Monday, October 11, 2010

Black women and an insular mentality Part I

I used to attend a Christian church which needed to employ a drummer.
Now I know one or two female drummers but they tend to be rare breeds at least around here. Anyway a woman drummer was recommended to me and I followed up by giving her a call to find out if she would be available for work. What I found at the end of the phone line was a surly, ill mannered woman who couldn’t even be bothered to be pleasant and enthused about the offer of a job. After a monosyllabic conversation (on her part), I booked her to play one session at least, against my instinct over the situation and surely as I expected, she turned up late and couldn’t join the musicians etc etc. So the whole thing was a failure and I still had to pay her travel costs!

Folks those of you who have instrument skills know that it is hard to get. It takes patience, and discipline and nights of frustration when you want to throw the trumpet at the wall. Why would anyone go through what it takes to acquire such a generally rare skill to hamper it with poor manners.

Now I know musicians are known for being absolute divas but often this is after they have become recognized masters at their craft and when they have achieved the fame and money. This woman was in the market for a job as a drummer, and not some famous and well paid star, so why the bad attitude towards a prospective employer?

After thinking about this for a while I came up with my theory.

This woman was of African descent and therein I believe lies the key.

Now in the UK Africans have a large network of ‘Pentecostal churches’, some attended by anything up to 2,000 people on Sunday (very small compared to US I know!). I believe that this young woman didn’t feel the need to ‘cultivate’ outer contacts or be ‘open’ to wider approach because she believed (and maybe was correct), that she would be well taken care of within her community network (where have we come across this attitude before lol!). Remember the biblical parable told by Jesus that I keep mentioning, about the ‘wise’ manager who only ‘discovered’ a need to cultivate wider friendships when he learnt he was about to be ’fired’!

Yes, its all good and well to be insular and turn your nose at networking wider, but what happens when black community becomes a place of unfulfilled dreams, and famine for black women for instance in finding interested men who want to marry? What happens when she is not able to get her needs met within said community eg she needs to make a living outside it?

Indeed, this whole insular attitude thing I believe speaks to another key issue. Black women often package themselves for ‘their community’. I see it all around me as I go to and fro in my daily journeys. They present themselves, dress themselves, have mannerisms, emote etc in ways that are understood subliminally to make them black community property. Its very intangible very subtle, but I believe there is metaphorically speaking a ‘uniform’ that black women don that denotes them as Black community items you know, ‘if found please return to your nearest black community’ kind of thing going on. Designed to appeal only within and be available to only the black community, its men and its people. The thing here is that many of us who hope to broaden our horizons, go around with the same uniform unknowingly mostly because we mimic each other and possibly on some level think, ‘this is how black women are suppose to dress‘.

I think this is one reason why black women can be teeming around white men and vice versa yet somehow white men do not ‘see’ them. On some level black women have been filed under ‘reserved for black only’. We are hidden in plain sight because we are in a dress and presentation code which is picked up and understood to locate one rigidly within black only and one which says, we welcome only interaction overtures from blacks.

Black in love with color black
There is just something about the color black that black women cant do without. Most of the black women around me, if not dressed head to toe in the stuff, have at least two items of clothing that are black (I am outing myself here as a black wearer also!). Is it because it is safe, neutral or a color to hide many sins or maybe we can wear it with other things (as in a black shoe can be worn with so many other colors but not the same with say blue).

May suggestion is try and look at other neutral colors, give greys a go or browns. Add something quirky to your ensemble. A signal to tell people, ‘Hey woman of the world coming through’.

And you know the kicker here, Weaves and straight styles have become a part of this ‘black uniform’. Nothing marks black women out as ‘firmly within her community,’ than that parted straight weave style that many black women wear!
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socialitedreams said...

i so understand about this black woman's uniform because I see and hear about how proud they are to wear it all the time in Chicago. Soooo quick to other themselves, black women really shoot themselves in the foot. I really wish that most would stop screaming about how "they don't wear no makeup" and learn some basic, feminine applications and wear more pale pink/soft colors. Gets you treated in different ways when people see you as a WOMAN first and a mule never


Miss Glamtastic said...

