Posts Tagged ‘skin’
Growing up hearing “gentlemen preferred blondes,” it was easy to believe white girls with blonde hair were more attractive than girls like me, but I came to realize, blondes hadn’t cornered the market on attractiveness, or anything else.Which is why I was fuming recently, when I read an article in a local arts tabloid, in which the author, wrote about her daughter’s African-American hair, because as she wrote, “nobody likes black girls.”
This mother was tying hair to her perception of racial bias against black women. Through my eyes, it seemed the story of a woman passing her hang-ups about race, hair, and attractiveness to her daughter, then blaming others.
We all face prejudices and we all have them. Some exist because of what we have experienced, others are the result of views we haven’t tested. We may not be able to control how others view us, but we can’t blame others if the prejudices that hold us back are our own.
We all have things we’d like to change. Things like skin color, can’t be changed, but at least with hair we have some options. I won’t pretend to understand the hair troubles of black women, but I know how much hair can impact the way we look or feel. Even so, hair can only enhance our attractiveness in a superficial way.
On the heels of that story, came a slew of petty remarks about the hair of Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas–including a tweet from Gabby’s Olympic role model, n Dominique Dawes. In the blogosphere and on social media, her hair had become a topic of discussion. convincing me, there IS a bias surrounding Black women’s hair–at least among other African-American women.
My reaction, was the same as Gabby’s, when she said, “Are you kidding me?“
This charming young woman just awed the world with her gold medal performance, and people picking on her hair???
I shouldn’t be surprised. Though The Olympics were established to promote excellence, friendship and respect, it is a time, when we all enjoy critiquing people, doing things we can’t. It is a time when we are comfortable talking about the athletes of other nations, in a way we would never talk to people from those nations.
(Excuse me while I calculate what I could buy, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a snarky remark about the sturdy women athletes of Eastern Europe.)
It’s probably more nationalism, than racism, but here at home, we were reminded of our own ideas of race, as the media focused on Gabby being the first African-American to bring home the All-Around Gold in her sport. She won a place in national and international history, but the focus at home was on her place in African-American history. This puzzles me. It isn’t as if we haven’t seen history-making athletic excellence from African-Americans before. It seemed like a bigger deal to the media than it did to her. When she was asked how it felt, she responded, “Oh yeah, I forgot about that.”
Is there something about her being African-American that made her win more remarkable or less likely? Is it more amazing for Gabby Douglas to raise the standard of athletic excellence, than it is when Michael Phelps does?
YES and NO.
Yes, we should be surprised. Gabby was never expected to outperform her teammates. Coach Bela Karolyi called her a “good average gymnast”. (Obviously that phrase means something different to him, than to the rest of us.) But more than that, she had the kinds of disadvantages, that make it difficult to dream as big as she did. She was an African-American female, being raised by a single mother of four, struggling to make ends meet, while living on disability. Her father was not a doctor or lawyer, in fact, he was away on military deployment. She wasn’t a child of privilege, but she believed she could rise above her circumstances.
When she moved to Iowa, to train, she was plunged into a predominantly white community, where folks preferred Country music, and didn’t understand the rap music she’d enjoyed. She had left her family and everything comfortingly familiar, because she was ready to make the sacrifices necessary to become a champion. If others harbored prejudice toward her for being black, her friendly smile, buoyant spirit, and relentless determination would soon win them over. Because of this, she came out of nowhere to surprise everyone without Affirmative Action.
So should we be surprised? Absolutely not. She is an amazing young American with the kind of drive and attitude it takes to be great. She is a girl who dared to dream, then busted her butt to see if she had the stuff to make her dream come true. My guess is that she cares about her hair as much as any other girl her age, but the vision in her head, was important than what was on it.
Undoubtedly, she will inspire other African-American girls, in the same way Dominique Dawes once inspired her. She will also inspire other athletes and other Olympic hopefuls at home and abroad, but equally important is what her success can teach the rest of us. She has shown what can happen when we rise above the prejudices of others, or our own self-doubts. More importantly Gabby Douglas reminds us we are more than our skin or hair. How attractive we are or what we can become isn’t about how we look or how others see us, it’s about what we have inside.
Deb’s Note: My goal in writing it was to emphasize that we cannot be beautiful without self-acceptance. In this age of race-baiting, many are sensitive to any discussion of race. If anything in this article is misconstrued as being racist, this was not my intent. Racism is abhorrent, and its practice hurts us all.
