or flamboyantly effeminate that all these “civil rights” (older black women funded, younger black men lead) organizations would consider that a critical issue worthy of Congressional investigation? Perhaps I exaggerate, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

    I’ll admit I don’t mind if I don’t see us on many shows, magazine covers, movies or what-have-you. But I hate people shoveling garbage at us and fronting like we should be grateful. I know a lot of us lap it up, but that’s no excuse.

    I’ve had enough of the disrespect. I’m all for keeping most of these “artists” struggling. Let’s remember to thank those that show us as normal human beings.

    Thanks for stopping by, Avery! :)

  10. BWMM
    September 20th, 2010 @ 2:00 PM

    This issue from a 1962 issue of EBONY celebrating well dressed black women.

    Wow those women were elegant. Love what they were wearing. I’m starting to think that maybe I need to find old editions of mags like Vogue (Vogue has an article about doing more grown up fashions etc.) etc., because the fashions today even the ones for adults seem so lacking somehow. I don’t know what it is. Some say it’s me being nostalgic, but I remember not appreciating the fashions my great grandmother, grandmother, mother etc. were wearing when I was little, but duh I was little.lol I started appreciating the styles of my elders as I got older. In my teens and early 20′s yes I wore baggy jeans (girl baggy). Mostly in my teens I was a jeans and tshirt kind of girl. I tried to wear what the other girls were wearing, but I was just not into wearing certain fashions just to fit in or compete with each other on who was the cutest. Even in my early 20′s I was somewhat into dresses, but not really. More like those special occasion things. I just wasn’t a dressy person. Mainly because as a kid my mom wanted me to wear dresses all the time and pull down the top of my socks thinking it was elegant and in middle school well lets just say I went to an ABC school.

    Anyways around my mid twenties I noticed that many of the so called elegant grown up clothes suck. So do hairstyles (not a race thing, I mean girls from white to black)

    I think black women definitely need to read older issues of Essence, Ebony etc. to see that the mags now are just a shell of their former selves.

    I found out about this blog from Khadija in her review of the book Fascinating Womanhood

    http://theartofbeingfeminine.blogspot.com/ and I learned about http://www.thefemininewoman.com/ through TABF because they are working on a type of online charm school I believe.
    I can’t remember who told me about this site
    http://www.elegantwoman.org/
    There were also a group of women bloggers who did their own type of finishing school. Pretty cool. http://charmingthebirdsfromthetrees.blogspot.com/search?q=finishing+school

    I’ve also learned to stop listening to many WW (no diss on WW) when it comes about clothes or the “old fashioned were are not in the 50′s stuff etc.” Because when I go to sights like pattern review and see where these same women are making dresses from the 50′s. As I mentioned in a comment a while back about vintage clothing (which is high priced second hand) these women are buying these so-called vintage (second hand) dresses from the 50′s the style they say is demeaning and yet they buy them, because it’s cute and feminine and shows their curves. hmmm.

    I agree with The Rules Authors Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. The Rules should be used on not just men, but everybody. Those who act or show they don’t love or care for us give them no mind and move focus on those who do. I think many women especially bw would do better if we took this advice. Frankly I think there should be a He’s Just Not that Into style book for both men and women on friendships/family and women to cut even those you love go.

    This is why I believe we need to create our own media. Whether it be catered to mainly black women or catered to everyone. Black women could then have control over who goes on the covers, the models etc. Black women would have a say in how we are portrayed to the world. Black women would be able to promote books written by black women or movies etc. where other mainstream magazines wouldn’t because of the so called notion that readers wouldn’t be interested.

    Sorry for tangent.

    GoldenAh: Not a problem, Amanda. I’ll make use of these links later. :D

  11. BWMM
    September 20th, 2010 @ 2:07 PM

    Oh I forgot to mention this site
    I’m trying to find out if there is something like this in my area. Would be nice.
    http://www.thebeckmancompany.com/v2/
    http://belle-charm.com/
    would have been nice to do something like this instead of Rites of Passage.

    Again be careful of listening to other women talking about “this isn’t the 1950′s” yada yada yada stuff when you have products like this coming out. http://www.udefineu.com/ I’ve been thinking about getting this for a while, but want to see it before I buy.lol

  12. Likewaterforchocolat
    September 20th, 2010 @ 2:37 PM

    A lot of BW accepting certain images often comes from within our own community. Mo’Nique, Sherri Shepherd, and even Jennifer Hudson (before she wised up) celebrated being “full-figured”. “I’m big, beautiful and loving it”, they would say and get defensive if anyone dared say that they were promoting poor health choices among women. And of course, when WW see this, they believe that it’s a cultural thang that bw are more accepting of obesity than our white counterparts. An overqwhelming majority of bm are (ever notice that ww who ONLY date bm are usually obese or that men who only ate obese women are mostly bm).

    Every woman should love herself (few extra pounds and all). But there comes a point where fat is not always fabulous. Fast forward a few years for Sherri and Mo’Nique and they’ve both lost about 40 lbs each because their doctors were about to start cutting off body parts in a few years. Granted you would never see Rosie O’Donell on the cover of Elle because she does not fit the standard of what WW feel is beautiful. And trust, Zoe is very thin, definitely more thin than is acceptable for me, but you know what bw talk about her like a dog.

