Unlike the media of just 10 years ago, little black girls now have so many more variatons of beautiful to choose from. The slender, long haired, light skin, flat bodied woman of the music video era has now met her match. Leading women on tv are now thicker, curvier, darker, natural haired and abstract faced. Lisa Raye to Issa Rae, Karrine Stephans to Dascha Polanco, the images of beauty are changing.
Yet, in all the progression of the new women’s beauty empowerment movement, there are still days where my insecurities rise up like I’m back in middle school. The kids are checking the tags on my coogi sweaters to see if it’s real, girls are suggesting hairstyles they would prefer to see me in, and people are telling me all the ways I’d be cuter if…
He says: Let me see you without your glasses?
I say: But I can’t see you without my glasses.
He says: I’m just tryna see sum’n
I: *takes of my glasses* …. *squints*…..
He: *Takes them out of my hand*
Me: Can I have them back now?
Him: You’re cuter without your glasses!
Far fetched? Not at all. This conversation is a repetitive occurrence. What’s supposed to be a compliment is quite the opposite. What you want me to hear is You’re cute. What I hear is You’re cute but this is what I think should change about you.
I dare to say we’ve all done it. Seen someone who was just at the pique of complete attractiveness but lacked the thing we believe would enhance them. No? Have you ever done these:
Woah, I like that hair style. You should always wear your hair like that.
You look so much better in color. All that black is depressing.
Keep you face shaven. It looks good on you.
That looks so much better on you.
May seem harmless but all you’re doing is telling that person that you’ve secretly been hoping for something else for them. Something better. Something you’ve deemed better.
Maybe you’re right though. Maybe the person looks amazing without glasses or the shaven face slims their features. However, what you’ve deemed attractive doesn’t equate to what makes that person comfortable. By giving them the answer to something they didn’t see as a problem, you’ve possibly created an insecurity they didn’t have.
Personally, being told that I’d be cuter without glasses annoys me. Why? Cause I don’t. 2. Cause I can’t. 3. It benefits me none.
When you love someone, (love, as in has an actual relationship with them so you are welcome to make useful comments) giving them compliments about an area they’ve improved in will probably be welcome. A useful tip:
Always Compliment. Rarely Critique.
Getting to the place I’m at now, where I’m confident and bold and happy with myself, took work! For years, I was subjected to the constant priming and pruning of person’s who thought they knew what would make me happy. Sometimes they were right. Like when my cousin Connie told me I had a pretty smile so I stopped hiding my awful teeth. Or the day I realized that at size 0 or size 20, I was still all that.
To this day, I look at pictures of me and go “DANG Girl, You cute.” My friends can attest to that. I do it to remind myself to love myself.
Sure, I’d be cuter in a million different ways to a million different people.
But what’s cute when you’re flooding with beautiful!
Seriously, how cute am I!