I just shared this story on Twitter. It’s something I’ve been turning over in the back of my mind for a few days, and I felt like it was important to share.
The reaction from a lot of people has been to reduce this experience to “one bad individual,” and while the person who left those comments was certainly not a nice person, I think reducing instances like this to one-off occurrences (they’re not) is part of how and why they persist.
The belief that black women are inherently unattractive (and even subhuman) is not a unique or uncommon point of view. One only needs to look at how the fashion world treats black women to see that. While what happened to me was an extreme example, it’s also a logical outcome, a part of the continuum of how black women’s beauty is regarded in society at large.
We are on the fringes, the margins. Our features, our bodies, our hair are not only viewed as inadequate but as not even worth addressing in broader conversations on beauty standards (something I’ve discussed in terms of how it relates to my niche - lingerie - here, here, and here).
Like I said, I’m not bothered by those comments. I haven’t internalized them and made them a part of my being. But I do think they illustrate some larger social issues, and they have absolutely coalesced and reinforced my own perspective on the importance of diversity and representation, and how we approach it, on my own blog.