Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cultural Appropriation and Fetishizing

I have grown very weary of Black people claiming cultural appropriation and fetishizing. Here is a definition of cultural appropriation from Wikipedia:
Cultural appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It describes acculturation or assimilation, but can imply a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. It can include the introduction of forms of dress or personal adornment, music and art, religion, language, or social behavior. These elements, once removed from their indigenous cultural contexts, can take on meanings that are significantly divergent from, or merely less nuanced than, those they originally held.
Appropriation practice involves the 'appropriation' of ideas, symbols, artefacts, image, sound, objects, forms or styles from other cultures, from art history, from popular culture or other aspects of man made visual or non visual culture. Anthropologists have studied the process of cultural appropriation, or cultural borrowing (which includes art and urbanism), as part of cultural change and contact between different cultures.
This post was inspired by an article called Dolce and Gabbana 2013- Racist or overblown. I just don't see the point of these terms in 2012 where people of various ethnicites travel all over the world and share their cultures with everyone through trade and media. Haven't people been sharing their culture with outsiders for centuries? Haven't people of various cultures been adopting the cultural items, ideas, and teachings of outsiders for centuries? That just cultural assimilation! So why is it that in this day of age where different cultures have more access to outside cultures than ever before that Black people are freaking out about it? I think current viewpoint on the issue is very liberal (e.g., relax, it's not a big deal, live and let live, let's accept everything that's good) and very conservative on this matter (e.g., it's you making yourself miserable not society, you are seeing racism everywhere, you are too sensitive)!

It's like in order for a non-Black person to wear something considered "Black or African" then they are required to take a Black history course and join the NAACP! They must also have Black friends, think Black people are beautiful, and employ Black people. Why does everything have to be so serious when it comes to interacting with Black people? Why do you place so many expectations on others when you don't have to do the same amount of work to get along with them? Like I have said before, this is Black people once again acting like they need special care because they are fragile, wounded, and victims of everyone else. In order to associate with them or their culture outsiders must have special training and work harder than they have to with other people. Are you victims or are you strong and resilient? If you are a mixture of both then act like it and admit your strengths and vulnerabilities instead of stating your are completely powerless or powerful because you are telling people how to treat you! Victims get help and pity, the strong are expected to handle everything alone, but a "normal person" is not entirely powerless or powerful all the time so they can be independent and still get help and special care when needed.

This is why outsiders say it is difficult to get along with Black people and they are "too sensitive" because that is exactly what many Black people are telling them! I am not doing it but other Black people are adamantly telling others "you have to be very careful with us because we are so hurt and easily hurt by almost everything you do (including when you style your hair like us)! It sends the message to non-Black people that maybe it's just easier not to deal with Black people because they are never satisfied with any of their attempts to be inclusive or accepting and they are so easily hurt (ironic since Black people are often called strong and many embrace the term). For example, the producers of the new Nina Simone biopic may decide to never do a film focusing on a BW again because they cast EBW Zoe Saldana in the title role. Although White actresses like Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman can transform their appearances to play less attractive women (and win Oscars), Black people are too sensitive and delicate to accept that. No, they insist on casting a less attractive actress and they have no concern with talent or box-office draw. Another example is when non-Black people wear the image of Black people on their clothing, it is often interpreted as mocking or racist when images of many races are shown on clothing. Let's not forget whenever non-Black people embrace music created by Black people. Some Black people will almost shove this music down people's throats (insist they are racist or elitist if they don't...seriously) while others call it cultural appropriation when these people finally accept their culture (e.g., outrage at Japanese and White people embracing hip hop, jazz, blues, and reggae culture).

A non-Black man is not allowed to be attracted to Black women without it being called a fetish. Here is the definition of a fetish (doesn't sound bad to me at all):

1. an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency. 2. any object, idea, etc., eliciting unquestioning reverence, respect, or devotion: to make a fetish of high grades. 3. Psychology any object or nongenital part of the body that causes a habitual erotic response or fixation.