    When I started making diet changes and working out to lose weight after getting up to a size 10 (5’5 and 152 lbs), the chicks in the office began having all types of commentary about what I was doing & eating. Mind you, these are females who are 5 feet tall and more than 185 lbs each. While I was not officially a “big girl”, I considered it to be heavier than I was comfortable with. I am also aware that I am predisposed to certain things genetically in my family (diabetes, stroke etc.)

    GoldenAh: There is a weight epidemic that’s hitting the entire Western World, even the Chinese and Japanese are getting fat. So I’m not about to beat up BW in general for being ahead of the heavyweight trend. I do know that behind this forced cultural acceptance is a lifetime of sickness and death. I had a gf who was asked if she was a crack addict when she reached 175lbs @ 5’4″.

    To me, people who cheer on OUR obesity are no different that accessories to murder or that phrase “depraved indifference to human life.”

    There were times in my life where I got big enough to feel the difference in my entire body. Folks talking to me on the phone would notice I’m out of breath. My knees would hurt. I’d smell different. My heart would race often. And so on…

    I don’t get the hostility for Zoe. I grew up around black Latinas. I don’t get the beef with them. They’re people from the Caribbean who happen to speak Spanish. They know they’re black. And for those that don’t: So what? The racial history of Spanish, Dutch, or French colonialism is no less complex than Anglo / British / American. Caribbean people from these French, Creole, and English speaking countries often relocate to other islands to mix and marry. The relocation mixing includes Central and South America (and the good ol’ USA).

    Great points about Mo’Nique and the others, Likewaterforchocolat.
    :D

  13. Queen
    September 20th, 2010 @ 6:47 PM

    Goldenah, I forgot about Julia playing a hooker in Pretty Woman where she got the cinderella ending. Thanks for the reminder. Which drives home the point they even glamourize when these women play prostitutes.

  14. Queen
    September 20th, 2010 @ 8:51 PM

    @Goldenah, thank you for the compliment, I think your site is fantastic!

    @BWMM I love the vintage clothes, manners and the like. A friend of mine and I as a matter of fact are in the process of doing a series of charm school classes to teach young women ettiquette and how to act ladylike. The response has been very positive. I hope more girls will be interested maybe we can resurrect the joy of being a lady.

  15. babs
    September 20th, 2010 @ 9:13 PM

    thank god!

    thought i was the only one who realized that that cover was horrendous

    im sorry but she is not cute…nor was her horrendous weave

    THEY WOULD NEVER PUT UP ANY WOMAN OF ANY RACE ON THE COVER WHO LOOKED LIKE THAT

    RIDICULOUS

    GoldenAh: Yup. They could have done better. They just didn’t want to.

    Thanks for stopping by, Babs. :D

  16. BWMM
    September 21st, 2010 @ 1:29 AM

    Goldenah, I forgot about Julia playing a hooker in Pretty Woman where she got the cinderella ending. Thanks for the reminder. Which drives home the point they even glamourize when these women play prostitutes.

    Yeah that original screenplay was darker. At the end she ended up where he picked her up just with a bit more dough. I do like the fact that Hollywood producers could see that American women and even men wouldn’t want to see an ending like that. Problem is if this had been made within the bc she would have ended up with the original ending.

    Same thing with movies and books like Dissappearing Acts or Act of Love or whatever they want to call that movie. Hell if that movie was about a WW she wouldn’t have ended up with the loser dude she had to give a chance, work on who left her with a child. She would have found a new and better man. Same with Waiting to Exhale. Hell the First Wives Club or other books, movies like WTE aren’t even like that. I think she even wrote a sequel to WTE.

    We also have to be careful, because many times they give us back what we are already putting out there about ourselves or letting be put out there.

    We seriously need to take control of our image. Take the control from damaging filmmakers like Tyler Perry and his wannabe clones.

    GoldenAh: Our stories have devolved from giving it all up to an inferior guy (in every sense of the word), to baring his child without the benefit of marriage, and writing about like it’s a greatest love story ever told.

  17. BWMM
    September 21st, 2010 @ 1:31 AM

    We all know a movie like Runaway Bride would have been jacked up if the lead was a bw.

  18. rainebeaux
    September 21st, 2010 @ 10:45 AM

    GoldenAh, you said in response to PioneerValley Woman: t’s hard for us to push back, because like you said, some of us have accepted these representations, and I know they tend to shout a lot louder. We get blindsided by this stuff, because it hides behind a wall called “progressiveness”, “political correctness”, and the usual stereotypes some black women have decided to embrace. I think that stems from a belief that we are capable of turning every bitter lemon into lemonade. Yet, a lot of us have lost that fine art. We can’t even discern the insults anymore.

    ____

    I’ve co-signed/endorsed/celebrated some crazy stuff in my day, but DAMN. Not this, just no. I just saw this horrendous cover up close at Borders and…*le sigh in HD* just damn. *sliding facepalm* oh gawd, I’m struggling to even come up with a halfway cl
    ever/cohesive response for this…this… “hotmessterpiece“! They call this, er, “progressive lemonade” for us–really? How ’bout I just turn this bushel of lemons into some damn cognac, because now I’m just numb. I guess the insults are seemingly coming at some bw so fast, their brains short-circuit and misinterpret them as victories (however small or hollow; hell, perhaps the Pyrrhic variety)…this is really depressing.

