Monday, September 29, 2008

My Own Worst Enemy?

-----Original Message-----
From: xxxxxxxxxx
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Mon, 22 Sep 2008 11:52 am
Subject: advice

so, i've had my long hair for a few months now. . .my mom loves it, my
cousin & her daughter love it - these are people I trust to tell me, "yeah
that's cute or girl it's time to let that go". . . so it took me by
surprise this morning when a co-worker friend told me, out of the blue,
"you know, I think you should get a short curly bob, that would look cute
on you". . .so are you telling me I don't look cute now?? . . .and why say
this now and not when I first got my hair back in July?? I told her I like
long hair. I mean, you have seen me, what do i need with a curly bob -
i'll look like a freakin' clown!! Now, she started wearing a new wig to
work last week, cute little bob w/layers in the back. I even told her it
looked cute b/c it does.

Why do "we" have such a hard time complementing each other?? She's cool
and all but I'm leery of people who give you those backhanded compliments.
ok, thanks for letting me vent. :-) do you think i'm overreacting or have
you come across people like this??

-- CJ

I received the email above from one of my best girl friends and it got me thinking about the question she raised; why do "we" have such a hard time complementing each other? Why do "we" often tear each other down? Why are "we" often our own worst enemy?

By "we" I mean black women, women of colour, however you define yourself, but for the purposes of not wanting to write all of that every time, I will generically use the term black. (Feel free to take umbrage with that, note however that I will feel free not to care).

This will probably get me in a lot of trouble with many people (like I care) but I really have to wonder if the "plight" of the black woman is more our own doing than the fault of how others outside of the race/culture treat us. Everyone always wants to blame "the man" for how we are portrayed in the media, treated in relationships, and looked upon in society, but a lot of the blame needs to be laid at our own doorsteps because we are often the number one offenders.

How many times do you see a scenario such as this:

1. Group of ladies...wait.. scratch that.. a group of females (because ladies should/would not behave so poorly) are out at the club, decent guy tries to chat them up and they brush him off and generally disavow his existence. He moves along then goes over to someone else who does pay him attention and they start chatting it up and so on. Upon seeing this the females then proceed to talk all kinds of trash about her. Something along the lines of:

  • girl look at her, she think she cute with her little (insert trendy designer here) outfit on...
  • that's probably a weave or a wig or something she got on (don't bust on weaves and wigs people... seriously... now if it's a busted then go right ahead, but if it is tight and looking right well then put the hater aide down and STFU)...
  • just cause she is caramel/chocolate/redbone/high yellow/short/tall/slim/curvy etc. she think everybody wants to talk to her

This is such a typical occurrence that it has basically become normative. Why is there such competition going on? What are we competing for? Seriously?

The whole concept of blaming "the man (black and white)" is pretty much ridiculous to me because really, who do you think they are learning that it is ok to treat black women that way from? Why should they treat us any particular way when they see us putting each other down and treating each other so badly?

Why should men not call us bitches and hoes when we call each other that ALL THE TIME!!!

Why should men respect us when we do not even respect ourselves?

Seriously females piss me off with that nonsense. Always the first to fuss and kick about how males in society treat them but not once does it occur to them that the males are sometimes only mimicking their own behaviour.

If women want things to change, if WE want things to change, then we need to do like Michael said and start with the [wo]man in the mirror. Stop looking to others to change their ways first and lead by example.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, I like your friend's hair (I'm another co-worker). I just wanted to tell you that white girls are awful to each other, too. I have a friend who is always pointing out what she doesn't like about herself (she'll poke her stomach out like a Buddha and say how fat she is). I told her that I try to never point out what I consider to be a flaw because maybe someone else hasn't noticed it. Once you mention it, though, they won't forget it. We also diss on the girl with the latest clothes, hair, significant other, etc. My 15-year-old niece is already using the b-word to describe girls she doesn't like. So, unfortunately, I think it is women in general who are our worst enemies. And, the men in our lives will only live up to the expectations we set for ourselves.