The Glamorization of the Strong Black Woman
What, exactly, is a strong Black woman? And why does the struggle of a Black woman gauge just how admirable she is or how much respect she deserves? In this blog I'm going to talk about the glamorization of the Black woman and how strong they are expected to be. I reached out to one of my homies just to see what they thought about the idea of a Strong Black woman and I got some really great responses back. Let’s start with how we as Black people look at the struggle of a Black woman in this society. When I asked about this topic I found that as Blacck people we tend to perceive any type of hardship as some type of right of passage and we enter relationships with the mindset that we have to go through constant hurdles in order to eventually get to the positive side of things. “There are some Black men who grew up witnessing their own mothers struggle with little to no help, and instead of feeling bad and wishing things were different, surviving the hardship is praised in our culture.” This is a quote from one of my homegirls and I agree, wholeheartedly. I feel like some men want their girlfriends/wives to coddle them like their mothers did or at least have some of the same type of habits or characteristics of their mothers, in order to better appease them. The whole idea of being a strong Black woman is lost in the perception of what a Black woman is in the first place.
Often, we as Black women are told that we are hard, loud, and angry. Those titles that are placed on us by society and given life by our constant attempt to combat those stereotypical notions REALLY take a toll on our psyche and add more strain then necessary. The thing about being strong is that you don’t have to be strong all the time. I want society to understand that Black women hurt just like women of other races hurt. We are allowed to be sensitive and emotional and passionate without being labeled as problematic because of it. What needs to be called out is the way of thinking when it comes to the world’s definition of Black women. We are not treated fairly or taken seriously in most cases and we are not expected to react to things that offend us and if we do then we are the antagonist and the issue is ours, and ours alone. At the same time we are expected to sulk it up and take all issues with a grain of salt. As i spoke to most of my people, I realized that the idea of the “strong Black woman” isn’t favorable in the least. It actually victimizes more than it strengthens. How are we, as Black women expected to fight every battle and yet still come out strong and unscathed? Why is it that we are held to this standard of handling any and every difficult task and making it “look easy”?
There is no reason why we should be expected to go through the trenches in order to be looked at as triumphant. I don’t really like the term too much because in a way it strips away our natural soft and nurturing tone. Even though we are hit at every angle with different obstacles, and at times we may be still standing, that doesn’t mean we don’t feel. We tend to be more broken on the inside while giving an impression of stability on the outside. As my homegirl Zeno said, “strong Black women” makes us sound more like the victim instead of the victor. I say, as a Black community that we start to give grace to our Black women. We need to understand and nurture the hurt that has been experienced and is still being experienced by Black women in every position. Acknowledging that we are indeed gentle and deserving of mercy and civility is the goal and should be the standard. Tell me what do you think? Is the term “Strong Black woman” glamorized and stretched too far when describing how Black women are received in society? Let me know your thoughts below!!
About the Author: Germôna Sharp
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