    I consider this a low blow* even for Elle (no need to go *that* hard on us; just save the time/breath/column space/wtf-ever and ignore 98% of us per usual)…of course, the highlight was her attending a dang strip club…I mean, did Joe Zee and ‘nem just save her for dead last, thus switching to F@!* Effort mode at the last nanosecond: no updo (hell, better hair, period), tiara, cool makeup to match her (original) dress or even a brief scramble for a second ensemble…shoot, they could’ve just had her chilling on a chaise…ANYTHING else?! (Okay, too much like right, got it. Still.)

    Yeah, not surprisingly, *this was indeed a direct hit at our femininity on top of everydamnthing else! Ack…another day, another periodical banned from my household (geez, I just finished *this month’s* issue!).

    I hope against hope the preceding made some sense; I’ll come back when something better brews up in my head…

    GoldenAh: So up close in person, it’s even worse? Wow.

    You make another excellent point: SHE SHOULD HAVE LOOKED FLAWLESS, not like a hasty last minute toss up.

    Love these words: hotmessterpiece and progressive lemonade. :D

  19. Tracy
    September 21st, 2010 @ 12:27 PM

    Hey Woman!!

    Thank you for saying it just like it needed to be said! Time for this ish to stop and for us to take back our images!!

    And thanks for the hugs at Chris’s! I am proud to be a part of such strong (in a good way) empowered women!!

    GoldenAh: You are welcome! You wrote some powerful, moving, and common sense stuff there….

    Lemme link to it so folks know: Tracy’s Story on Beyond Black and White

  20. rainebeaux
    September 21st, 2010 @ 5:57 PM

    Initially, like Valerie, I thought “oh, she doesn’t look so bad…” Then again, I’m seeing these cover images on a BlackBerry screen. Zoomed in as needed and thought, wait, what’s with the hair? Looks…off. And why this nagging hunch she’s worn the dress before, albeit in another color? Yep, that bad: actually, more like hitting-way-below-the-belt-with-a-tire-iron, “why must you make the baby Jesus, J. Alexander, and Nell Carter (RIP) cry?”, stopping-the-bumrush-you’re-doing-it-wrong, get-yo-pitchforks-out-of-layaway-NOW bad. One needs a magnifying glass and a black light to see if makeup was even used. They tried too hard or not at all, I can’t quite place it yet. [Swell, now I'm POed again...] Again, I can’t celebrate this…I’d like to think this would give even the most hardcore neo-Mammy pause.

    ****

    Oh, anyone remember B.A.P.s? Yeaah, you know the menz/celebloggers can’t idolize Halle in peace when that comes up: one movie out of how many hundreds coming back to bite us in the arse?

    No TP-as-Madea cover thus far (thank God!)…but there was a (bestselling, IIRC?) book a few years back:Don’t Make A Black Woman Snatch Off Her Earrings or some such hooey…
    ____

    In any event, it’s past time to take back our image BY FORCE, sports fans…in a stealthy, feminine fashion, of course. :D

    GoldenAh: LOL. You have such a way with words… :D

    I have watched all of Halle Berry’s movies, even the really really bad ones. I think the only one I’ve missed was “Things We Lost in the Fire.”

    OMG. Thank you for reminding me of that cover. I knew I’d seen that craziness somewhere.

  21. Yellowmoon
    September 21st, 2010 @ 8:02 PM

    Goldie, you are picking it up and laying it down – hard!

    Every word you printed on here is the gospel truth. It (this smear campaign) affects all of us, no matter what we look like or act like.

    I’ll give you a personal example. I was in front of the mirror, with my significant other (who happens to be a white man) behind me, and I was doing the usual thing, which was trying to decide what top to wear.

    I asked him, “What do you think, do you think this looks, you know, too butch?” He said, laughing, “No. And besides, how you could you ever look butch?” I replied, “Well, I worry about that. I’m a black woman, and I’m judged differently. I have to earn my femininity every time I go out the door and every time I walk into work”. He responded, “Baby, what are you talking about? You’re the flower of femininity! You exude femaleness. How could anyone question that, of all things?”

    So I made a mental note; mister, you are definitely getting something a little special tonight, and this is one of the reasons I love you, but the point is, even when a black woman gets this sort of reinforcement from her mate like the kind I get, the collective abuse about our female attractiveness still gnaws at me. And it is because it is so pervasive and so insidious and so unrelenting, this constant tearing down of the awesome femininity of the black woman.

    Yes, I know that there are a lot of black women that look like Ms. Sidibe. SO WHAT?

    There are a lot of white women that look like pasty-white beached whales, too. Millions of them. NO ONE tries to put them on the cover of a fashion mag and insinuate that it’s okay for white women to look like a longshoreman in drag.

    I AM NOT A BIG, FAT MAMMY. I AM NOT A SLY SAPPHIRE. I AM NOT A TIRED AND BELEAGURED MULE. I AM NOT A HOOCHIE/SLUT/HOOKER/JEZEBEL.

    What I am is a sophisticated, slim, attractive, graceful, alluring, intelligent woman. I also happen to be black, and although it is one of my defining characteristics as a person, it does not define me any more than any of those other positive attributes I just listed.

    GoldenAh: I’m glad you included this personal story, because you’re this awesome, lovely, and smart woman, yet that little devil of doubt is still whispering in your ear.
    What gets me is how the insulting image(s) haven’t changed in over 100 years!!!