Very good post! I can testify to the truthfulness about how packaging ourselves can make a huge difference. When I was still trying to figure out my personal style, I was dating a BM. When I told him I liked classic clothing, he told me that the clothing would look 'old' and it wouldn't look good on me. He also encouraged me to wear Baby Phat, Dereon, Apple Bottoms, and clothes like that. I'm so glad I ignored his stupid remarks! I stuck with my classic style and have gotten so many compliments about it. He and I are no longer together, but we are still amicable. He saw some of my pictures on my FB page and also complimented on how I look. I quickly told him, "Oh, but those clothes are classic. Don't they make me look old?" He's still stuck on the hood mentality, and while I've progressed and gotten very far in my career, he's still doing the same old (dead end) thing.

I learned a valuable lesson from ignoring him: watch what you wear-it tells a lot about who you are on the inside.

Sonja said...

Love it! Halima I totally agree with you.

@Miss Glamtastic I like classic clothing too. I can't really get into baby phat and some of the other brands. I think its tacky how they put the company name in big fonts all over their clothing.

Nola said...

What an unusual post; I like it VERY much! Why? Because you give those of us who aren't ready for "Big Girl" steps to take baby steps: "Can ya' just try and change your SHOE color??!!!" LOL! But, you know what? This is a kinder, gentler approach that is cognizant of the uphill battle that stepping up and out must represent for some (myself included, depending on what we're talking about).

And just to add to the truth of what you've indicated? I cannot tell you how often I get complimented on what I consider to be nothing special. I once had to take off my Frye boots -- very low heels, light tan, cowgirl look -- for airport security. A white guy behind me almost lost his mind and complimented my taste in shoes that WEREN'T stilettos, strippy sandals, or hooker shoes. LOL! Going through a toll booth, a white toll taker complimented me on my scarf matching my shirt (who knew? And they didn't really match; I just coordinated). I went to pick up my food at a neighborhood Lebanese restaurant and walked in with a flowy top over my jeans. The cashier gave me a free dessert. Even non-American Blacks respond when we do something "different." On Friday, I looked for the new Kombucha in Whole Foods and was told by the (Nigerian?) shelf stocker that they'd changed brands. I chatted briefly with him about the reasons and he pulled out a sticker booklet, slapped one on my bottle, and told me that I could try the new brand for free. I smiled and thanked him, stating, "I never get anything for free" (not true; however, he was so generous, I wanted to be extra nice)! He just BEAMED in the most manly fashion.

So, try SOMETHING NEW. Thanks, Halima.

zoopath said...

No urban sportwear, EVER! @MissGlamtastic: I'm so gld that you didn't decide to dress like that. Wearing clothing like that closes so many doors and minds before you can get near them. *Shudder* I hate urban sportswear so very, very much.

Burkeygw said...

I must say I'm guilty of never wearing makeup. I've only worn it once in my life, and at this point I feel like I'd be changing my personality if I were to start(still get compliments on my skin despite not wearing it). My favorite colors are cream, brown, and dark reds. Those boots you mentioned are very cute, but at this point I just don't have the money to spend on a new wardrobe. Any advice for those with very little money to spend, say like <$20? I really would like to stop wearing DH's baseball caps.


Anonymous said...

Another interesting post.

I have observed on the British X-Factor that what the judges want are not just good singer's/performers but someone who looks interesting too. I had a conversation with my son this morning and we both agreed that Black people tend not to do quirky. We tend not to veer off too much from the centre. Consequently we end up looking rather boring. I think we are self-conscious people who are afraid of self expression because there will be a guard dog in the black community showing their disapproval.

I'm all for Black women wearing their hair exactly how they choose (I'm not one of those who champion natural hair as some sort of statement about identity). However when I look at the straight weave I think Black women are missing a trick. Natural hair is fun and different and from my experience white people can't get enough of it. I love love love my natural hair. It helps to give me an edge over the pack.

Another thing Black women could choose to do is wear bright lipstick or eye shadow. If you're wearing muted colours add a splash of colour to brighten and soften the face. YSL and MAC do wonderful colours that are highly pigmented. Bright colours look great against dark skin.

As I have got older I have noticed that black does nothing for me. It makes my face look ashy. If you must wear black put something bright near your face. You could also experiment with different textures; shiny black teamed with a matt fabric. Cheap fabric tend to look awful in black, avoid like the plague. Alternatively you could opt for navy blue.

