Sunday, February 13, 2011

Is Trying to be Elegant Also Trying to be White?

Searching for websites about elegance, manners, and being a lady brought up some conflicting thoughts. For one, none of the websites I found were owned by Black women (maybe I just have to search better though). Furthermore, 95% of the elegant women posted on the blogs were White besides Michelle Obama! I tried to think of some elegant Black women and it was hard because I've never done that before, but I would put Michelle Obama, Iman, Zoe Saldana, Thandie Newton, Angela Bassett, Nia Long, and Saana Lathan on my list. The websites I visited tended to have black and white photos of actresses who died long ago like Audrey Hepburn (I have never even seen one of her movies), Grace Kelly, Eva Gabor and others that you can see in this article where there isn't a single Black actress.

Just look at this photo! When I look at it (just the photo not the real actress who I heard was very nice) I think snobby, upper-class woman, born into wealth, who never had to do anything for herself, who would never give a Black person the time of day unless they were serving her. Many of the photos on the websites had women dressed in 1920s, 30s, and 40s clothing or even Renaissance style paintings with no dark faces in sight. So if I go on this endeavor of becoming an Elegant Black Woman (EBW), then doesn't that mean I'm trying to be a White woman?

I took some time to think about it. I think that what would help me more is if I put up photos of elegant Black women so that I can remind myself and others that having manners, poise, grace, and elegance does not have to be linked to race. I will not entertain the notion that Black women must act badly in order to avoid being called White. Why would anyone choose and defend being rude, uncultured, obnoxious, loud, and un-feminine? I certainly will not. I think that women have these traits to varying degrees.

One positive thing that came out of reading websites made by White, Asian, and Indian women was that supressing our femininity and being lax with manners is not simply a "Black thing". Its something women of other ethnicities and countries are also concerned about! So, women losing their ladylike mannerisms is a problem for MANY women in industrialized countries where Feminism has been accepted and women work.

No comments:

Post a Comment