    Not only do we need to point out the wickedness, we are ALLOWED to testify as to how injurious this is to us. I’m done with people telling us – we don’t have a right to notice this bull’s eye on our backs. Why should we be stoic about it? We have (delicate) feelings too. I’ve read my share of feminist literature and those women (nearly all white) never held back – not one iota – of how damaging it was being treated like second class citizens.

    Black men and white women have people checking themselves not to offend or insult, but the bus keeps rolling over our bodies and ourselves. Not anymore.

    Phew. September’s a heavy month. I’m gonna seek out lighter fare in the next. :D

  22. Pamela
    September 21st, 2010 @ 9:48 PM

    I remember last year when I was dating my husband (wm). I would talk with him about the portrayals of bw in the media. It was hard for him to understand because he loves every curve I have and finds me very feminine. I am told often by him that I am built the way God intended women to be built:) I used to tell people that I have close to the classic 1963 figure. I never accepted the stereotypes of bw. For decades (yes I’m that old) I refused to purchase or partake of any media that defamed me as a woman, especially as a black woman. However I did not realize until we were dating just how engrained the slanderous portrayals of bw were in my mind. It is in the air sort-to-speak. We must fight it tooth and nail. The one thing that may be able to break this is for us to live our lives to the full, when possible find the most flattering clothes to wear and be girly to the max.

    Sidebar: I remember in the 70s when the tailored suits were in style with the pointed shoes with 3-6″ heels (shoes in style nowadays). My roommate at the time had her grandmother’s suit. Fit right into the styles. When they come back with a vengeance I will purchase them:) Tired of the butch looking threads out there, especially the shoes. I am not able to deal with the high heels like I used to but I’m up for some really elegant, feminine shoes.

    GoldenAh: Hello Pamela! Great to hear from you. :D

    We have to deprogram and detoxify the pollution, propaganda, and poison we’ve been ingesting all our lives. No one is immune. There are multiple solutions – a media blackout of anti-bw programming, being very selective about the company we keep (leaving the hood and the toxic people there), and seeking out that which compliments us and our spirit. That is so critical. I am 110% for us feeling as cute, girly, attractive and feminine as we can, because it affects everything – starting with our own mindset. If we look good, we feel good.

    I was at the mall yesterday with my Mom, and the vintage look is in: 1920′s flapper outfits, nice lacy blouses, neat skirts, and dresses that look appealing on curvy bodes. Thank goodness.

    Thanks for stopping by, hope to hear more from you in the future. :D

  23. Bellydancer
    September 22nd, 2010 @ 8:17 AM

    Gabby attends a fashion show here with Nikki Blonsky and looks a whole lot better than on the cover of Elle. Who styled her here?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1312440/New-York-Fashion-Week-Size-16-models-hit-catwalks.html

    GoldenAh: Interesting. Yup. She looks better here. :D

  24. Kelita
    September 22nd, 2010 @ 10:46 AM

    First, I want to congratulate Betty/Golden Ah on this post. It really says it all on this subject.

    Second, to Queen, pioneervalleywoman, BWMM and rainebeaux, right on, right on, right on!

    Third, Khadija, you’re the best!

    Fourth, yellowmoon, that guy’s a keeper!

    Last, my sisters, thank you for reaffirming that I am not alone in my point of view regarding this kind of mess.

    GoldenAh: Hello Kelita! Thank you for that compliment. Great to hear from you. Don’t be a stranger. :)

  25. DiosaNegra
    September 22nd, 2010 @ 12:38 PM

    Please don’t get me started!!!! I am a former plus-sized model…and this…”cover” (for the lack of a better word) did nothing but make me TRACTOR-HURLING ANGRY!!!

    First, I know from PERSONAL experience that…yes…if you are not close to “white” and “skinny”….you will be “othered”… especially in the ugly business of the “beauty” industry…ELLE’S fashion stylists/directors/staff DAMN WELL KNOW they could have done a WAAAAY BETTER job of presenting Gabby…but they CHOSE not to (in my opinion)!

    GoldenAh: I sometimes wonder if the media / fashion industry is the worst for black women to be in. Maybe not the worst, the Top 5 perhaps?

    Second, I abhor the references to “Mammy”…come on, now! Not ALL plus-sized Black women are “Mammy”…

    GoldenAh: I meant it within historical context. I don’t believe they are Mammies per se, it’s just that they keep following a pattern. They are cast in roles that hasn’t changed at all… Next month I may show some examples, if I have the time. I’m thinking of media related topics to follow up on.

    Third, I feel that this whole ELLE cover debacle has actually brought a lot of HATE for/toward larger Black women to the surface that had been bubbling under for quite sometime (especially in the IR dating blogs).

    I, for one, believe in taking care of yourself (for all the HEALTH critics)…FOR yourself, however, all of the ugliness that has just been spewed all over the Internet regarding Gabby (how she looks and what that MEANS about BW) is nothing short of SICK. This is the face we want to show the world? It looks as if we are willing to push, shove and throw each other “under the bus” in order to get “a white guy”….Not saying that we shouldn’t “call out” people when it’s needed…but DAMN!

    @ Yellowmoon: I’ve also “checked myself” with the “butch” thing….LOL….I fall into the “look category” of “feminine tomboy”… but I’ve been told by several friends (male) that I’d really have to “work very hard” to look “butch”…LOL…

    GoldenAh: There have been a few raging infernos over the topic of weight among black women on some blogs. What I do is: get the popcorn or chips out, sit down, start reading, and rarely, if ever, comment. :D

    I’ve been obese, overweight, medium weight, and skinny over the years. Whether BW agree with each other or not about weight, hair, men, or whatever doesn’t bother me. I shrug it off. We’re women hashing out issues – sometimes passionately and intensely. I feel our discussions whether nice, or not, is not the same as the mass media taking our images, degrading us with them, then beaming them around the planet.