One of the reasons I continue to read Vogue and other mags which have a poor record of including us is for the ideas. It's taken me a long time to realise how to USE these mags rather than flicking through them.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Changing how you dress is a quick and effective way to get others to see you in a different light as well as for you to see yourself in a different light. I absolutely hate "urban" sportswear. The actual clothing is incrediblay expensive but it looks so cheap and common. I have always liked classic, well-tailored, well-structured. It fits my body frame and helps me to get the kind of male attention that i am looking for: tasteful and respectful. T

Another thing that a lot of BW do that just screams "BC only" are those horrendous long acrylic fake nails that are painted all types of loud gaudy colors. Why do BW wear those things? They're just hedious, in my opionion and screams GHETTO!!

I agree that BW should really try to wear softer colors and better structured/better fitting clothes

Shan said...

Black is a basic color that will be worn all of the time regardless. I get compliments on my skin tone when I wear bright colors such as yellow and aqua. I think black women with brown skin look really good in bright colors because it brings out the skin and makes it look glowy.

As far as makeup is concerned, I don't wear it that often either, but when I am going out, on a shoot, or something I will wear it. Yes, I agree bw should learn basic applications for makeup but it is a blessing that many can get away with not wearing it because of good skin.

I wear my hair natural. People of all races assume that I must not be American. I have gotten everything from North Africa/Egypt, South African, Nigeria, Brazil. I even had this black woman swear up and down that I was not American. I don't really consider it a compliment when people assume that I am not from America because I see it as them assuming that I must not be black american because I wear natural hair, am thin, soft spoken and intelligent. Of course, they don't see black american women as being such even though there are plenty that are.

I do get treated differently by blacks and whites with my hair. Bw either compliment or just stare and not say anything to me. Bm either compliment or ignore it. Wm and ww and other races seem to go crazy in a good way that is. Hair should not make a difference as to how people see you but it does, and I believe that has a lot to do with the weave/wig epidemic that's plaguing the bc.

I've also experienced bw ignoring me because they assumed that because I behaved a certain way that I wouldn't be interested in conversing with them, but when I initiate conversation with them, they open up. I don't know why this is. Other races of women just come up to me and we just talk about anything, but many bw, especially in the under 35 age group seem to be guarded. Some bm are like this too, but if they are interested or want to feel me out, they'll find a way to talk to me. I have to admit that it bothers me that many bw are like that with me, not all, but enough for me to notice.
Any insight?

Zabeth said...

“Gets you treated in different ways when people see you as a WOMAN first and a mule never.” LOL, @Socialiitedreams, love this!

I agree that sometimes you need to change up your wardrobe and look; I’m guilty of having too much black in my closet too. BW especially can benefit from wearing bright feminine colors (i.e. pinks, reds, yellows, oranges) as our skin complexions lend themselves very well to those colors- we have an advantage there. Also wearing more skirts and dresses can change perceptions too. There are things you can do to save money in this respect as well. Buy drugstore make up as opposed to department store make up, it’s really no different or better ( Instead of going to the salon every week, learn to do a home manicure and then go quarterly for a more thorough mani - my former roommate and her sister (WW) used to do this. For clothing try hitting up outlet stores, Marshalls, Ross, Loehman’s Nordstrom Rack, etc. You can even find significant bargains for designer items on Ebay!

With all that said, I don’t think that we should lose sight of our individuality and style that make us unique as some rainbow men are attracted to those differences.

Miss Glamtastic said...

@ Sonya-Yeah, I can't be some designer's billboard-no brand names will be scrawled across my chest or behind.

@Zoopath-why could I hear you saying 'No urban sportswear, ever!' in your best Mommy Dearest voice LOL! Urban clothing sucks. I stopped buying it when I left high school-best decision I ever made.

@ Burkeygw-Here's some tips from a bargainista :) With a $20 budget, you can:
-Get mascara, blush, and lipgloss to look pretty and natural ( sells each of these items for $1 a piece; you can find this brand in .) Total cost-$3 + tax
-Purchase a pretty pin and place it in your hair or on a cute blazer (Walmart sells beautiful pins in gift boxes during the holiday season-if it isn't available now, it should be in the stores within the next 3 or so weeks. They aren't all cheesy holiday themes either-the sell butterflies, hearts, and abstract shapes, too. These pins cost $5 a piece.) Total cost-$5 + tax
-Wear a pretty cream colored mock turtleneck. It looks beautiful against brown skin and you can get them for a great price at Forever21. Total price-$8.50 + tax

You can give your look a mini lift for $16.50 + tax. Always check out the clearance racks-the best clearance sales happen at the end of January, though its good to habitually check the clearance racks each time you go shopping. Check out thrift stores, too-lots of treasures to be found among those racks. The Goodwill gets excess clothing from stores like Target, so you can get cute, brand new things for a steal.

