By: Essence Townsel
Dear young black woman,
You are enough.
Wait let me repeat that because I don’t think you fully grasped what I said.
You are enough.
Often times, we as young black girls, are taught from a young age we are only deemed okay and acceptable IF we meet certain qualifications and requirements. “If we aren’t too dark, we mustn’t also be too light so that you’re referred to as white. Just right. Make sure you comb that hair! Not too nappy, but not all straight all the time, just make sure you have good hair. Please please don’t be too skinny. Goodness gracious, have some meat on your bones! But remember, nobody likes a fat girl. Don’t always wear makeup. But make sure you look pretty. Don’t wear too tight clothing. C’mon who’s gonna want to wife a slut…but also make sure you reveal your assets. Please for heaven’s sakes, don’t talk too much. Nobody can stand a know it all black girl who thinks she knows everything and nags. Be an individual but for the life of me, just don’t be too loud or have an attitude.”
I’ve been told things of this nature, some things more explicit. When I was younger I used to hope I looked half as good as Marilyn Monroe. After all that’s what all of people said was beautiful. Because of all these requirements my first thought was to be a curvaceous, white woman. As if my own isn’t good enough.
I had to have that body. I had to meet those requirements. As female period you have all these requirements or rules that you must not only follow when it comes to appearances but also the way you act. It’s even worse for black young women who are sexualized and socialized into images that we shouldn’t be. If you don’t follow these you are ridiculed but not only men but also women of other and the same ethnicities and races.
Being a young 19 year old African American woman, it’s hard growing up in this day and age and having these pressures. The pressure come from peers, school, and especially social media. It sucks. Most people often say there is nothing you can do about it. I disagree. Just because you are aware of how society works doesn’t mean it has to become your reality. After all one creates their own reality stemming from their mindset.
If I listened to every critical and negative thing someone says to me, I would live a very short and miserable life. But I’m here to tell you, FORGET THEM. Life is too short for you to be listening to peasants telling Queens where to put their crowns. My mom always told me people love to talk ill of you when they see you striving and they don’t know how to.
Black women come under such scrutiny because we are the creator of all. We are royalty. We are queens. We are princesses that are becoming queens. We are goddesses. We are life. We exude versatility, confidence, grace, poise, and beauty. Nothing or no one compares. People love to tell us how we should be and how we should look, however I just flip my Marley Twists and laugh. Nothing or no one can validate my worth. And no one should validate yours either. You have so much offer the world and contribute. You’re unstoppable. Like Queen Latifah once said “Every woman is a queen, and we all have different things to offer.”