Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Additional panels for Bodies Matter exhibit

As part of our exhibit "Bodies Matter: Black women on body type, appearance, and invisibility," a few contributors provided additional reflections on the topic. 

"It’s black hair!"

When the discussion of hair and hair maintenance is entered into between a white woman and a black woman there are sometimes looks of confusion or maybe even disgust. Once I walked into a classroom with my hair that I had curled the night before because it simply would have been too much to accomplish the morning of. From my white peers I was met with "Oh Gosh how'd you get your hair like that" and "That's so cute on you."

Finally, one woman asked, "When did you do that?"

When I responded "last night," I was met with a confused face. One of my white woman peers then said “Eww that's gross!" I politely explained to her that no, it's not gross. It’s black hair! We simply have different ways of maintaining our beauty.

There’s no one way to look

The perception of beauty constantly changes over the years, whether the world thinks beauty means being thin, curvy, or in one of this generation’s favorite words, THICK. For black women what is portrayed as beautiful for some and ratchet for others is the concept that you need to have a big butt, slim waste, and big breasts. The same figure can be perceived as beautiful to some, and ugly to others. I think more people need to realize that they are unique, and we come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. There’s no one way to look.

Difference and stigmas

It saddens me that people had such negative stigmas towards black woman, such as “she’s chubby not thick;” “you’re cute for a dark skin girl;” “her hair nappy.” In a time where diversity is widely publicized, we still have people who are closed minded to people who are “different.” Whatever the case, it’s like my mother says, “it’s not what people call you but what you answer to.”

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