But for some reason, instead of seeing dark skin or other features many Black women have (e.g., full lips, full behinds) as comparable to other attractive feminine features (e.g., large chests, curves, softness, long hair) they call this a fetish that is somehow wrong!? By calling attraction for BW a fetish you are teaching the world that there is something wrong with liking BW and men who do are strange and deviant! Some will say that this is the point and it's called a fetish so that non-Black men will not be attracted to BW, and some BW are actually encouraging this! I would think that if BW want to be accepted as equals to other women then they would want to be found universally attractive. I would think that they would want it to seem perfectly understandable and non-deviant for someone to find them beautiful.

Why does this all irritate me? I guess because these behaviours are working against something I see as a positive thing. Unless something is accepted by the majority then it will not be seen as normal. So unless we react "normally" to non-Black people accepting Black culture and BW then this acceptance will never be seen as normal! People strive to be normal and negative reactions to their behaviour may cause them to reject us. If liking BW or aspects of Black culture continue to be seen as forms of rebellion or something to scare parents this will not do us any favors. It's time to stop holding on so tight to "Black culture" because the only way to gain acceptance is by allowing others to accept you without making them regret it afterward.

What some people need to do is really examine themselves and why they get so angry when non-Black people try to accept them or aspects of their culture. I think there are deep personal issues being triggered:

  1. For one, people who hate non-White people and see them as the enemy will object to this acceptance. They will see it as a treat because they see anything their enemy does as a treat. These people will always be complaining.
  2. Others are very attached to Black culture because it is their escape from the mainstream, therefore they think they will be lost if their culture becomes mainstream (i.e., they feel that their culture and uniqueness is all they have and without it they are nothing). This to me may be self-imposed limitations, a fear of being open to change and new things, and a sign that you don't have enough going on for you. 
  3. There are also some people who really want to be accepted but they are afraid of getting hurt (i.e., they don't think they are good enough so they are skeptical others who accept them or what they like). So they insist on more proof that they are accepted so that they can be sure of it (e.g., you can't just be my friend/date, you have to disavow your White privilege too and feel guilty about everything White people have ever done. You can't just have a Black actress in your film/show, you have to celebrate Black love and discuss racism too. You can't just have a Black model, she has to look like Alek Wek or India Arie). I think that this is an insecurity issue because the Black person does not believe that they are really accepted so they insist on extreme levels of 100% acceptance and perfect understanding of the Black experience (which is impossible even for most Black people).  
  4. Some Black people I think are too attached to "being cool" rather than being accepted by the mainstream so they want their culture to be exclusive (i.e., only some people are allowed into the Black culture club and they decide who gets in). This leads them to basically be culture snobs even when the things they cherish the most are considered harmful or tacky by the mainstream anyway. I also see this as a sign of entitlement, yes ENTITLEMENT because you are allowed to do things while other people can't. You have a special status where you are free to like, dress, and act in certain ways but others can't, and you expect this freedom to be respected. You also embrace things from other cultures but have a list of reasons why you are allowed to do so (e.g., being oppressed, racism, pressure to conform etc.). This again is feeling entitled to special treatment. If you like something for a reason, then others may like it for the same reasons...accept it instead of seeing it as a threat. You can't complain about being prevented from doing things because you are Black if you prevent non-Black people from doing things just because they are not Black!

I think that I'm starting to have a negative view of many of the theories that have come out of AA academics and research. Since the U.S. is the largest producer of race theories regarding Black people they are seen as the authority and no one questions it. But others have criticized that it always makes Black people out to be powerless victims. I do not feel like a powerless victim! The academics, similar to many Black blogs, also make it seem like we have to be angry activists all the time and that we must be constantly fighting against something. They trace everything back to slavery so that our anger about slavery is constantly being triggered. These AA teachings have become so prevalent that Black people online know many of the theories and trace every incident and aspect of their current existence to slavery. I wonder if people of other cultures do this and if it is self-defeating? With all the self-help talk about how important it is to stay in the present and plan for the future is it beneficial for the average Black person to constantly look back? I'm not saying forget, but is it helpful in any way to link your whole existence back to slavery? That's a good idea for a study :) I constantly hear people reason that "we must look at the causes in order to find solutions", but on a personal level I do not believe this is necessary at all. To find solutions in your own life you do not have to spend years examining your birth events, childhood, grandparents lives etc., you can just examine your current circumstances and find ways to improve in the present. Historical research may be important for societal change but totally unnecessary for personal change (e.g., your personal changes don't need to be run past the government or a committee, laws don't need to be created, a proposal doesn't have to be written, you don't need a grant etc.).

