International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was Friday, March 8.  I thought nothing of it on Friday because I don’t know how to observe the day.  Do we go shopping, bake a cake, have a parade or what?  Beats me.

But over the weekend I ran across a video on YouTube of an Air Force service woman complaining about her subordinates having bad attitudes.

 

The soldiers post is bad enough but as always the comments underneath the video were far more extreme.  I read dozens and dozens of comments expressing disdain for and superiority to Black women.  YouTube is a haven for those who hate Black women.  Insults to Black women can be found underneath videos that have absolutely nothing to do with Black women.  I read this stuff and I’m like, sheesh can I live?  I’m just minding my business and trying to live here.

There is a YouTube host by the name of Tommy Sotomayor that has been preaching his hatred of Black women on social media for years now.  His success has inspired copy cats and their sentiment is repeated all over YouTube and Twitter.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the easiest way for a Black man that isn’t a celebrity to gain a large social media following is by degrading Black women.

tommy sotomayor Tommy Sotomayor

Stereotypes are usually based in truth but I still don’t find the perceptions that people have of Black women to be fair.  I am familiar with “Black attitude” and have encountered it.  I’ve dished some out.  So I’m not saying that “Black attitude” doesn’t exist.  I’m just saying that it is misunderstood and sometimes justified.

Hostility towards Black women has been very open in the media for years.  As I pointed out before it is all over the place and the Black community is not even a safe place from it because Black people often hold the most hostility and do a lot to perpetuate the harmful stereotypes.

Black women are often described as terrible mothers, terrible domestic partners, terrible people and ugly.  I’ve seen numerous social media posts telling Black women  that we are the so called bottom of the barrel women.  With so much negativity aimed at Black women I don’t understand why anyone is surprised that they would have attitudes or feelings of bitterness and resentment.  It is inevitable that all of the negativity would affect the image of Black women and girls.

Black women are often put down for the way they present themselves.  A lot of Black women wear hair weave around the world.  In countries outside of the US skin bleaching seems to be common.  Men that enjoy degrading Black women by telling them that they need to learn to love themselves.

What people choose to ignore is that European features are the standard of beauty globally and women of African descent that alter their appearance to look more European are trying to compete.  They are competing for economic opportunities and the affection of men.  Black women often feel that they need to make themselves look more European to gain the attention of Black men.

Black women are human beings and like all human beings they are seeking out validation and love.  Black women are fighting to gain economic resources in this modern economy.  Most of us are raised to believe that we need to alter our appearance to look more European in some form in order to do that.  Anyone that says that looking more African and less European in this world is an asset is not speaking the truth.

So that covers the why of some of the actions of Black women but that’s not where the bias stops.  I admit.  Some Black women have an attitude and are easy to trigger.  But so are a lot of other women that aren’t Black.  Why aren’t those women stereotyped as having bad attitudes?  In fact, when certain races of women have temper tantrums men think it’s cute, sexy and exciting.

 

If you take a gander at my profile pic you can clearly see that I am a Black woman.  I think I’m a pretty nice and easy going person.  I don’t like to be at odds with people or have conflicts.  But I’m not afraid to stand up for myself.  And I’ve noticed as a Black woman there are times when I have had to struggle to be heard.  When I don’t stand for being treated poorly or I feel the need to make myself clear so I can ensure that I am being heard and understood people often like to act is if I am the aggressor and they are the victim.

All a Black woman needs to do is stand up for herself or assert herself and many people will be offended by it because the woman that they deem as beneath them or bottom of the barrel is asking for fair treatment.  Others actually enjoy the nasty stereotypes of Black women.  It gives them a fool to laugh at and someone to make them feel superior.  I have had problems in the American workforce for not fulfilling the Black woman stereotypes.  A Black woman will be left in peace if she plays the role that others thinks she should play.

