I remember back in the 1970s when the movie “10″ with Bo Derek first came out. She had her hair braided in cornrows which was the first time I had seen the style on a white women. I didn’t actually see the film, but saw the ads and Bo’s pictures everywhere. I remember that she was celebrated for being a beautiful woman, but when she came out with her black girl cornrows and beads, she became a goddess to untold millions of white men. Back in those days, posters were all the rage, and women like Bo Derek became millionaires just by having creative control over the posters that they did. Bo Derek had that exotic thing going on with her braids and no doubt sold millions of her posters. BTW, it was her husband who encouraged her to get the style he saw on the sisters in LA.
Ironically, during that same time period, I also remember reading in Essence Magazine I think, about black women who started showing up at work in the beautiful cornrow styles. Not surprisingly, the same style that was so beautiful and exotic on Bo Derek, was considered unkempt and unprofessional on black women in corporate America, no matter how conservatively the braids were done. Sisters who were stewardesses, or who had broken in to corporate America were now being harassed or even being fired for daring to show up at work wearing the cornrow hairstyle.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. These days, we see a change in things only in that white women are more aggressive in going for what they desire. And whatever Lola wants, Lola gets, and what she wants is your lips and hips my sisters! And believe me, the more you start rocking out your nappy hair with pride, Lola will show up with afro wigs to copy that too! I’m just sayin’, no disrespect intended. After all, how many white girls are plumping their lips and getting those Brazilian butt lifts? This is not even news anymore. It has become the normal way of things.
But at the same time, many of us are struggling to love our features… still! We still feel certain ways about our full lips, round noses, brown skin and kinky hair. Everywhere we look, there’s hardly an affirmation of our beauty in it’s natural state. We have to first straighten the hair and lighten the skin. Then we can be considered, and we still will lose. It’s a losing game if you look at from the oppressor’s perspective. Even white women are losing most of the time.
When I sits still and meditate on this thing, it’s a trip to me that we black women have to “make peace” with our features, one at a time! At least I did, and it took a couple of decades! It seems like a schizo kind of thing that women in general want each others features!! So strange, but it’s their plan, really, to keep women off balance and mentally enslaved and fighting desperately to attain a false reality of “beauty”. Especially black women.
But I have a question for you. How about what WE think? Do we feel that our features look better on white women? Like Angelina Jolie’s full lips. or Kim Kardashian’s big booty. Or Bo Derek’s braids in long blonde hair, no extensions. Does black women’s features on white women look more beautiful and “exotic”?