So what does this have to do with femininity? Well, if you get angry all the time about race then you will appear mean, unhappy, and argumentative to others like the stereotypical Angry Black Woman. It is feminine to be accepting and open to others rather than closed off, suspicious, and hostile. It is also against your best interest of being a desirable woman to all men when you insult your admirers by calling them fetishists and insisting they are deviant and defective for finding you attractive. If you want to be loved and admired you need to let other people love and admire you! A lady knows how to take a compliment. I also think that non-Black women will respect you more if they stop seeing you as the unattractive friend or as no competition for their men. Personally, I'm never going to use the term "fetish" in relation to liking BW or any race of woman ever again.

Related Articles:
Cultural Appropriation on Wikipedia (interesting!)
Cultural appropriation: Homage or insult? (see, if one focuses on the past and power differentials then assimilation by the mainstream will always cause negative feelings. This is the individual's personal anger at the mainstream)
Race preference or race fetish?
When does a racial preference become a fetish?
Top 10 fetishes from (risque language lol. What's interesting is that this is almost a list of things you can wear and do to make men instantly attracted to you...there are some I wouldn't do though...ever)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Volume Dating Versus Serial Dating

You have to read this article, Every Woman Needs a Gaggle of Men. I know it's just one article (I am reading a bunch right now and will post below), but it highlights something I have been feeling about this whole 'volume dating/date multiple men' thing. I had a suspicion that these multiple dating advocates tend to be okay with casual sex without monogamy and sex with more than one person at a time. This supposed 'sex counselor' (who knows what his training is) is okay with sex without monogamy, sex with multiple partners, and even says marriage is not for everyone! He's one of those who has thrown traditional dating, marriage, and life goals to the wind because he knows times have changed for everyone so we just have to accept the decline (i.e., everyone is doing it so you should too). He is advocating hook-up culture when many women (and men) say they don't actually like the culture but they conform because everyone else seems to be doing it. UPDATE: I just read the comments from the article and the majority of people reacted just as negatively as I did.

So how can someone like me, who only believes in sex with one person and wants marriage, listen to someone like that? This is one of those 'anything goes' radical liberal types that I am not. He says that it's a post-dating world but I beg to differ because this seems to be a Western, feminist, male fantasy sort of thing while traditional people (including many non-White people) don't believe in that. He makes it seem like what he advocates is the norm but it isn't. For many guys, if you told them you were sleeping with someone else they would no longer see you as girlfriend material. Others, as you know, get weird when they know you are dating someone else so it could actually ruin your chances with someone by dating other people. This expert is telling women to date and sleep around believing that eventually these women will date and sleep with enough guys and find their match. That assumes that the women don't get sick of it and end up settling just like women who dated and slept around less. It also assumes that one of these guys will actually want to settle down with a volume dater who has been around the block. It assumes that these women only stop this because they find their best match and that match also chooses them but I haven't read scientific proof this is the case. 

One problem I have with this multiple dating thing is what proof do they have that it actually works? I've read a few anecdotes where a woman says she dated multiple men, it helped her figure out what she wanted, then she was able to find her best match. But aren't there women who already know what they want based on long-term relationships or dating a few men? Also, how does the anecdotal person know that things would not have gone the same way if she was totally single when she met Mr. Right? Maybe, if she was more selective in her dates then every date would be with a potential Mr. Right instead of guys who obviously were not good matches from the beginning. The point is that there are no scientific studies proving this is a better method and their ideas are no more valid than those who advocate sex only with monogamy. Patti Stranger from Millionaire Matchmaker advocates dating 3 guys but no sex (at all) without monogamy. She knows that many women feel bad if they give up sex without monogamy so she advocates against it. Sex makes the relationship deeper so it's hard for the woman to date other guys. Only a study can determine if more women are happier after serial/traditional dating versus multiple dating and who feels they found their best match. 

