There are a lot of misconceptions about black women and some of them are myths that even black women themselves have bought into. Thankfully, Divine Dark Skin magazine is here to put an end to the rumors and set the record straight. Here are eight untrue myths about black women that need to be squelched:
1. Black Women Are Angry
Black women are simply reacting to a world that aims to silence and shame us. Malcolm X once said, “the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman”. This neglect rings true when you consider the fact that any opinionated, strong-willed Black woman is penalized by society and deemed “angry” or “aggressive”. The “angry black woman” stereotype is society’s way of undermining our opinions and silencing us. Thankfully, black women are now able to expect and demand more from society, as well as to create platforms that allow us to make our voices heard. Don’t be afraid to speak up about the unique experience of being a black woman and the systems of oppression that work against you.
2. Black Women Aren’t As Beautiful As Women of Other Races
In an article called “Why Are African American Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?”, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa tried to prove how black women are “objectively and subjectively” less attractive than white, Asian and Native American women. Unfortunately, Kanazawa’s sentiments are widespread and popular—we hear anti-black women sentiments expressed regularly in rap music, movies and pop culture. The truth is that here are exceptionally beautiful women of all races. Society just doesn’t put the effort into finding and promoting beautiful racially unambiguous black women. And even the most beautiful black woman will never rank highly when compared in a society that is highly biased towards Western, Eurocentric beauty ideals.
3. Black Women (Should) Have Curvy Shapes
The message is straightforward: to be an attractive black woman, your body should have a certain shape. People rarely discuss the pressure that women of color feel to live up to the ideal beauty standards. But as black market plastic surgery is on the rise among black women, it’s essential that we begin to have discussions about unfair beauty standards in the black community.
4. All Black Women Are Strong
Black women are not a monolith and the “strong black woman” narrative doesn’t incorporate all that it means to be a black woman. In the past we’ve been strong because we had to be, not because we had a choice. Nobody wants to have to be strong all the time—and black women shouldn’t be expected to constantly endure large magnitudes of pain and hurt. We are not martyrs, we are women—and just like any other race of women we want a chance to be beautiful, feminine, gentle, sensitive and vulnerable.
5. Black Don’t Crack!
Black don’t crack…as long as it’s moisturized daily and properly coated with sunscreen.
Many black women believe that they don’t need to moisturize or wear sunscreen on a regular basis, but that’s simply untrue. While skin cancer rates are lower in darker skinned people than in lighter skin types, when skin cancer does occur in black people it tends to be much more devastating. This is because it tends to be diagnosed at a later stage.
6. Dark-Skinned Black Women Shouldn’t Wear Bright Colors
Brace yourself. There are a misguided bunch of people who go around telling dark-skinned black women not to wear neon hues, bright colors or red lipstick. According to these color struck folks, wearing pastel colors or red lipstick only draws attention to our darker skin. Instead of telling you why that system of thought is ignorant and misguided, I’ll draw your attention to some pictures that prove otherwise.
7. Natural Hair Is Unprofessional, Hard to Manage and/or Ugly
Natural hair will be difficult to maintain if you expect it to behave like relaxed hair. When you treat your natural hair with love and respect every curl, wave, spiral, coil and zig-zag that grows from your head, you will find it is easy to love and manage. Black hair grows up and out toward the sun, rather than downward and there are dozens of protective styles you can rock, from box braids to Senegalese twists to afro-textured wigs. Our gravity-defying locs perfectly complement any outfit, and contrary to popular belief—natural hair is professional and it doesn’t have to be overly difficult to manage. Love your natural locs and never be afraid to show it off.
8. Black Women Can’t Grow Long Hair
Black hair does not grow more slowly than the hair of other races. All hair grows at approximately ½ an inch per month. The natural curly pattern of black hair can make it seem to grow more slowly, but there is no current scientific data that backs up the idea that natural hair can only grow to a certain length. According to Harbinger, “the tighter the curl, the less visible length can be seen”. Shrinkage is real, folks. This means that the focus for women with coiler textured hair shouldn’t be on how long our hair is, but on the health and strength of our locs.
"Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law."