CNS said...

I like this article and I can say that I don't wear urban wear either, even when I was younger. I have always like classic styles. They don't fade out of style either. Some of the outfits that I get the most compliments, are those one of a kind, yet classy items that are from consignment stores. They are usually really picky about what they except, so the item will usually be high quality and in very good condition.

Anonymous said...


Don't worry if you aren't big on make-up. You would be surprised how many men prefer a natural look. However, a little mascara and a nice subtle lip color can go a long way (and make you feel really sexy lol). Start with very subtle changes. You don't have to be too done up to make a nice statement with makeup. And if your skin is good enough to go without foundation, you're lucky.

Aisha said...


Regarding items under $20:

an inexpensive pair of earrings

a cute headband/flower for your hair

Lipgloss/lipstick in a flattering shade

Bottle of nail polish

A pretty scarf

Headwrap in a nice fabric

Have your eyebrows waxed-it makes a world of difference in the way your face looks

These small items can go a long way to making you feel more polished and presentable.

Sky said...

but at this point I just don't have the money to spend on a new wardrobe. Any advice for those with very little money to spend, say like <$20? I really would like to stop wearing DH's baseball caps.

My advice sign-up and shop @ Khol's. They have everyday fashion wear that is similar to NY&Co. at reasonable prices. Plus w/ extra savings you can use their coupons on anything including clearance items! You can get yourself a brand new purse that does not involve the words Babyphat, Rocawear,or Applebottoms that you can easily get at Burlington Coat Factory. Ignore those stores.

Also check out Forever21/Charolette Russe(sp), they have a lot of nice flowy tops that can make you look girly/womanly. They have never failed me.

Also check out Victoria and check out their clearance iteams. I got 2 off shoulder tops for $20!

You have to make your way and shop to impress. Save yourself some money and say "im spending it on me".

Remember YOU ARE WORTH YOUR OWN INVESTMENT! So go out and do you!

Anonymous said...

If you have nice skin, you do not need to wear foundation. But consider wearing lipstick in a shade of red, deep pink, etc that is complementary to your skin color. That's what I do; it is the only makeup I wear, except on special occasions when I will use foundation also. It really makes a difference and I never go out without my lipstick. It makes my whole face light up.

I have thick eyebrows, long lashes, and deep eyes so I do not need mascara or eyeliner. But most women benefit from subtle, applications of at least eyeliner, and maybe brow color. And maybe also a mono-color eye shadow. I think if you wore just lipstick, eyeshadow, and/or liner you would still look like you, but a little more eye-catching. And it would take less than 5 minutes to apply.

As unfair as it is, most white men expect women to wear some makeup. It is considered feminine; that's why white women start wearing makeup before high school. The nice thing is that we black women can get away with wearing much less makeup than white women.

Have you ever considered shopping at thrift and consignment stores? I don't know how you feel about used clothes, but you can get quality, new-looking clothes (not underwear) at these stores. I don't buy new clothes anymore without first checking to see if my thrift store has what I am looking for. And when I do purchase new, I try to buy at the end of season when there are really great deals on clearance.

Anonymous said...

Hello All,

Now I am going to be walking around counting black outfits on BW. I never noticed that. Also maybe it is because I live in the SE and it is still in the 80s-90s here. If you wore all black you'd be dead before noon.

Re: "It is considered feminine; that's why white women start wearing makeup before high school."

I can remember fighting about this all throughout my tweens and teens. I and a group of my GF both black and white took a serious interest in makeup starting at about the 6-7 grade.

I remember I bought a kit from KMart of all places with my allowance when I was around that age and one morning out of the blue I painted my face. I have no idea whether I looked good or whether I looked a hot mess, but from my mother's, my DBR brother's, and assorted other folks (all black) who weren't even related to me you would have thought I had plotted to kill a head of state. They traumatized me so bad and made me cry - I will never forget that. I went from middle schooler to prostitute in one fell swoop.

I am thinking now that this was a part of the sexual "non protection" that BGs grow up with. The threat of being fast, the fact that they (other black adults) knew about the predators in their midst etc and they saw that as me calling that upon myself by wearing makeup.

