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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cute to be so black...

Growing up I would occasionally hear that I was "cute to be so black". I wasn't cute, but considering how dark I was, I was an OK looking little girl. Though this was always intended to be complimentary, even as a little girl I understood that embedded in this statement was an insult of sorts. Over the years, this statement combined with many others resulted in serious struggles with self esteem. "Cute to be so black" means that the darkness of my skin should automatically cast me into the ugly category, but somehow I manage to overcome my blackness to emerge with some degree of cute.
What and who defines beauty? Too many people, especially women, struggle with their identify and self esteem because what is seen in the mirror does not fit what society says is attractive. And why do we give so much power to other people, allowing the masses to decide if our clothes, hair, shoes, dress size, etc. merit ranking on the beauty scale? For all of us who have suffered back-handed compliments or merely struggle to fit into a cookie cutter standard of beauty, let's make a pact to shed other people's negative assessments and instead embrace self-love. No matter how tall, short, fat, skinny, light, dark or whatever we are, we will commit to providing ourselves with positive affirmation.

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