I’ve been black my entire life. I’m not the skin tone that many people would feel attracted to neither am I the skin tone many people would feel unattractive in. However, I am proud to be black and I guess I’m just that girl who’s not afraid of the shade of her skin, who’s not afraid of the negative remarks she’d get from people due to her not conforming to the beauty norms of society, not having the ‘perfect’ complexion or the ‘perfect’ curly hair or even the ‘perfect’ hourglass figure. Nowadays beauty is no longer portrayed as being subjective, it’s not all about ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ or ‘beauty isn’t skin deep’ now, beauty is objective. The media has confused our minds, rejecting the beauty we valued as children and instead causing us to accept a lie. Due to models, film stars, musicians and artists our perception has been altered. When we look at our reflection in the mirror we subconsciously begin judging ourselves, hating the flaws which ultimately make us beautiful.
In my opinion, the media has caused black girls self-esteems to diminish becoming nothing, and has caused their self-love and self-worth to disintegrate. I believe the demands that the media puts on young girls all over the world, white girls and black girls alike, the unrealistic expectations ultimately causes them to judge themselves, picking out the parts of them they’d rather change than leave the same. In 2015, it was estimated that buttocks augmentations and breast enhancements increased by a whopping 42 percent from 2014, due to the media causing women especially black women to feel dissatisfied with the way their body looked.
I remember in secondary school I was made to feel that I was the skinniest girl in my class, and everyone use to always say that I wasn’t ‘black enough’. Not because of the colour of my skin but the shape and structure of my body. To them my body essentially proved that I wasn’t black and that the colour of my skin was only a pigmentation on my skin. I didn’t have the big bum like Nicki Minaj or Beyoncé, neither did I have the perfect sized breasts as Kim Kardashian or Amber Rose. I didn’t have the aesthetically pleasing big lips like Kylie Jenner and neither did I have the long, luscious curly hair like a top Instagram model. I learnt in life that you can’t make everyone happy, so I reckon if I make myself happy, ignore the unrealistic beauty expectations of the media and just love me for me, I could go to so many places and do so many things.
But in all honesty, to be told that I wasn’t black enough due to the way my body looked made me want to change my body and the way I looked. I started working out excessively, not because I wanted to be healthy but because I wanted to make others happy. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw someone I didn’t want to see. Now, things have changed I no longer look at myself as that girl who isn’t good enough or ‘black enough’ to be beautiful, I see myself as a beautiful and empowered black woman not restricted by the beauty standards of society. I don’t compare myself to what the media labels as beautiful, I am comfortable in my own skin and I recognise beauty all around me, not distinguishing beauty from what society considers beautiful but from the knowledge that everyone is beautiful in their own way.
I’m that black girl who chooses to ignore what she is shown on TV, on billboard advertisements, on social media – mainly Instagram, Twitter and even Snapchat. I’m that black girl who recognises that being black is not proved by the shape of my body or the thickness of my lips, being black is proved by the shade of my skin, the history behind my culture, and the many stories woven in the genetic fragments of my DNA. I choose to accept my flaws, I choose to accept the shape of my body, I choose to accept the numerals that make up my weight, I choose to love the woman I am, not conforming to what society calls beautiful, knowing that I am ‘beautifully and wonderfully made’ a master piece of God’s exquisite creation. So I guess, maybe I’m that black girl.