After that, I would sneak and wear it. I would go to school in the morning, all the girls would go in the bathroom and paint our faces, and then I would sneak in after the end of day and wash it off.

Then in hs I wanted to wear it all the time and it was this back and forth with my mother. Even my guidance counselor suggested that my wearing makeup was "too grown". No one ever accounted for type of makeup, or application, or color selection that may have been acceptable - but it was the whole concept that was "too grown".

By high school all the girls were wearing makeup: Lupe, Ming Lee, Becky, Eaglefeather, Meena. I had one white girlfriend in 9th grade who used to use max factor pancake. Yes, mam mixing it up with water like she was about to perform Madame Butterfly all by herself. LOL

And then I got tired and I just stopped. I wore it for going out, interviews etc, but I lost the passion for it.

The killing part was after all that by the time I got to college my mother started inquiring about my eyebrow shape and why I don't wear makeup? Wtf?? Go figure.

I have been debating about getting back into it again. I did some drug store experimenting, but I ended up having to mix colors to get anything to match my skin and sometimes the lipsticks are really off.

I like Clinique and IMAN, but they have discontinued some of my favorite shades/delivery systems. I did get some mineral stuff, but again I am still having the shade problem. I hate having something look good in the store and then when you get outside or in a different place - it looks really different.

I think I may save up for MAC since all the serious divas rave about it.

Neecy said...

I never wear Black anymore unless its work slacks/pants. Those are the only Black items of clothing I like or even have. I do have maybe one dress in Black. that's it. i do not own a Black shirt, blouse or top of any kind.

When i was younger i used to wear black all the time.

i think I have replaced my Black clothing with mostly browns. i have a lot of brown clothing.

i'm a color girl. i love EVERY COLOR (yes even bright yellow) and my wardrobe reflects that. I especially like girly colors like Pink. But i found colors like Pink, Teal, Green and coral are my best colors.

Also i am a make up junkie although i don't wear much of it -lol. My recent addictions have been buying nice make up brushes 9most of which I never use) but i like the idea of having them. I go to the drugstores and love when they have their BOGO free sales.

LIPGLOSS is definitley my Kryptonite. You can buy so many shades and its easy no fuss to apply and grab when you need.

I luuuuurve being a girl!!!

I have been natural (loose) for almost 11 years. but now I am really considering locing my hair. But i have to admit i am somewhat afraid b/c I am not sure if this will work for my industry. But i find when I put braids in my hair I look my best and I get ALLLLot of compliments. So I feel the dreads will look really good on me if they look similar to how I get my hair braided.

I dunno, but I have been dying to loc for the past year. I think i'm just going ot do it...

Anonymous said...

Just the other day on my job we were having a "wearing makeup" discussion.

One of the ladies (who doesn't wear makeup) had the audacity to say that women who wear makeup are using cosmetics to hide the fact that they're naturally ugly. *crickets*

Another lady on my job says that she doesn't wear earrings to work because:

1. She doesn't have time to put them on in the a.m.

2. She comes to work to work & not be pretty. *more crickets*

ak said...

I admit that I do love black clothing and accessories but I don't always wear it from head to toe with nothing breaking it up nor do I wear black every single day. I'd rather leave that rigid, 'Nazi' idea of 'chic' to the annoyingly rude and stuffy Parisians.

But I will say this I think that very dark skinned black women especially should wear lots of white if they can help it. My godsister is dark skinned and in the summer especially, she wears lots of white and I can see why, and my mother's dark skinned and she wore lots of white when she was younger too.

Very dark skinned black women tend to have cool or blue undertones in their skin so they can get away with wearing pure white, pastel colors, silver, and light dove grey.

ak said...

I agree with the Anonymous about reading Vogue or reading Elle and such. I don't worship the white ideals of beauty or find it superior to black beauty but I read those magazines for new updated ideas of looking trendy, classic, edgy, irreverent, or sexy yet classy.

LaSteph said...


Your story sounds almost identical to mine. I used to wear a lot of blacks until I went natural (March will make it one year) and I began splurging with money I bought on bright/neutral colors, earrings, and sexy flats to walk around campus. I've never gotten so many compliments. I think since I had long, relaxed hair, I let that be my feminine quality while the rest fell to the wayside. Now I have become much, MUCH more feminine and I can't imagine living another way.