I grew up in the Detroit area and now I live in Kansas City, MO.  I’ve always lived places with sizeable Black populations.  So indeed, I have met unpleasant Black women but I’ve also met a lot of sweet as pie, smart, professional, family oriented, hard working, feminine, full of personality and drop dead gorgeous.  In fact, I think that most Black women are lovely people.  Most of the people that I have been close to and supported me in my life have been Black women.  I have absolutely no reason to put down Black women or try to put a different race of women on a pedestal.

Black women are like everyone else and should be judged as individuals.  Give us a break.  And no, I’m not pleading with anyone to like or love us.  That is a personal matter.  But I don’t think that we deserve the constant degradation that we receive.  It’s not even as if we are being accused of pulling off mass shootings or drive bys.  Even if you buy into the stereotypes we still really aren’t all that bad.  How can we be?  Black women don’t hold much power in society so we aren’t even able to hurt anyone.  I don’t understand how we became the boogeyman.

As far as the soldier that made that video I have some theories about why she has a problem with her subordinates but I will keep that to myself.  My hypothesis is not politically correct and would do nothing but hurt feelings and spread negativity.  I know when to keep my mouth shut.  I only know what this soldier shared in her profanity laced tirade which said a lot about her.

This woman clearly loves drama because there are other, less public, more professional and mature ways that she could deal with disrespectful subordinates.  I’m sure the Air Force has some sort of disciplinary system in place to deal with valid complaints.  And this lady said she wanted to fight the Black women that reported to her.  For goodness sakes that’s not lady like at all.  Is violence really necessary?  I’m thinking that she is the problem here.

So anyway the world really needs to back off of Black women and girls.  We don’t deserve the hostility.  We’re just trying to live our lives.  In the past year or so I’ve heard of about three stories of elementary school aged girls committing suicide because of bullying at school.  One news report said that a girl was being teased because of her hair.  She looked like an average little Black girl with two Black parents to me.  This negativity has consequences.

The mainstream American feminist movement rarely addresses the concerns of Black women.  Body positivity and other modern feminist causes exist to improve the conditions of affluent White women that only seem to have cellulite to worry about.  So in honor of International Women’s Day please, give Black women a break.  We’re having a hard time out here.

False Ideals – Shannon in Kansas City

We are taught to love, uphold and strive for ideals.  The media and the culture at large teach us about ideal beauty.  We should all want to be thin, young, have long hair and be White, or at least the Whitest version of what your ethnic group can provide if you are a non White person.  We are told how an ideal citizen is supposed to behave.  We are all supposed to want to go to school, get married, have a few kids, buy a home, work for forty years and pay taxes.

I don’t think anyone truly benefits from ideal imagery.  Privilege is given to those that match a culture’s ideal imagery but that privilege is based on superficiality and falsehoods.  But they sometimes struggle to maintain their admirable façade and suffer when their reality doesn’t match the image that the world sees.  Those that don’t match what their culture calls ideal can become victims of discrimination and must endure the consequences of unfair treatment.

Anyone that tries to promote an ideal image is most likely trying to manipulate you for their own benefit.  The cosmetics industry needs to present you with an ideal image so that you will want to buy what they are selling in order to pursue their idea of beauty and desirability.  Weight loss companies sell fat people the idea that an ideal thin figure will lead to happiness.  Dating websites promote that being a part of a couple is the ideal to single people in order to sell their services.  White supremacy has been sold to the world in order to consolidate resources and wealth for certain people and places in the world while others suffer.

The only ideal is Jesus Christ.  Nothing else matches His purity or perfection.  Beware of anything or anyone that tries to sell you an image or idea of perfection other than Christ.  When humans try to convince others that they or something they produce is ideal they are going to try to exploit and take advantage of others.

There are many people that I admire for their abilities, talents or beauty.  But we all have gifts and talent but none of us are perfect.  It does not matter how beautiful, athletic, smart, wealthy and talented an individual is we all need a savior.  There is nothing wrong with striving for beauty, career success or wealth but it is important to remember that none of those things are the end all and be all.  It is easy to create unhealthy idols of our ideals.  Always put God first.