I have just returned from Stagecoach at Coachella, a two-day country music festival presented in the dusty desert near Palm Springs. The things seen & heard would be enough to provide material for a few blog posts, but two things stand out in my head. Today I’ll share first.
The Coachella festivals are about sun, fun & music; but the scene is also about seeing and being seen. Many women are hoping to catch mens’ eyes, but the competition is stiff. I’m unusual, in that it doesn’t bother me in the least if Beloved Soul Mate is looking at other women. (In my book, his sexuality would be suspect if he didn’t.) Fortunately, he’s an equally good sport, when I occasionally admire the bodies of well-built men. (I say occasionally, because there are far too few well-built men for this girl with a weakness for a manly chests, shoulders and arms.) Arriving at Coachella, it was quickly apparent, we’d both get our fill.
So while, I was admiring a few chiseled pec-decks, he was pretending not to see the thousands of girls who were sashaying around the campground in cut-offs and bikini tops or undersized swimsuits. I considered adopting the mode du jour, of topping a pair of Daisy Dukes with a teensy set of “Dixie” cups, afterall, if Beloved Soul Mate is going to be looking at all the sexy women, there isn’t any reason I can’t be one of them, but going out mostly undressed isn’t me. No matter, even with me dressed there was no shortage of near-nakedness. Every red-blooded male, Beloved Soul Mate, and I were all checking out the girl bods on display. Everywhere one looked, there there were small tops and small bottoms, some of which barely covered large tops and large bottoms. Girls of every size, shape and shade of tan were on display. A percentage of those girls looked amazing, but the greater percentage looked desperate.
Maybe I’ve turned into my mother, because I found myself feeling sorry for some of the young girls hoping their bodies would attract a man. I felt sorry for the ones who would wake up after the weekend feeling used, because they’ve yet to realize the fleeting attraction of flesh, sorry for girls who don’t yet have the confidence to trust the other stuff they have to offer, and sorry for the ones who don’t realize they are encouraging men to take advantage of them. It made me thankful for my age.
It doesn’t seem long ago, that I was one of the younger gals in any group, but time passes much faster than an inexperienced girl can imagine. Fortunately, with time we learn a few things–including what makes for lasting attractiveness. Though it’s isn’t likely I’ll be mistaken for a 20-something, I love and admire the face I see in the mirror. If I don’t look too closely, or too early in the morning, I can convince myself I’m beautiful. More than that, the woman in the mirror, knows stuff. Her face is full of joy, strength and the wisdom of lessons-learned. The innocence of the face that used-to-be, has been replaced by one that is the product of life-experiences–a substance sort of like cosmetic fillers for the psyche. My vintage face is not nearly as perfect, as the face I wore at 25, but it isn’t a bad substitute for the one that preceded it. Truth be known, I like this one better.
The attractive young girls, compare themselves to older women and can’t imagine ever being one. They look at the aging bodies of their mothers and are justifiably smug about their bodies and fresh faces. Why not? To young women, external appearance is beauty. What they don’t know is while they are feeling smug about their attractiveness, I am feeling equally smug.
If any one of those young gals woke up tomorrow with grey roots or crow’s feet, she’d be lost, devastated. She wouldn’t know who she was. She might readily trade her soul for the perky breasts or pouty lips she once took for granted. Those young girls might be beautiful, but they know little of the kind of beauty that lasts.
Last weekend, as I was out & about, I was surprised to see them everywhere. Dropping out of nowhere, they were in stores, at restaurants and even sporting events. Just in time to ruin spring, comes the leg-shrouding long-dress. In my own locale, winter has been too wet and too long to suit me. Like most of the men I know, I have been anxiously waiting for shorts-weather. The wonderful season of close shaves and suntan oil, but alas, it would seem legs are going back into hiding.
You may or may not be aware of “The Skirt Length Theory”, in which there is a supposed correlation between hem lengths and economic trends. Recalling its premise, I’m trying to remember the economic conditions during the period in which I last wore a long dress to something other than a wedding. According to the theory, when times are good, women get into supply & demand economics, with an eagerness to show their goods. Conversely, when the economy is shaky, apparently women hoard cloth by wearing skirts long enough to provide a make-shift shelter in the event of a worst-case scenario. (A Yurt Skirt?)