I'm actually considering getting my hair locked as well since detangling has become SUCH a hassle the more my hair grows. If anyone reading this has locks and tips for what to research or check out, I'd appreciate it.

Neecy said...

LMAO @ ANON 11:38 am and the *crickets* hahahaaaa!!

i understand some women can get away without wearing make up and such. But some women just don't put in any effort AT ALL to look somewhat appealing or attractive. I wear make up b/c its fun and I can play around with it to enhance certain features of mine. NOT b/c I am "ugly" underneath. Geez!

La Steph,

Yes its weird i too never wore a lot of different colors when i was relaxed. Black and White was a key color in most of my wardrobe with hints of brown and blue. But white looks TERRIBLE on me. I hate it! It does nothing for me unless I splash some color somewhere in there.

I actually have been doing some research on Locks and I am really thinking of going the sisterlocks way. i like the idea and look of them. They look almost like regular natural hair or individual braids, but you can do a lot with them. i am not big on the big chunky or heavy looking locks. i like small ones.

Just google sisterlocks or locs in general and a lot of images will come up. I found some good blogs on loc'd BW by doing this and some pics i saved to my computer to take into my consult.

i am going for my consultation tomm morning - sooo EXCITED!!!

Anonymous said...

LaSteph there is a wealth of info on natural hair over at nappturality.

Evia said...

I'm actually considering getting my hair locked as well since detangling has become SUCH a hassle the more my hair grows. If anyone reading this has locks and tips for what to research or check out, I'd appreciate it.

I don't know anything about locs, but I wear my hair in 2-sectioned twists. I learned from African women to add a 3rd element to my hair like a matching color of string or yarn so that when I get ready to take it loose, the 3rd element enables me to separate my hair easily since the 3rd element is a foreign element and wants to get out. LOL! It's SO MUCH easier to separate the sections and if I put a bit of hair butter on the twist, it's even easier. I re-do my twists about every 2 months, but I never re-do them all at once! I re-twist a few at a time as time allows. My hair looks kinda like
Whoopi's when she wore locs because it has a shaggy look most of the time. I don't need or want my hair to have that neatly twisted look.

I keep my twists about 8-10 inches on average in most parts of my head because I think this length looks fine on me AND it takes too long to twist if it's longer than that.

For women who want to try this, there are all kinds of strings or materials you can use for your 3rd element, depending on what style you want to wear. African women used a thin piece of thread that looked like buttonhole twist thread to shape and hold their hair into elaborate designs just like scultping gels are used in the West. I use whatever kind of 3rd element I can get that is thick enough to roughly be as thick as each section of my hair.

I can shampoo my hair without taking the string out and the tangling is minimal if I wait for it to totally dry and/or put hair butter on the twist before taking it loose.

I prefer the 2-section twists to locs because it's more versatile--allows me to cornrow it, blow it out, perm it (never will again), or change the style easily.

KAW said...

There are a lot of Black women doing amazing things with their hair on youtube. Creating conditioners, growing natural/nappy hair long-it's really a sight to see. Two women: "Kimmaytube" and "Rusticbeauty" come to mind.

Maybe it's because I'm in NY, but I see such a diverse group of Black women and styles-I think people feel compelled to "show out" over here, it's beautiful in the Spring.

Shan said...

I know this has little to do with the topic at hand but I have to share this with you all. I was at a theater show last night and this black man threw black women under the bus again. In his improv scene with his partner, he said, "Why do you keep setting me up with fat, black chicks man!" Now I think I mentioned this before, but he did it again. He is vulgar by the way anyway even when he is not performing. As he was walking to the stage to perform he mentioned something positive about Asian and white women. No one really responded to that comment.

I am glad he likes asian and white women. It's a good thing. I hope he doesn't marry a black woman because a bw is too good for him. Again, bm don't mind ridiculing bw in front of white folks. They don't realize that it makes them look weak as men. That's what many of them are. You don't see asian and white men getting on stage constantly ridiculing their own women. I just want to share that because my eyes have been opened and I am seeing it more and more. Not surprisingly, Jamie Fox and Martin Lawrence are dressing up as women in a movie called Skank Robbers.

ak said...

