We all run from the ugly. And the farther we run from it, the more we stigmatize it and the more power we give beauty. Our communities are obsessed with being beautiful and gorgeous and hot. What would it mean if we were ugly? What would it mean if we didn’t run from our own ugliness or each other’s? How do we take the sting out of “ugly?” What would it mean to acknowledge our ugliness for all it has given us, how it has shaped our brilliance and taught us about how we never want to make anyone else feel? What would it take for us to be able to risk being ugly, in whatever that means for us. What would happen if we stopped apologizing for our ugly, stopped being ashamed of it? What if we let go of being beautiful, stopped chasing “pretty,” stopped sucking in and shrinking and spending enormous amounts of money and time on things that don’t make us magnificent?”
–Mia Mingus, Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability
(via Learning everyday…)
She removes her wig, her eyelashes, her makeup, never breaking eye contact with the reflection of her natural self. It’s an intimate, powerful moment television doesn’t often show: A black woman removing all the elements white supremacy tells her she has to wear to be beautiful, successful, powerful. And let’s not forget that that wasn’t just Annalise taking it off: It was Davis, too—Davis, who remains brave in a world where a New York Times critic can get away with calling her ‘less classically beautiful.
—Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
Actually, it was Davis’s idea, according to a tweet I saw being shared around Tumblr.
The question becomes, Whose femininity do we seek to question and most obsessively seek to uncover its “dirty secrets”? Are other women’s beauty so readily dissected and probed in private boundaries made public? Whose beauty is a deceit, needing to be uncovered, and whose is seen as simply an extension of an inherently beautiful and awe inspiring womanhood? And finally, what does it say about the way we view not only Black women, both cis and trans, but women across the board? What does it say about how mistrustful we are of our own femininity and unsure of our own standing in the context of a patriarchal gaze. When womanhood is so readily deconstructed by the very purveyors of its infinite power and mystery, what hope is there for a feminist revolution?
In a society in which womanhood, blackness, and trans womanhood are all pathologized we would do well to collectively challenge hierarchies. What would it look like if we as women collectively pooled our best cards and challenged patriarchy for the grand kitty? How do we expand the definition of womanhood to serve our lives and not the whims of a world that sees us as inherently less than human cut out dolls? Perhaps we can take the bra off womanhood so she breathes a little easier, knock out the wall, and make the powder room a little roomier. Its 2014 and we all need space to fix our makeup and fluff our Lena Horne inspired curls, to take over the World.
–Shaadi Devereaux, Rollersets & Realness: Black Womanhood Defined as Drag Performance
(via knowledge equals black power)
Falling in love is dangerous for brown boys because under white supremacy we are not people to love. Falling in love is dangerous for brown boys because people don’t fall in love with brown boys. Falling in love is dangerous for brown boys until we can learn to love ourselves. How do I decolonize my desire so I can desire myself? How do I love myself in a world that has tells me over and over I am not someone to love? How can I decolonize my desire so I will never again look at a white boy who will never see me as the goddess I am?
Brown bodies can’t be neutral. Brown bodies have to aggressively love ourselves and each other as a process of healing.
I wonder if white boys take it personally when they’re loved. I wonder if they recognize they’re just the modern manifestation of the centuries of valuing bodies like theirs.
It would be silly if they took it personally.
—queering the game of life
You may not like me because I’m an outspoken Black woman who speaks truth to power & “always makes it about race” but I still love you.
I know you think you’re a special snowflake who “isn’t like those Black people,” but white supremacy doesn’t differentiate.
I love you despite the fact that you hate me for my Blackness, because I know you also hate yourself for the same reason. It isn’t an accident that you hate yourself you were taught that from birth & most likely that self-hatred was fostered by family, in school or in your community.
As a Black person it is incredibly hard to love yourself when everything tells you that you are worthless, your culture has no value and your people are destined for poverty and crime. Don’t believe the lies. Your skin is beautiful, your people are amazing and have overcome challenges white people refuse to imagine. Self-love is the best gift you can give to yourself, no, it’s not easy, but it is worth it.
When you decide to love yourself, your sisters, your brothers we will be here for you with open arms. But until then I will love you at a distance and mourn for your lost soul and pity your love of whiteness. You are complicit in white supremacy and I must treat you as such until the day you choose to remove the shackles that have you believing the lies they told you about yourself and your people.
—The Black American Princess