This is Me

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

If I'm Not Beautiful, Why Do You Want to Look Like Me?

I am so frustrated that America doesn't get it.

People walk around with blinders on and don't make (or don't want to make) the seemingly obvious connections.

Connection: My lips and the pouty/full lip phenomenon that has gained momentum ever since Angelina Jolie hit the Hollywood market.

I remember one day in high school, after putting on lipstick, a boy told me "You've got big lips." Trust - it wasn't a compliment. But I said "thank you" anyway because bigger lips are a feature of my people. *raising my fist in the air*

There are a whole slew of products on the market to make your lips look bigger, from cheap lip gloss to give the *impression* that your lips are pouty, to collagen injections. Some people have even resorted to drawing a new lip line above the actual lines of their lips, as if we don't see it when we look at you.

Connection: my backside and the jeans you wear to make yours look bigger.

There was a slave by the name of Saartjie Baartman (aka the Hottentot Venus) whose backside was so big, she was put on display NAKED on France's streets so they could make fun of her as they passed.

Yeah. That actually happened. (,

When I was growing up, bigger backsides were seen as fat, causing doctors to label those who have different measurements than your average skinny white chick as "obese."

But when Jenny from the Block, blew up (after she went blond and toned down her Latina look), big bootys were in.

Connection: my skin tone and the one you sit in the sun/tanning bed all day to attain.

During slavery, rich whites realized that when they stood out in the sun too long their skin darkened. Looking like slaves was something that was unacceptable, so they started putting white powder on their skin to keep them looking "white."

Now, being pasty is unattractive. There are whites out there (those who tan on purpose and those who just love the beach) who end up being darker than some light-to medium complexioned Blacks.

But yet my skin color is ugly.... to you....

African-Americans have specific features that for generations were the subject of ridicule.

Big lips. Big butts. Dark skin.

But when those who "look" like the majority of America (read: white) make it into the mainstream with features associated with African-Americans, suddenly these features are okay.

"Angelina is so sexy! Who could resist those lips?!"

"I'm glad J.Lo finally came out and embraced her booty. Now that she has come out designers have decided to make clothes for those with bigger backsides! She looks sexy in those jeans!"

Black people, and females in general, have had fuller lips and butts since the beginning, yet society doesn't want to recognize us as beautiful.

True, Halle Berry and Vanessa Williams consider themselves to be "women of color" and are embraced by society as beautiful, but they're still of mixed-race, light-skinned, and thin.

Gabrielle Union, a brown-skinned sista, is JUST NOW beginning to be recognized, and although she's cool, her lips and figure are smaller than the average Sista Big-Boned girls you see at church or in your family.

Those women who spend their Saturday afternoons receiving collagen injections in both their lips and butts, AFTER they came from the tanning salon, still look down on me as if I'm not beautiful because I'm Black. But yet, you try to make yourself have the features I have, and spend a lot of money doing so.

Big lips. Big butts. Dark skin.

If I'm not beautiful, why do you want to look like me?


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