    If people hate black women – the weight factor is irrelevant. It’s just something for them to get a handle on (pun intended). It’s unfortunate that people are expressing hatred towards Ms. Sidibe.

    Well, I can’t speak for white men, but they have and will make up their own minds when it comes to black women. Based on feedback I’ve received, they understand (quite well) what we go through and respect us. Plus, when I was obese I dated them, and when I was skinny I dated them. :D

    And thank you for the feedback, it’s appreciated.

  26. Queen
    September 23rd, 2010 @ 1:11 AM

    @ Diosanegra,I also did not mean to reference that all plus sized women are “Mammy” yes NOT ALL PLUS SIZED WOMEN ARE MAMMY I am Plus sized (14-16) but as I shared from my own personal life people seemed to like seeing me as the happy famliy loving friend when I was larger (size 24). I was safe and non-theatening. I did not realize that is what I was emulating. Once I saw what I was reflecting I STOPPED. What I know about the “Mammy” characature is that it is most identified with larger women; the is the big jolly woman. See this link http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/mammies/ is explains this characture and why it is one of the most enduring sterotypes; the twised side of this image is that it is matronly, nurturing and comforting even if the woman is attactive (Jennifer Hudson’s characters “mothering” qualities towards Sara Jessica Pakers Character in the Sex and the city film) To show you HOW engrained it is, When Oprah had actress Shirliey McClaine on the show she asked her about finding a good weight loss plan and Shirley said and I quote,”If you lose weight, you will lose your show” (I know Oprah, has lost weight before, but it did not stay off for long)Even Shirley undestood that the extra poundage Oprah carried played in a twisted way a key in her success; some of the “mammy” element; safe, nurturing, and non-threatening,because at the end of the day men do not want to sleep with their mother (asexual) which is at the heart of this stereotype. That is what I was pointing out.

  27. Queen
    September 23rd, 2010 @ 1:37 AM

    Sorry about the gramatical errors :)

  28. DiosaNegra
    September 23rd, 2010 @ 9:07 AM

    Thanks for clarification, Queen! :D

    (After re-reading what I wrote, I hope I didn’t come across as shouting or “stabby”….that’s the last thing I want)

    GoldenAh: Oh, not at all. You were descriptive, provided examples, and gave context, which helps. If it was just like one or two sentences, it’d been harder to tell. :D

    And, you’re totally ON POINT with what you said….I love Shirley McClaine…she’s straight, no chaser (ALWAYS!)…The whole “non-threatening” thing…LOL….Oprah WOULD, indeed, lose her show if she lost weight….in fact, I remember how WW “turned” on her after she did the first time….

    It reminds me of what some chick said to me years ago…that she felt comfortable around me because she didn’t think I was trying to “take her man” (code for: You’re not attractive (by his standards), so I don’t feel threatened by you)….

    I leaned in really close and said….”Cobras and rattlers are silent AND deadly…they don’t really “announce” themselves, either…”

    (and, much to her dismay, he DID find me VERY ATTRACTIVE….in fact, she hated the fact that I turned him to jelly every time I smiled at him… *insert evil grin here* and we were able to have many, many intelligent conversations about world events, which were way over her head…)

    Grammar, shrmammar….don’t even “trip” about grammatical errors…we’re amongst friends…

    :D

  29. Bellydancer
    September 23rd, 2010 @ 3:29 PM

    Golden I had a friend,a bw whom worked the teller line at the bank I worked in 10 years ago and she always dressed nice even though she wore loud colors and prints but she bought her clothes from chinese shops of course with matching earrings and bracelets. She was 5’6′ so she could pull it off without looking too garish.
    I worked in another area and when she transferred to my area one of the ww I worked with commented on her hair and clothes and said “You tell Angela she doesn’t have to dress up when she comes up here” I was like wtf, we were in the investment division we tried to look nice even if we were in ops.
    I told Angela this and she laughed and said” mmm somebody up there is jealous”.
    So yeah we do threaten them with our femininity.
    I used to get into it with a ww at work who would look you up and down when you came in and would always ask you if your clothes were new like wtf difference does it make if they are new. I realized she was insecure when another bw co worker would buy a new purse or coat she would go out and do the same. SMDH those bitches do no want us to be able to match them or outdo them at all.

    GoldenAh: I used to get that, Why am I so dressed up? And the people would dress so badly HR always has to put out a dress code memo to remind them to look decent. Stupid.

  30. DiosaNegra
    September 23rd, 2010 @ 3:46 PM

    @ Bellydancer: Pardon me, I know you were addressing GoldenAh here, but…..O.M.G.!

    You were in INVESTMENTS???!!!??? In a bank, no less? You HAD BETTER bring your “A game” there! It was always stressed (to me) that when you are working in a professional environment (even if it is business casual)…that it isn’t license to “look like a slob”….

    I’ve always had that happen to me! The men I worked with have (respectfully) complimented me on my outfits…one of my former Managers’ wife asked me where I got a particular scarf (b/c she WANTED one as well…LOL)…but the WW (who were also Managers)….don’t even get me started. ALWAYS nitpicking about where I shopped, how much I spent, etc. Like it was THEIR business?!

