Posted by AfroElle On 11:33 PM
According to the Dove Self Esteem Fund 62% of all girls feel insecure or not sure of themselves and 57% have a mom who criticizes her own looks. As a young girl, I was certainly in that 62% because I did not “fit in” to the mainstream standard of beauty. From the time that we become conscious, the media does a job on our self-perception. The relics of white supremacy are still alive and well and the legacy of “black get back” beats our self-esteem into submission.
We all remember how our first names became linked to our striking physical characteristics.For me it was, “Donnie with the big nose…” Big, meaning above or larger than the average size. I can remember certain adults pinching my nostrils together in hopes of decreasing the size. Plus I had to wear glasses which felt like a“Kick Me” sign for my fragile self-esteem.All women, but more specifically black women have it difficult in an America where media representations of beauty are so limited in scope – thin, hour glass, long-hair don’t care, etc. Perhaps your claim to get defamed was dark skin, big lips, elephant ears or a big forehead. Many women are walking around insecurely confident and even those who fit into the mainstream mold are simply posers.
How did my nose “grow” on me? It was all about perspective. When I left the United States and traveled to Jamaica, I was inundated with the experience of being in the majority. Women who looked like me were not only walking next to me on the street but they were all over the TV. They were the norm. Shortly after that India Arie’s “Video” became my theme song and I celebrated the courage of this sista who broke through the glass mirror. I started learning the history of the hierarchy of complexion and physical features, realizing that I was powerfully and wonderfully made.After that I knew that little black girls (and boys) must realize that they are beautiful too. They must see their mommas embrace their stretch marks and hold their heads up high no matter where they find themselves in the world. We must:
1. Counter the campaign to poison black beautyby subscribing to magazines, blogs and programming that celebrate our beauty. This may mean turning off the TV, searching the internet or hanging out with your authentically fabulous girlfriends/family members.
2. Accept the love from partners who love you au naturale. If someone criticizes or verbally abuses your physical characteristics then that is not healthy for you. Run. Fast.
3. Praise the children & young people you have influence over. This is especially important if you have your own children. Tell them how beautiful they are. Let them know the history of race and racism in America.
4. Celebrate yourself! Learn how to dress in clothing that flatters your body type. Spend some time at the spa. Exercise. Do things that bring out the best you!