I’ve been really thinking lately about black women and femininity. More importantly I’ve been thinking about ways that black women can reaffirm their femininity. I think that black women are running their image into the ground and the remedy is very simple.
Separate your image from black men.
Let me elaborate.
History has shown that historically black people (men and women) were “beastly”, animal like, over sexual, etc. Unfortunately as time has gone on, and as racism has become less of an issue, black men have played up to and enjoyed the fun that comes along with being the “most masculine”. Hell, the “mandingo” stereotype is one that black men no matter how racist it is, applaud and play up to.
But where does that leave black women?
Well, I think that this is damaging to black women. While black women are loudly and amply supporting the idea that black men are somehow the most inherently masculine of all races, it has adversely affected how black women are seen.
Well consider this. The “masculine” “beastly” stereotype was used to justify slavery. Although slavery hasn’t been an issue for 100 years some black men have still been able to hang onto this stereotype it for their advantage.
But considering intersectionality, the stereotype hasn’t helped black women at all. Instead because of racism black women are roped into that stereotype along with them. The more black women that support the Mandingo stereotype, the more they further themselves from ever being seen as a feminine woman. Because if black men are the most feminine and all the blacks are men that leaves black women in a hard spot. (That is completely avoidable)
We know what happens, have seen what happens when cultures are stereotyped as hyper masculine or hyper feminine and when it is embraced (or at least on actively or loudly fought against). Many Asian women are viewed by some as the MOST feminine and because of it Asian men are grouped as unmasculine.
While Asian women may ( in Americans mind) be viewed as the most feminine Asian men who did not distance themselves from this ideal are now being roped into this idea.
In fact as many black women are typecast as loud, obnoxious and masculine; Asian men are consistently typecast as feminine, weak men. Basically Asian men have not benefitted from the hyper feminine stereotype of the woman in their culture.
The same can be said for black women. While promoting the image that black men are the Manliest men on the planet simply because they are black we as black women are pulled into that too.
I can only suggest that the best thing that black women can do is to distance themselves from this idea.
Or at the very least refuse to embrace stereotypes like that. It is important for black women to separate themselves and not be seen as a monolith with black men, because when this happens black women lose their voice and any chance to be seen in a positive light.
I’d also point out the irony I’ve noticed in that while black women have been helping promote the idea that black men are the most masculine, and have happily, and stupidly gone along with this idea. They have been in turned been pulled into the stereotype of also being masculine. For the women who were specifically looking for black men to date a lot have run for the hill searching for more “feminine” women. So for the women who can only imagine themselves with a black men they really did themselves a bad one.
How can black women distance themselves?
Well, black women for starters can stop actively supporting when black men promote their “biggest penis” hyper masculine schtick. Black women can stop bashing other men as weak.
Further black women have to also remember that they do not have the strength or support to support men who A) are the only ones who will benefit from these ideas and 2) Are most likely not interested in marrying you and do NOT care if your image is in the mud.
The same men that black women are salivating to protect and uplift are the same men scrambling to use their status to get with the *real* hyper feminine women. And since all the real women are white that does not include you.
Black women have to acknowledge the fact that it is okay to look out for yourself and only yourself and YOUR self image. Smart black women will not be so quick as to toss away the benefits that come with being a feminine woman.
Finally it is important what many other women have written. It’s about reciprocity. Ask yourself if you have received anything beneficial from the uplifting the masculine status and allowing yourselves to be placed in the unfeminine roles.
I think you know the answer to that.
Until Next Time
PS this post was written as part of a series
Next Post: Why Wouldn’t You Want to Be Feminine?
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