    And, you are CORRECT….they DO NOT want us to LOOK LIKE WE’RE ON THE SAME LEVEL AS THEY “APPEAR” TO BE….b/c, heaven forbid….we ACTUALLY attract WM…. ;)

  31. Bellydancer
    September 23rd, 2010 @ 4:01 PM

    DiosaNegra I had a friend recently get a loan from her 401k plan from her job because she wanted to close on her condo and needed money for closing costs and last minute expenses. The office manager, a ww was asking her all kinds of personal stuff for the paperwork which was her way of meddling anyway she told my friend while asking about her cadillac payments “see this is why I don’t drive a cadillac or shop for clothes I don’t need for these types of scenarios” like okay bitch a bw can’t have a car and a condo and this ww lived in an apt and drove a raggedy ass junky car filled with trash I know because I got a ride from her once and almost told her never mind had the nerve to get shitty about somebody elses’s money. My friend is 55 but that bitch can dress and them ww at the job was mad about that too and get this my friend loves Goodwill, Tj Maxx, Stein Mart and Marshall’s. Now you can shop those places and get clothes 50% off the rack prices. Bitches just be hating. She had her own ofice and everytime she would shut her door to eat or to make a personal phone call some ww would just have to go in to make a silly ass statement or just to see what was up chile please bm got that shit all wrong them bitches jealous of us!

    GoldenAh: The few times I’ve traveled overseas, if I find myself seated next to one on a plane or we’re waiting for a tour – it’s like they think they have the right to ask you everything about your business. They seem to lack basic conversational skills and manners. Not all of us are Oprah. We’re not going to tell you our life story within 5 minutes of meeting. I stay polite, but it’s annoying as hell.

    Yeah, the same thing with work. If we make $5 more than they do (even if we work in a higher position) it’s like something is wrong in the universe, and we must we questioned every day about everything. I never get this from men, only women. I find it funny. Remember to always tell them something (that’s not too personal) to get them upset.

    :D

  32. The Art Of Stealth, Part 4: Pierce The Fog Of Dogma — The Sojourner's Passport
    September 23rd, 2010 @ 9:31 PM

    [...] Or by lifting up butch Black women. Golden Ah, blog host of Betty Chambers Has Spoken, has written an excellent post about the current campaign to “other” Black women. I strongly urge everyone to read the post in its entirety. She said, I’ll repeat myself: I might [...]

  33. Kay
    September 24th, 2010 @ 12:40 AM

    Great post. I always know where to go when I want to hear the truth!

    GoldenAh: Hello Kay. BTW, I really loved your sex-now-love-later-maybe NWNW essay. People should check it out. :D

  34. Queen
    September 24th, 2010 @ 2:59 AM

    @ DiosaNegra, WW got mad at Oprah when she was thin? Wow, I did not know that, but that just confirms the story I mentioned earlier about the size 3 Jazz singer who got dirty looks from the WW in the audience becasue she was not heavy.

    @Bellydancer, your friends issues with her co-worker just proves we have a long way to go. I have another colleague (american idol season 5 semi-finalist) who bought herself a new pocrche and was pulled over by the police who called for back up stating they had a young lady in a “Stolen” porche. When they ran the tags and found out the car was hers and paid for, they then proceeded to tell her to get the VIN number enlarged as they could not read it. EXCUSE ME??? the VIN number plate is the same standard size in every vehicle. They had accused an innocent BW of being in a stolen car and to save themselves from embarassment (and a possible lawsuit) that is how they weasled their way out of it They knew the real reason they pulled her over is becasue they believed she did not belong in or deserved that car, so she had to have stolen it. Gee how about from her performace engagements and songwriting royalties she eanrned the right to treat herself to a car of her choosing, but the cops did not seem to think so.She said now when she drives her car and she sees a cop in her rear view mirror, she gets nervous. How sad!

  35. ak
    October 17th, 2010 @ 4:07 PM

    Great post Betty.

    GoldenAh: Thanks, AK. :D

  36. jubilee
    October 19th, 2010 @ 6:22 PM

    Speaking of Hollywood: It was never for us because they NEVER EVER shown black woman in westerns or even on horses when in reality, we were if we lived in the country. Only when they made that recent movie GANG OF ROSES that you seen black women on horses

    GoldenAh: You have me racking my little brain now. :D And I’m surprised at myself for not having heard of this film!

    Posse – a black cowboy flick starring Mario Van Peebles with Salli Richardson and Pam Grier. Did the women ride horses? Can’t recall.

    Ruby Jean and Joe – a great family friend flick. An old cowboy (Tom Selleck) and his mentor-like relationship with a young black girl (Rebekah Johnson). Plenty of horses there, but certainly not an old school cowboy movie.

    That probably is the one and only movie devoted to black women as cowgirls. That’s sad since African American women have a fantastic and fascinating history in the west.

