On Not Being Conventionally ‘Ideal’

(Don’t ask me where this came from, because I got to thinking about the content in the first part of this post and this is what all that thinking alone and philosophizing led to, so here — knock yourselves out.)

Black women do everything in their power and spend tons of money to resemble the ideal: white women.

Having our noses modified to look straighter and narrower instead of wide and bulbous. Bleaching our skin to reach the ideal shade of our light-skinned counterparts. Putting chemical relaxers in our hair to make it ideally straight and spending a lot of our hard-earned cash on weaves, wigs, and other accessories to look appealing. Not just to black men, but anyone who notices.

Why are white women tanning themselves darker, thickening their hair, plumping their lips and asses, if it’s not to look like black women? They are the ideal, so why are they erasing it?

Growing up and wanting to be an actress, I wanted to be that ideal. I felt it was the only way I could be accepted and taken seriously as an actor. No one told me I didn’t need that, and thankfully, I haven’t resorted to changing myself in order to obtain that “ideal”. As I got older, I realized there’s advantages to not being “conventionally attractive”: some people can’t see a “conventionally unattractive” person doing something a “conventionally attractive” person could do, like modeling or acting or anything that involves being in front of a camera or audience.

But it’s nice to surprise these same people later on with your talents. They still may not take you seriously, but there’s always that one person who’s genuinely paying close attention, without cruel intentions.

There may not be someone who looks like me who entertains millions in front of a camera or on stage for a long time, but I’m confident that will change eventually. I may never end up acting as a lead (or at least a supporting) character in a major motion picture because they’re just not looking for someone of my type, but you never know; it’s all a thing of getting the movie funded, and the studios think they know what the general public want. I may even end up alone for the rest of my life, but that’s not gonna convince me to become someone I’m not or to do something I’m not comfortable doing, nor will it stop me from living life and enjoying the ride.

Life’s too short to live like a robot. I may not be the ideal in Hollywood’s eyes, but I’m alive and breathing because, according to my maker (and not to get all religulous on ya), I have a purpose to serve out during my time on this earth. I’d much rather remind myself and others of how lucky we are to even exists than to prove ourselves to someone who probably didn’t give a shit to begin with.

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9 thoughts on “On Not Being Conventionally ‘Ideal’

  1. Nice piece. I’m a white woman who grew up wanting to look like my best friend’s mom, who was the most beautiful woman I knew. She was from India and had huge eyes outlined in kohl and long sleek black hair… sigh.

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  2. As a white woman with black blood I personally think there is nothing more beautiful than a natural black woman. They have so many more beauty advantages than white woman. For example, maori woman and African Women don’t need to shave their legs hardly ever if at all and they suit any colour on the planet. When I see a black woman who has her natural hair and an array of colours on her body I always think ‘God I wish I was like her’ Black women can carry weight better than white women, they hold themselves better and don’t perspire the way white women do. Black women were the first women on our planet. I call Black woman The Goddesses of Our Origin and when I see photos of my Black Mum, and brown skinned sisters and cousins and Aunties I think ‘God I wish I was like that’ lol I am biologically related to my siblings ad parents, but i was made up of the Celtic Genes of my parents Grandparents. So I’m the white sheep of the family lol My nickname is Casper lol But there is nothing more beautuful than a strong black woman who embrasses her roots and doesn’t try to hide them with wigs and weaves and skin lightener products. Beyonce comes to mind when I think of this example.

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  3. I can’t really comment being a very white woman in an industry and country. Your post really made me think of Mindy Kaling and even though she is Indian rather than African American (and possibly more underrepresented?) her success is kind of inspiring. Anyway, good luck, great post

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  4. I really enjoyed this. Being black and white (and having a little bit of both), I’ve always felt stuck in the middle. I’ve never wanted to do any of the things that would require me to look a certain way, but I’ve had those wishes that I’d either be a bit darker naturally or that my hair would be straight (not anymore, though). I’m glad that the side of society that is not Hollywood or the fashion industry, etc. is starting to understand that there shouldn’t be one “ideal” beauty standard. That we are all beautiful in different ways. Thank you for writing this.

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  5. I am white and I am happy the way I am. No fake hair, botox, fake boobs, fake nails or fake eyelashes. I dont go to tanning salons or sit outside for hrs trying to get darker. I dont think that black woman wanna look like white women or white women wanna look like black women. I think its more like these women see imperfections in themselves and they do what they need to, to have their idea of ” the perfect look”.

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