 

Exodus 20: 3-4

3 You must have no other gods  before me.  4 Do not make an idol for yourself-no form whatsoever-of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.

Romans 3:23

All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, 24 but all are treated as righteous freely by his grace because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus.

Psalm 146:3-4

3 Don’t trust leaders; don’t trust any human being-there’s no saving help with them! 4 Their breath leaves them then they go back to the ground.  On that very same day, their plans die too.

#bodypositivity – Shannon in Kansas City

 

 

#bodyposi is a popular social media hash tag which encourages women to be comfortable with and love their bodies.  The hash tag is often accompanied by a photograph of a nearly naked young woman.  I am completely in favor of women feeling good about themselves regardless of their body shape, height or ethnic background.  There are many types of beauty in the world and that should be appreciated.  However, I think the body positivity movement is misguided.

The confusing thing about #bodyposi is that these women want to put as much flesh on display as they can get away with.  The women in these photographs are typically heavier set and do not have the type of bodies that are commonly featured in fashion magazines.  I’m sure any one of them would look great if they styled themselves and wore flattering clothing.  I’m not exactly sure what these women want.

A lot of thin women look awkward in bikinis as well.  Everyone isn’t going to look great in a bikini or under wear.  That’s why fashion models are well paid for their efforts.  They also work out and follow a health conscious diet.  There is a price to be paid for everything including a fit body.

I’m sure there are some women that are uplifted by the body positivity movement and there is value in that.  But we are probably just changing the beauty standard instead of helping women find real contentment and peace within themselves.  Mattel recently designed Barbie’s that have alternative body shapes.  “Sports Illustrated” is featuring a heavier (size 10) model in their swim suit issue.  Stores are using fuller bodied mannequins.

Standards of beauty have changed throughout history.  Changing the standards may help a few people feel more accepted but then someone else will feel left out.  I think that we shouldn’t give the media, the fashion industry or the entertainment industry such power over our minds that they have the ability to make anyone feel less worthy than someone else.  The power that we have given popular images is idol worship.

I was given a copy of the New Testament to read when I was nineteen.  It made a huge impression on me and I would hate to think what I would be like without God’s word in my life.  If I was not grounded in Christ I would probably be as vulnerable to media images as all the “body positive” women are.

The Bible taught me that I have a savior.  That savior was born to be a living sacrifice to save my soul.  I don’t know how anyone can hate themselves with this type of conviction.  If God loves me that much who am I to doubt myself or my worth as a woman.  The following scriptures can help anyone that is struggling with self image:

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Have no regard for his appearance or stature, because I haven’t selected him.  God doesn’t look at things like humans do.  Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the lord sees into the heart.”

Try to see people, including yourself the way God sees them.  Focus on the human heart.

James 4:14

You don’t really know about tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes.

Life is fleeting and so is youth.  Don’t drive yourself crazy over something that is guaranteed to end.

Colossians 3:11

In this image there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all things and in all people.

We’re all the same in God’s eyes.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

You are a vessel for the Holy Spirit when you accept Christ.

Exodus 20:3

You must have no other gods before me.

Worship our savior, not your body.

I think that people would have a better self image if they learned about the love God has for us and the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for mankind.  People would also be well served to not be so self focused.  Love yourself and treat yourself well but it seems to me that some young women and men are absolutely obsessed with their image.  None of us are perfect and we are not meant to be.  No one is perfect but Christ.

God gives us different gifts.  Some of us are artists, great in math or great singers.  Some of us are blessed with the gift of looking great in a bikini.  We all can’t have the same gifts.  Instead of coveting someone else’s blessing be grateful for your own.

 

Your body will fail you one day.  If you live to be old your youth will become a memory.  Don’t let frivolous things become an idol in your life.  Beauty and image is subjective and is often an illusion.  Focus on serving God.  I’m certain that you will become a happier, satisfied, joyful and content person.