  37. rita
    November 19th, 2010 @ 3:50 AM

    Quite a post for my birthday.
    Thank you for writing it. :-)

    GoldenAh: Wow. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Happy Birthday! :D

  38. HandsomeLustyBlackLad1953
    November 24th, 2010 @ 5:46 PM

    JENNIFER HUDSON???ARE YOU ON CRACK???WHY DIDN’T
    “ELLE” USE GABOUREY SIDIBE???AFTER ALL,SHE’S A SVELTE,WHAT,400 LB.,OR SO???FREAKIN’ GET A LIFE AND A CLUE!!!(It’s true that babes such as Beyonce,Brandy,former Spice Girl Melanie Brown[Mel B.,Scary Spice]turn us handsome black lads totally boy-eyed,they’re CRIMINALLY UNDER-UTILIZED as actresses in movies and on TV.Part of it,of course,is “liberal”Hollywood’s racism and desire to use well-worn stereotypes about obese,mouthy black women[and subservient or in 2010,incompetent,bumbling or perverted black men "Precious,"The Blind Side,etc.,;where are the handsome black studs suuch as,well,Yours vTruly,who at 57,is said to be boyishly handsome by the buxom blondes between 27 and 38 I regularly date],but MOST BLACK WOMEN THEMSELVES are envoius of hot black babes,calling them
    “inauthentic”[there's that word used in today's dumb-a** context!!!]and “sell-outs.”
    9can we PLEASE just expunce “sell-outs,along with the “n’ WORD FROM THE NOMENCLATURE?)
    So,great-looking black gals,it’s up to you;you’ve got to FIGHT through the crap to be heard and seen.(Though we lusty black lads CERTAINLY WANT YOU!!!)

    GoldenAh: A bit incoherent, so I figured it wasn’t spam.

    The topic has nothing to do with black men, but I suppose some of them always feel left out if they’re not included in discussions about BLACK WOMEN. It’s that strange thing some black males have where competing with black women interests them more than competing against other men.

    Oh well. :D

  39. Sick and Tired
    January 21st, 2011 @ 2:34 AM

    I just now stumbled upon this blog and this post for the first time tonight, and I have got to say that I absolutely LOVE you for addressing this in such an “on point” manner. Everything you say is true and the media has been doing its best to destroy the image of Black women (and have Black people accept the lie of our image), particularly now that Michelle Obama is in office.

    Our success threatens all the lies they have always told, so now they’re trying to completely kill us through the mass media. They always have, but even now more so.

    What’s worse is that in many cases now, the media is using our own Black women to do the dirty work. For example, just look at Shonda Rhimes of “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Private Practice” and “Off the Map”. Although Black, Rhimes always casts Black women as (arguably) smart, but overweight, unattractive or unappealing, miserable , and never in a healthy relationship with a Black man – and definitely not any other man of any other race.

    Generally, she keeps the stereotypes coming, with Black men always with non-Black women and Black women alone, driving their man away (as in Private Practice) or non-existent, as in “Off the Map” (although I hear there may be a change to that and she may add a Black woman to Off the Map, but I wouldn’t expect anything good to come of it. And the same goes for Helen Andrews, the author of “B*tch is the New Black”. First, racists called Black women every insult in history, then the Hip Hop industry routinely called us b*tches and h*s, and now Black women like Andrews have gotten to such a point of inner hatred that she wants to call us that too – on the big screen, blasted to the world. What an idiot.

    I’ve notice in recent times the definite uptick in stereotypical images of Black women, and just straight out-and-out lies, like Black women all having Herpes and AIDS, suffering obesity, and being one-track minded corporate robots who just want to chase after White men – what a joke.

    And I agree with many who say that, yes, unfortunately Black men do NOT have our backs, even though we suffered, died, and held our self-control even when we had nothing, just to support them in their struggle.

    In the 1990′s, when the media routinely called Black men criminals and soon-to-be-extinct, Black women understood the racial context in which all this was being placed on Black men, and we supported BM. But for the most part, we have not received the same support, love, or respect.

    I think most Black men think they have “made it” and are satisfied now that they have a chance to openly sleep with every women other than Black, and could care less about Black women.

    And I agree with you in that its mainly because of the great job America is doing to destroy Black women, physically and mentally.

    That is a seriously traitorous mindset – and very sad at the same time, when you have Black men turn their backs on BW, and Black women in the MSM helping keep the status quo.

    Actually, much worse than the status quo. Because at least in the 80s, 70s, and before, TV and movies made about Black people would involve Black women as well as Black men, not just one sided.


    GoldenAh
    : Howdy Sick and Tired! :D

    Given a choice, I’d rather the black woman’s image be invisible as opposed to sub-human…. Some of the TV shows seemed to have improved a tiny bit. I have to remind myself to do a follow-up post on black actresses….

    So Off-the-Map comes from Shonda? Yeah, she should leave us alone. Her black female characters are always mean bitter bitches, and all the white chicks get to be free-loving happy sluts. What a sad world that woman lives in.

    I’ve heard the Andrews book will be made into a movie. Well, that threat was made about Supahead and so far nothing has shown up, unless I’m mistaken. Fingers crossed that nothing comes of any of it.

    I agree. It all started going downhill in the 1990s, and it hasn’t stopped yet. You have a valid point about the media weirdness of the media since Michelle Obama became first lady too.

    We have to make sure that no evil intentions, deeds or weapons used against us shall prosper.

    Take care. :D

  40. oświetlenie łazienkowe
    January 25th, 2011 @ 2:47 PM

    And very nice new article!

  41. BWMM
    February 4th, 2011 @ 3:47 PM

    What’s worse is that in many cases now, the media is using our own Black women to do the dirty work. For example, just look at Shonda Rhimes of “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Private Practice” and “Off the Map”. Although Black, Rhimes always casts Black women as (arguably) smart, but overweight, unattractive or unappealing, miserable , and never in a healthy relationship with a Black man – and definitely not any other man of any other race.

