Somewhere along the years, black women’s confidence has been mistaken for arrogance and misplaced superiority. In a society where black women are seen to uphold the family unit, headed by the black man, today the millennial women elevating out of subordination strikes fear to the patriarchal status quo. Black women, for centuries, have notoriously been likened to animals, incapable of meeting Eurocentric beauty standards. It is comforting as a young black woman to see an emergence of black beauty on our screens, shifting the norm of beauty ideals away from small narrow noses and size zero bodies.
However, such advancements are received alongside outrage. We are met with a reactionary movement, aiming to force us back into subordination and lack of self-assuredness. Our confidence threatens society, we are now labelled ‘boujie’, ‘vain’ and ‘conceited’. Such terms are rarely directed to our white, female peers for just existing. White women’s confidence in their beauty has been affirmed for all of time. However, a black woman embodying a shred of self-belief is quickly dampened. We are seen as punching bags for the black man, used to soak up his hardships, carry our children to university and see them into adulthood. At no point are we, as black women, supposed to gain our independence or self-certainty. Such traits are reserved for men and white women. Existing as a black woman in society is exhausting, a near-impossible feat.
No one is born into this world as rightfully superior or inferior to their peers. Regardless of monetary qualities, moral ideals or political values. The idea that black women must remain as third-class citizens in society is a reality relentlessly fought against. Black women are punished both for their race and gender, all things we do not have control over. As black men, who can sympathise with being condemned for your skin colour, why do many continue to subject us to the same humiliating treatment? The fact we are able to see ourselves as beautiful and be vocal about it in a patriarchal world that capitalises off our insecurities is commendable. Overcoming the engrained notion that we must remain inferior and small, to play our predetermined role in society is commendable. A black woman’s ability to navigate through this world and see herself as worthy is commendable. This world does not defend us, nor celebrate us, so we must do it ourselves.
As stated by Mickalene Thomas, “Beauty has always been an element of discussion for black women, whether or not we were the ones having the conversation. Out of necessity, black women have always had to consider others’ perceptions of a certain beauty ideal, just starting with the skin colour.”
Before you call a black women ‘boujie’ or class her as ‘cocky and arrogant’, check your own bias. Why does a black woman’s confidence threaten you?
When a black woman no longer lives for the ‘struggle love’ we see in typical black movies and pours love into herself, why is it met with insult? Others seeking self-empowerment is difficult for many to accept when they do not have it themselves.
Insecurity likes company.
Envy likes companionship.
Black women have so much to offer in this world and the first thing used to strap us to submission is an attack to our self worth. Our confidence will always be likened to arrogance, society exists to belittle us, continuously, in efforts to appease the aged status quo.