Lipstick is my kryptonite. I do love makeup in general but strangely enough I don't wear it everyday because I usually don't make the time! LOL LOL

The Anonymous previously who said she never goes out without lipstick sounds just like my mother. My Mom has nagged me about 'not going out the street without a little lipstick on your mouth' since I was 15 probably? LOL

But my Mom was right. A bold (bright or dark) lipstick makes you up instantly if you're one of those women who can't be bothered with all of the makeup steps, or who doesn't like wearing a lot of make up. If your skin is flawless, just one bold lip color is all it takes especially from day into night.

Oshun I'm sorry to hear about your pre-teen experience. It's a shame that blacks can't pick up the phone and call the cops on predators in their neighborhood who look just like them, the way they probably would on the predators who DON'T look like them, instead of blaming girls who have to learn the 'rites of womanhood' or being a lady from somewhere.

I mean some women have careers, even high flying well paid ones, where they can dress casually and not wear a stitch of makeup if they don't want to, while others work in sectors where they have to look more polished because everybody else in their workplace looks polished, so they have to fit in. So why can't a young girl learn about this. As long as a girl hasn't plastered her face with make up all drag queen style in layers, there should be no problem. Wouldn't she wear makeup to her prom?

cool_splash1 said...

Are you serious? What's sad is that many silly bw will defend these fools by saying at least we have bp on the big screen etc. if you calling these men out.

If you want to find cheap make-up or somewhat cheap; you can google mac dupes or dupes of whatever high end make up you are looking for. I definitely love youtube. I learned so much from Kimmaytube especially the basics on hair videos. Those were informative. Now I practically stay away from baking soda. Shimas vids are good too. I watch these vids so I can learn from them. And if they are into hair politics I don't get into it with them. Boy has some ugliness come up on youtube between those with natural, relaxed, weaved or what have you. I love KT because she doesn't get in with the hair texture wars that some do. I love nappturality for the recipes and even some styles. Though they have too many issues on that site.

Other vids I love on YT are recipes for scrubs, body butters etc. Love the strawberry lip sugar scrub. Also if you can search hairstyle tutorials and make up tutorials from the past such as 1960's hairstyles or make-up, 1940's etc. Who knew you could buy paint brushes and use them for applying make up (learned that when searching for mac dupes in YT)

cool_splash1 said...

Oh yes forgot to post this

Baby Phat Fashion show. At least one commenter said that the fashion came out looking taking.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon

I think that is some kind of haterism. I have heard this before too. Women wear makeup bc they are hiding something or are insecure. I think women who make comments like that are the insecure ones or who are striving to take other people down.

There are times when makeup is a must and it is inappropriate not to wear any. For example I have looked at online pictures of events and it looks odd to see a women who is dressed well and looks cute and a totally bare faced. It looks odd and you really notice it. Unless the woman has really deep skin tones.

I hope all turns out well! Keep us updated!

Thank you. I cosign totally - I think that is how/why black girls are groomed for the uniform, but it doesn't ever offer any real protection.

Thanks for the heads up on the MAC dupes. I had no idea that existed. I will look into that.

Aisha said...

A wonderful beauty site for Black women is Black Women Beauty Central. It has great tips for hair, skin and makeup that is especially designed for us.

Aimee said...

I believe there is metaphorically speaking a ‘uniform’ that black women don that denotes them as Black community items you know, ‘if found please return to your nearest black community’ kind of thing going on.

This is an incredibly powerful insight, Halima, and I think you put your finger on something that has eluded me for some time. I have witnessed a number of conversations between BW who are actually open to IRs, and have been questioned myself by such BW about HOW to attract the interest of non-BM, and I've never been able to come up with much of an answer. Because blacks in America are still very segregated I understand that BW might find themselves feeling "invisible" in non-majority black environments, and that non-BM might feel awkward about approaching BW who they were genuinely attracted to. Nevertheless, I have been approached by a number of white and Latino men throughout my own life, and continue to be approached by such men, so it was hard for me to put my finger on why women of equal and often superior attractiveness weren't having the same experience.

I have come to realize though that much of the reason for that is because, even though I grew up in an all-black neighborhood, my mom sent me to overwhelmingly white prep schools from kindergarten through H.S. for academic reasons, so much of my socialization has been more "mainstream." I have gotten flack my entire life from other black people for the way I talk, the way I dress, the diversity of activities/food/music I enjoy, and really found it puzzling, because I always FELT so "black." Now I realize that regardless of how "black" I felt (and am), I was missing the uniform. And while it caused me a lot of grief in the "community," the lack of the uniform has been a big part of what has made my transition towards successfully functioning in the larger world, generally and romantically, possible.