    I get what you are saying on that point, but you also have to take into account that in order to get in she would have to cast mostly white etc. and throw in bp. That’s what the creator of L. A. Law had to do as well. It was a way to get bp on screen. Sad that we have to do this, but until we get some major clout in film and tv this will continue.

    This is what pissed me off when you look at the potential of BET. Hopefully TVOne won’t do the same thing. Thing is we need TV Networks that are owned by bp targeted at bp and also ones for all. As in CBS,NBC etc.

    I hate to say it, but based on past black series or even shows with bw in positive roles that were seen as desirable by all men didn’t get any support. So the studios are not going to support them, and creators aren’t going to go that route again if they want to keep their jobs. When bw are in IRs not only did they get complaints for wp, but also bp. So we need to show support.

    GoldenAh: I hear you, BWMM. I think what’s annoying is that the highest rated and widely watched shows has a black woman with a stereotypically bad image, and on lower rated programs she may be one of the leads who behaves normally. What you say has a lot of merit: we embrace the degrading craven images.

    Considering how long Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice has been on, I’d say Ms Rhimes is quite happy continuing the deal she made with the devil. I get it: she’s pulling an Oprah, and the road to riches isn’t lined with positive uplifting images of black women.

    I just don’t like the bus tire tracks left over our bodies. Thump. Thump. :D

    You’ve given me something to think about too. Gotta do some research.

  42. Natalie
    February 20th, 2011 @ 3:10 PM

    Hello Betty
    Really loved reading this article its so true to the point!

    GoldenAh: Hello Natalie, thanks for the feedback and stopping by. :)

  43. jubilee
    February 21st, 2011 @ 1:00 AM

    I haven’t written on this site in a while BUT i’m starting to se WW not wanting to be feminine, like having to want to wrestle a BOY IN HIGH SCHOOL!! and also BULL RIDING? i KNOW that black women don’t want to do crazy unfeminine stuff like that (the girl who rode the bull, died) really sad…. In my daughters class, there was a BW that had made fried chicken for a party at school–I’m thinking that many WM, the ones who aren’t into video games to a fault and be good providers would be good mates for BW who are sweet and feminine–let the WW be feminist and lose their men to many feminine sisters

    GoldenAh: You have touched on a topic, I want to dwelve into in the future. When it comes to feminity, white women can afford to be “manly” if they want. We can see from TV and society that’s the direction they want to go. And that’s okay. I feel like – let that be their thing. We don’t need to emulate it.

    However, for black women, we need to go about reclaiming and embracing our feminity – distinctly on our terms. So, obviously our social needs and expectations will be different from white women. We want to eradicate and destroy these persistent stereotypes that keep hounding us (which you touch on in your next comment).

    I want us to have a positive stereotype as the women men can enjoy coming home to. The one who’s been overlooked, but is a real treasure to behold. :D

  44. jubilee
    February 21st, 2011 @ 1:03 AM

    (cont) since many times, BW had to do much of the ‘heavy lifting’–especially if she was dark, since slavery–we could be feminine today–if good black men want us (purple unicorns) fine, if not, there are others who want to have a real helpmeet type wife out there

  45. My Perspective
    April 8th, 2011 @ 10:42 AM

    I agree with ALL of this. Yes, the femininity of Black women has been denied.

    But we owe it to ourselves to restore what has been stolen from us.

    We need to reclaim our unique beauty and our dignity. We need to see ourselves as beautiful and worthy, no matter what shade our skin might be.

    Feminism isn’t bad, but it doesn’t always benefit Black women. We need to let our beauty shine.

    I’ve started trying to make myself feel pretty after a lifetime of being called “ugly” and “nappy-headed”.

    I’ve been trying to find pretty clothes and cute shoes. I only wear a little bit of makeup…just mascara and pink lip gloss. Sometimes I shop at Victoria’s Secret and buy some pretty underwear.

    It is tough being a Black woman in this racist society. People will constantly make you feel like an inferior. Some people will belittle you. Don’t believe the lies. You are beautiful and you are worthy, no matter what anyone says.

    My advice to young Black girls is this…study hard. Respect yourself, even if the people around you don’t. Keep yourself clean. Don’t throw your future away. Laugh. Smile. Play. Don’t give up on your dreams. Remember that you are gorgeous. Set standards for what you want in life.

    GoldenAh: This comment is pure poetry. I love it! :D

  46. Densie79
    July 13th, 2011 @ 5:04 AM

    *gasp!*
    “Ask yourself these questions: At work, do some of these chicks come to you complaining about people like you’re going to be the one to set their tormentors straight? Do you get asked to lift heavy objects when there are plenty of guys around they could ask? Are you always volunteered for clean-up duty, cooking, or bringing in food? Do people push their leftovers, Halloween Candy, fattening meals, or other unhealthy garbage at you? I’m sure there are more examples that come to mind.”

    How did you know?!
    You nailed it. I haven’t even finished reading and I had to comment.

    GoldenAh: I’ve always suspected these experiences are nearly universal for black women at work. The worse thing I’ve witnessed is that some of us are so well trained and conditioned for this that it’s automatic. No one even has to come around and ask: we do it on autopilot.

    Thanks for stopping by, Densie79. :)

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