Posts tagged ethnicity
Posts tagged ethnicity
I just shared this story on Twitter. It’s something I’ve been turning over in the back of my mind for a few days, and I felt like it was important to share.
The reaction from a lot of people has been to reduce this experience to “one bad individual,” and while the person who left those comments was certainly not a nice person, I think reducing instances like this to one-off occurrences (they’re not) is part of how and why they persist.
The belief that black women are inherently unattractive (and even subhuman) is not a unique or uncommon point of view. One only needs to look at how the fashion world treats black women to see that. While what happened to me was an extreme example, it’s also a logical outcome, a part of the continuum of how black women’s beauty is regarded in society at large.
We are on the fringes, the margins. Our features, our bodies, our hair are not only viewed as inadequate but as not even worth addressing in broader conversations on beauty standards (something I’ve discussed in terms of how it relates to my niche - lingerie - here, here, and here).
Like I said, I’m not bothered by those comments. I haven’t internalized them and made them a part of my being. But I do think they illustrate some larger social issues, and they have absolutely coalesced and reinforced my own perspective on the importance of diversity and representation, and how we approach it, on my own blog.
Yesterday’s blog post was picked up on Jezebel!
You can find it here - http://jezebel.com/5942368/what-its-like-to-be-a-woman-of-color-in-the-lingerie-industry
Thank you to Racialicious for sharing this.
“Though I’ve talked some about equal representation within the lingerie industry, I haven’t written about this exact issue before because talking about race in America is hard. And I think it’s even harder when you’re a racial minority. As a person of color, you often feel like you’re caught in a perpetual Catch-22. You can either avoid talking about your ethnicity (which effectively means pretending like it doesn’t matter) or you can talk about it openly and deal with the blowback, which often includes stinging accusations like “crying racism.”
“The reason I’m bringing this up now is because, over the last year or so, I’ve watched the conversation on diversity shrink from one that was more inclusive of all women to one that only seems relevant to fuller-busted or fuller-figured women. I’ve seen so many articles and comments and blogs focusing on dress size and bra size and cup size, but next to none talking about other, equally important, issues like age, ability or, yes, ethnicity.
“In a way, I understand why. People tend to talk more about issues which personally affect them, and, since the lingerie blogosphere is primarily made up of full bust and plus size bloggers, that viewpoint has become the dominant one. Unfortunately, a consequence of that is issues whicharen’t related to size keep getting pushed further and further down the priority list in the general lingerie conversation.
“But the sad truth is I can go weeks at a time without coming across a nice photo of a woman of color in lingerie. And if we’re talking older women or disabled women, it can be months. The same simply isn’t true for fuller-figured or fuller-busted women.
“We live in a world where children as young as 5 have already internalized the message that black is ugly and white is pretty. We live in a world where fashion magazines regularly lighten the skin of women of color. We live in a world where, when asked why they didn’t use more models of color, brands respond with, “Well, we couldn’t find any good ones.”
“Even worse, we live in a world where women of color are afraid of bringing up these issues lest we be dismissed by the very industry we seek to be a part of.
“In my own life, I’ve been told that I’m “pretty for a dark skinned girl.” I’ve been told that I’m “too dark to date.” I’ve been told that I’d be prettier if only I was “less black.” And though I think we can all agree that there is something seriously wrong with those kinds of statements, that messaging is constantly being reinforced by the industry at large.
“It’s reinforced every time a lingerie company refuses to cast, or even consider, a model of color. It’s reinforced every time a lingerie brand is praised and awarded for their diversity in using fuller-figured women, but gets no comments at all on the fact their models that look the same in every other respect. It’s reinforced every time I get a snippy remark from someone who insists I don’t know what it’s like to be ignored by the lingerie industry because I happen to wear a C cup.
“And I think what bothers me most of all is that I get so many messages from the plus sized and fuller figured blogging community insisting I need to do more for women “who look like them” (which I try to do), yet there’s no such passion about doing more for women like me (or like some of you) . We all crave seeing people resemble us. And it makes me sad that the “us” in this discussion has somehow become so one-sided.”