I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time, but it’s so heavy, I needed some time to really put my thoughts together before doing it. Femininity and the (modern) Black Woman seem to be coming closer together as the days go by - in the minds of other people, I mean.
But have we actually become girls to them?
Because being a girl, what’s that mean? It means makeup and accessories, yes. It means manicures and pedicures, yes. It means breasts and shape and hips and ass, yes.
But it also means delicate. Carefree. In need of protection. It means consideration. It means a second thought. It means, in the wake of violence, being treated with kindness and care.
"But people do this!" You say.
"Do they?" I reply.
Because I’ll bet you they don’t do it at all.
See, learning someone has had violence happen to them is one thing. But let’s examine it deeper.
Imagine a Black woman saying this: “I was attacked and I have PTSD because of it. I can’t work due to it. I don’t even try to look for work anymore because it doesn’t work out.”
Can you imagine it? What would you think? What would you say to her? Would you ask her about what happened? Would you believe her?
Imagine this girl saying it:
Of course I simply used a photo of a girl who is well known online, not making any judgments or assumptions about her or her history.
When I said, “Imagine a Black woman,” did you imagine a fat, dark skinned girl? Or did you imagine a tall, thin, light complected, long curly hair, having girl? I bet it was the latter. Anyway. I digress. Onward, shall we?
But what do you think of fat, dark skin toned, usually “funny” black girls? Would you feel like protecting this girl above? Would you feel like she really, truly, could not handle going to work every day due to PTSD or mental health issues?
I really honestly think not. We’re hardwired, it seems, to believe that bigger, darker, louder girls can handle anything. Are superhuman. Are strong. Are not girly or “weak” or in need of protection from anything.
I think, people are more likely to think we’re lying. Overdramatic. Histrionic, even, when we say we’re afraid or anxious or deal with anxiety, panic attacks… flashbacks aren’t even in our stratosphere. I’ve said it before, we don’t get, “How can I help?” We get, “Walk it off.”
We get, “But I know him! He’s a better person now.”
We get, “But that was 10 years ago.”
We get, “You have no idea what they went through at that time in their life.”
We get, “You just keep being strong, girl. You’ll get through it.”
We get, “Oh, I know what happened. You got through it.”
We get, “Really? I can’t imagine that happening to you.”
We get, “But what did you do first?”
We get, “I heard what you did though. That wasn’t nice, either, you know.”
We get, “You’re just lazy,” “You just don’t want to work,” “You just want someone to save you.”
We get it any way except, “This is valid. You are valid. Your concern is valid.”
We get, “God you’re so strong. I couldn’t do that. If I was you, I wouldn’t even be able to work. You’re so strong.”
But when we can’t work, we get, “Welfare queen.”
But I am a girl too - even though you’ve been conditioned to not be able to see my emotions because of my dark skin tone. I am in need too. I have breakdowns, too. I get anxious, emotional, wild, out of control, crazy too. I don’t know how I’m going to make it sometimes, too.
The difference between the fat, dark, Black girl and you though? Is we get to work 3 jobs. We get to have our health compromised. We get to cry alone in our homes.
You get sympathy.
We get to save ourselves.
You get, “Poor thing!”
We get, “Why are you so ANGRY?!”
You get help.
We get bootstraps like no other.
You get hugs and held hands.
We get to have it be Just Another Day.