I remember a time where I used to be embarrassed about the way I looked, more specifically, my dark-mahogany complexion, plump lips and kinky hair. Such is definitely not the case in the present day as I adamantly refuse any physical alterations that make me look like less than what I am; Even down to not contouring my nose.
However, I have very close girlfriends who look very similarly to myself and I notice the ways that they and other black women are subtly apologizing for looking black. This can be in the ways we present ourselves, right down to the things we cosign. I think that we, as a collective should stop doing that.
So what are the ways that I see dark-skinned black women apologizing for how they look?
Well...the most obvious is the rejection and covering of our phenotype. This is something we all know and hear about and to me is much deeper than just wearing blonde or bone straight 28 inch weave. It’s about not wanting to wear reds, or other (tastefully done) color schemes because, it’s not for certain skin tones. It’s about pushing your dark-skinned daughter to pursue academics, keep their heads in the books, and school being their “boyfriends” but enrolling your lighter toned daughter in Ballet, Beauty Pageants etc ( Unless that is truly the preference of said child).
These generational curses perpetuate themselves because for the most part the black community doesn’t like to take accountability for their actions, or lack-there-of; so many dark-skinned girls who bare the brunt of colorism are thrown to the wolves, growing up with low self esteem and poor choices. Don’t get me wrong, there are many darker-skinned black girls, myself included, who were treated like princess. And many lighter toned girls and women who were neglected and abused, have low self-esteem and suffer from colorism as well. The solution isn’t one size fits all and no one hopefully expects it to be.
My favorite way black women can stop apologizing for their complexion is being the best versions of themselves they can be. Many dark-skinned women and girls don’t think they are entitled to the same life-style and beauty promotion as other races of women.Therefore they worry about other people more than themselves. Ladies, being selfish is not a bad thing,I encourage dark toned black women to be selfish, like other women and put themselves, their bodies, image and like-ness first.
I know it sounds totally pollyanna but I truly think that if we collectively become the best versions of ourselves, we will be a much healthier and happier demographic. There also isn’t one type of the best version of ourselves. Being the best you will differ from the next woman and that’s okay. I also am not saying that this is the only way to stop apologizing for how you look, nor is it a complete and total problem solver. However, I think it is a starting point and I think black women need somewhere to start.
Liv is a new blogger for DDS Magazine. She graduated University in 2018, with a degree in History & English Lit and in her free time is an avid creative writer, History & Fashion enthusiast, as well as a cat-mom to three kittens. When she is not creating, she works at a children's non-profit and enjoys spending her weekends doing Pilates, hiking, shopping and indulging in Sci-fi novels.