Every week, without fail, I come across something that could be considered a negative or a knock against something a woman is doing, or incapable of doing. Whether it be in my daily trek across the world wide web, or some report on the news, There is not a week that goes by that something doesn’t come up and try to block some girl’s shine.
In past times, I was the girl who would get riled up over the ignorant statements of lame-duck rappers, and other random male “experts” who had anything to say about women and the way we conduct our daily lives. Because…hello! Guys just don’t seem to understand how hard we have it! We’re held up to impossible standards because of what’s presented in the media. We’re constantly told we “can’t be” whatever because we’re too fat, or too skinny, or because we don’t look a certain way, or simply because we have ovaries and tend to openly express our emotions…thus making us the weaker of the two sexes. [insert sarcasm here]
Specifically, as women of color, we take extra blows to our ego, whether it be our complexions, decisions on the way we manage and style our hair, the size of our hips, butt, thighs and whatever else can be scrutinized. I mean, we have heard it all. And while some of these things may be true, at what point do we stop internalizing them?
While watching a trailer for a forthcoming documentary called “Dark Girls” I found myself feeling sick after the first 3 minutes. By the end of the clip, I was just mad. Not so much about the issues that the ladies recounted in their interviews, but more so at the thought of the adverse effects this clip might have on any little girl who may see it. What happens to the child who, before seeing this, never thought anything was wrong with the way she looked? Does she become self-conscious and then take on a feeling of inferiority? Or vice versa. I am in no way denying that the struggle is real. We are all faced with challenges daily, some of those hurdles are placed in front of us based on things that we have no control over, but that does not change the fact that we allow things to get under our skin and alter our perception of life too easily.
Anyone can try to sell you anything. But you don’t have to buy it. That same concept can be applied to the media. You believe what you want to believe. At the end of the day, the only person that you should be listening to about who you are is God (if you believe) and yourself. As people, we have the power to bring things to pass with the power of speech and belief. But if you’re always on the negative, you’ll never see a positive result. If you truly believe you aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, or strong enough, then you aren’t and you won’t be. That is, until you change your mindset.
You are what you say you are. So what are you saying about yourself today?