Utilizing my understanding of economics and my observations of male/female relationships, I have extrapolated my own conclusion on “skirt theory”. Keynes, Bernanke, Buffett and Friedman would certainly agree with me on this. The more economic security a man presents, the more likely it is he will get more than a glimpse of ankle.
“The Skirt Length Theory” has mostly been debunked, probably because the affluence of the developed world has provided women more options for wearing whatever skirt length they preferred, but I suspect as the dreadful maxi-length dresses return, this theory will be given another 15 minutes of fame for re-examination.
The very bad news for those who have been watching IRA’s & stock portfolios shrink, is the much-needed distraction of summer gam-glam will be in decline too. As the graph lines on the Dow, The GNP and the probability of Congress solving our deficit woes go plummeting toward the earth, get your last glimpse of calf curves.
Hold on, it’s going to be a long summer.
Best thing about being having a blog is being able to say whatever I think, but almost every day someone tells me they don’t agree with me. Hello? Was I supposed to be writing your opinion today? Perhaps, I missed the memo.
I catch a lot of flak. My political friends are offended. My religious friends are offended. My opinionated friends are offended. At this rate, I’ll be down to a handful of friends in no time, and whoever is left will probably be too boring to hang with, because they’ll have no opinions of their own.
So with that in mind, I say once again . . it’s a BLOG, not a CULT, I’m not trying to convert anyone. Today’s opinion will blow my shot at Miss Congeniality, but I was never a serious contender anyway.
Most of the time, I dress according to my own personality, but every now & again I jump on a trend like everyone else. Most of them, are regrettable eventually. Spiral perms, baggy pants, dresses with hoods, and Earth shoes come to mind.
My teen son likes trendy clothes. Most of the time he looks great–sometimes he looks ridiculous. When he’s around his peers, he’s mostly allowed to wear what his peers are wearing. Around my peers, he is reminded who pays for his clothing. I could overreact, but I figure seeing the pictures a decade from now, will be punishment enough for having worn saggin’ pants. It’s only clothing–clothing comes and goes.
Long hair, dreadlocks, guy-liner, piercing–are all thing to which other mothers might object. If my son suddenly took a liking to wearing lipstick & nail polish, I wouldn’t like it, but I wouldn’t overreact. I’m confident he’d outgrow it–just like a favorite nephew who took to wearing a skirt several years ago. Despite the horror it caused those around him, he turned out okay. Near as I can tell, he got skirt-wearing out of his system.
On this, I’m pretty libertarian–except in regards to a few things.
I love ink. I really do. For a period of time I made my living with ink, beautiful richly pigmented inks. Precise, crisp and permanent, I loved everything about it–but I didn’t like getting it on my clothes, because it doesn‘t come out. Nor did I like having it on my skin, because it’s hard to get off.
Some people love ink on their skin. Tattoos have become very trendy and that popularity seems to be growing. I’d like to hope it’s just a trend, but it may be here to stay. Whether or not this trend stays, the ink will.
Which makes me ask “WHY?”
Why would anyone choose a trend over a classic never-fail look?
Hems go up and down. Ties, collars and pant legs widen and narrow. Hairstyles change. Only one thing is constant–skin. Beautiful, smooth, unadorned skin is attractive in every season. On the face, the arms, the legs, the chest, the shoulders–it’s irresistible. From Milan to Paris, from the equator to the auto showroom, skin always works. Since Adam and Eve, skin has yet to become passé.
It comes in many colors and it can be paired with anything. It’s truly versatile. Whether you show a lot or a little, it’s always provocative and interesting. Since the beginning of time artists of every medium have found it a source of endless inspiration.
That’s why I can’t understand why anyone would want to alter theirs with ink. To me it’s rather like tagging The Grand Canyon or adding some kicky murals to The White House. I know many don’t share my sentiments, for which I’m sorry. I am especially sorry, when I see a beautiful girl all inked up.
I was at the gas station and a girl with drop-dead-gorgeous everything was next to me. Her arm was inked, her back was inked, her neck was inked. It seemed like a damned shame to me. Under all that ink, was nice skin.
There will come a day when she won’t be as fresh and lovely as she is today, but she’ll still have the ink. When she’s in a rest home, she’ll be in good company with all the other painted ladies, trying to remember what their tattoos were.
Not me. I’ll be the one in the walker still showing some skin.