I also have to second you on the hair issue. I know how sensitive BW are about their hair; but I've found this subtle but growing perception in the larger society that long, straightened, fake hair on BW = declasse/"ghetto." When I was home sick I noticed how on trashy daytime talk shows like Springer the comic relief would often consist of a BW having a long, straight wig or strips of weave snatched off her head for everybody to laugh at, including the other black people in the audience. This is a look that sisters who want to be attractive to a broader pool of men should really reconsider: ironically, it is primarily BM who are obsessed with women having long, straight hair.

LaSteph said...

Thanks, guys, for all the information. I went over to Nappurality for the first time in a long while. I had set up an account there but after awhile became weary of the militant diction some of the members chose to express themselves with. As both a natural girl and a vegan, I am leery of having the label of a judgmental person being slapped on me. However, after going back, and filtering comments that made me lift my eyebrows and clutch my pearls, I thought I would look into braidlocs.

@Neecy: Sisterlocks are so cute! I hope your consultation went well.

@Evia: Your technique of doing your twists sounds damn cool. I'll probably try this out while waiting for my cousin to come down to my city to install the locs.

@coolsplash: I'll definitely look into mac knock-offs cause I wanna look cute but I don't want to make my wallet weep, LOL.

Lisa99 said...

This was an excellent post (as Halima's usually are), but like others said, I found that you really got to the bottom of a sticky issue that trips up many black women who are interested in IR.

I can relate to Aimee's comment as well. I grew up in an all black environment and while I did hang out with non-black folks in college, I still mostly "stuck with my own" in terms of dating, etc.

It wasn't until I got to graduate school and began spending time with people who weren't from my immediate environment (unlike my undergraduate institution, where nearly everyone was from the same geographical area) that I suddenly had more men of other races approaching me and asking me out.

Like you, I really don't have an answer when other BW ask me how to meet/date non-BM. I'm not saying that I have any special "it" quality, but I believe that my exposure beyond the black community and enjoyment of things outside what's traditionally considered black prevent me from being identified as "property of the black community."

It has nothing to do with skin color, hair texture, etc... the things that a lot of BW think matter when it comes to IR dating. I've seen plenty of light-skinned and biracial women who get little to no attention from non-black men because of their social identification. I think that BW who want to date IR must adopt a more "global" mentality, which helps her subconsciously give off clues that she's open to interactions with men of every culture or race, not just black.

Anonymous said...

A friend and I were just talking about that the other day. I was at this work-related event, and the black women there didn't have any splashes of color to them. One even looked downright goth with her jet black hair, black blouse, black nails, and super dark lipstick, and I bet this woman thought she looked well put together. There was nothing appealing about the dark nails and lipstick combo. She already had short hair that was shaved in the back.

Black women are percieved as masculine by default, so there's no reason to help those stereotypes out. Lose the black nail polish and gothic make-up. Please.


Anonymous said...

To Nola:

Are you from New Orleans? I agree with your comments. A little smile can make a world of a difference.

I must admit when I was in my 20s/30s I did not fully realize the positive effects of a simple smile, a pleasant demeanor, and a light hearted joke can go along way. Most people like other people who can tell a nice joke. Why it took me so long to realize this major fact? Maybe it was my environment it wasn't always the most pleasant place to live, who knows. If I do not smile at work my co-works know I am annonyed about something. We all should be less catty and more secure with ourselves.


Anonymous said...

To Kay:

I just left that site and saw a clip of Janet Jackson and it came to my attention that Janet finally broke out of that nothing but a bm mold, good for you Janet. It's about time. Maybe more AA women will begin to think interracially.


Anonymous said...

I don't wear make up but I still attract men. However, I'm looking to conceal the darkness under my eyes (it runs in my family). As for clothes, I wear black slacks but I love bright colors. Last but not least is the hair. I have a relaxer and my hair is long. It's not a weave. I do get annoyed when people assume my hair isn't real. For the most part, I wear it pulled back. I let it air dry so that it is wavy and people seem to like that look or if I get a wet set and it is really curly. The only people that like it straight are other bw and bm. I once had a date with a bm from an online service. I wore my hair wavy. He liked how I looked but then he said: How long is your hair when it is straight? That bothered me. I don't know why but it did. When I went on dates with white guys they never asked me that question. Yeah, it seems that bm love long hair.