The Miseducation of… Basically EVERYTHING
“…Showing off your ass ’cause you thinking it’s a trend… It’s silly when girls sell their souls because it’s in… Hair weaves like Europeans, fake nails done by Koreans… Come again”
Songstress Lauryn Hill’s Doo Wop – That Thing dropped 16 years ago & her lyrics are even more relevant & needed today than when it released. Instead of retreating away from the culture of obsession with image, society has dove in even deeper in the age of real-time media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Women & girls all over the World spend billions of dollars & thousands of hours every year on artificial enhancements & surgeries – sometimes risking & losing their lives – to look like something they are not, to attract the type of attention they don’t really need.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look nice, but it’s whole other level when you can find endless photos & videos of young ladies & girls all over social media trying to garner the most looks & likes, as if their self-worth depended on it. Needing to validate themselves by how many people out there want to sex them, or wished they looked like them. Wanting to be admired for being a Barbie or a ‘bad bitch’, rather than a Queen or a phenomenal woman. Being more prideful & worrisome over the contour of their eyebrows, waist & size of their hips, than in the content of their character, health, or finding purpose in life.
If you are unfamiliar with who Sarah Baartman is, she was a South African slave who was featured nude in a traveling circus around London & Paris, catering to Europeans fascination with her physical African attributes, mainly her large butt, which some deemed an abnormality. She was led around stage like a wild animal, by her ‘keeper’ who’d have her walk, stand or sit when ordered. During this time, she was assumed to be the “missing link” by Napoleon’s surgeon-general, who upon her death in 1816, cast her body in wax & her remains were displayed in a Paris museum until 1974. In 1994, then president Nelson Mandela made an appeal to the French to retrieve her, but it wasn’t until 2002 that their senate approved a bill for her to be repatriationed back to South Africa, where she was finally laid to rest in the Eastern Cape.
Today, African women are exploited similarly in more modern circuses, known as talk & reality television shows. Celebrity obsession, pop culture, rap music, photoshop, womens & teen magazines, pageants, bullies & other factors have all contributed to this image & attention obsessed epidemic our current generation is facing. The difference between these practices amongst women of African descent & most other races is, many times when undergoing these beauty techniques, African women are also killing their sense of identity. Those are the girls L. Boogie was calling out, asking to ‘come again’. Millions of them are avoiding sun exposure & bleaching their skin, perming their hair & wearing weaves in any & every texture except for that of their real, natural hair. They are constantly celebrating & striving towards other races natural beauty, while failing to embrace their own.
Even Beyonce, as gorgeous as she is, has had a nose job & admitted to wishing that she was born Latina. I don’t believe it’s because she actually hates being African, but because she favors their natural beauty over her own. Sadly, there are hundreds of thousands of young black girls & women that feel the same way – boys & men as well. Many of us have been conditioned to & not just via mainstream media, but sometimes even by our very own friends & family. This destructive conditioning has been passed down through the generations ever since the days of slavery. My father used to live in New York City & had been to black nightclubs where they would do a ‘paper bag test’, not letting in any patrons whose skin tones were darker than a brown paper bag.
Our ancestors in Africa did not discriminate against each other in such ways. Looking at their artwork & hieroglyphics, they celebrated all their various shades of brown & hair textures equally! Like Lauryn, I want my fellow sisters to realize that their natural features are just as beautiful as the ones they are hiding them with & that there are much more meaningful things in life to worry about than how big your butt is, how well you can twerk & how many followers & likes you can get. There is more to you than meets the eye…
“How you gonna win when you ain’t right within? …………Come again”