I think that things can be looked at in different ways, maybe depending on if you are a positive or negative person. I tend to see the negatives so if I were to date 20 guys, three dates each, if none of them wanted me to be their girlfriend, and if none of them fell in love with me then my self-esteem would be way worse than if I was just rejected by 3 men! If I was at my best and most charming with 20 guys I would expect one of them to choose me! I don't want more chances to be rejected. I read another article about how women can just enjoy the experience of connecting with these people. I'm just not like that, I would rather have a conversation with someone I like rather than someone who I don't (I'd rather watch TV or blog instead). So when I'm on a date with a guy I'm not attracted (and there isn't enough chemistry to be friends) I feel like I would rather be doing something else. I just don't enjoy talking with people I don't want a relationship or friendship with. I consider these conversations to be investments and I'd rather not spend my best jokes, insights, and stories on someone I don't plan on seeing again. I'm just not that person who enjoys talking for the sake of it. I prefer having deep relationships rather than many superficial ones so I'd rather have a handful of close friends than 20 not so close ones. Dates with Mr. Wrongs is tedious but dating Mr. Right is not.

Also, how do these multiple daters know that the man they married was their "best match"? It could be that compared to the other 20 men the anecdotal woman dated, Mr. Right was just the best of the bunch and got along with her the best. How is that any different from a woman dating 3 guys serially and then picking #4 because he was the best one? You don't have to actually date every type of guy to figure out what you want. You can learn from other women's stories, friendships and working relationships, family members, films, books, etc. I'm sure that women with few dating experiences still have an idea of what they want. Furthermore, there is so much advice about how to feel happy and satisfied with what you have instead of thinking that what you have isn't good enough. Maybe women who serial date are able to do this with their Mr. Right but it is very difficult to do this when you are dating multiple, different men over a long period of time. The multiple dater is always expecting that they can find someone better but what is the guarantee that there is someone better? I'm not talking about someone who dates jerks, I mean someone who has dated maybe 10 employed, nice, attractive, and great guys who any woman would want.

Here's a quote, ""When you date just one guy, you might feel pressured to commit, even if you’re not ready,” she says. “If you see two men, there’s often this unspoken need to choose between them. But three guys tend to balance each other out, like a tripod.” I think the most important thing is that it's THE MAN who decides whether to commit or not! I have not read anywhere that these anecdotal women were asked for commitment from more than one man and they chose to say yes to the best one. For all we know these women dated 20 men, they didn't want 10 of them and 9 did not want to commit, so they said yes to the 20th one, the only one who actually wanted them! Since this is a new phenomenon there are no long-term studies showing that these volume daters have better or longer marriages either. This is really another example of people advocating for something that theoretically seems better but there is no real proof that it is! No I am not saying that it is good for women to settle for the first man they date or for whoever chooses them. I think that nowadays it is fine to date more than one man before you get married. But I will not believe that women who date more before marriage end up with better matches than those who don't without proof of this. Also, I won't believe that women with many sexual partners don't suffer negative consequences because of it, or that it doesn't interfere with their relationship and marriage prospects. 

So in terms of volume dating my stance is that I will only continue to see men who I like because I won't go through the motions of more than one date with men I am not attracted to just for the sake of having dates (why continue unsatisfying relationships?). I will not pursue men and when I find one I like I will make myself less available (e.g., won't go on dating sites as much) but I won't cut the other men off until I discuss that with the potential Mr. Right.  If he has a problem with it he will have to put up with it, commit to me, or move on. If he is worth it I won't have a problem giving up the other guys but a discussion must be had. I will also follow Patti Stranger's advice of no sex without monogamy because that is more consistent with my values. 

It's hard to get more than one man interested in you that you actually want, and these volume dating articles make it seem like it's easy and we are purposefully avoiding it! Like the article above said, these women are dating men who don't have what they want but they are keeping them around to fulfill specific needs...they are dating men they know are not good enough! I ONLY go on second dates with men who I would actually want to have a relationship with who have everything I want. Furthermore, these men have feelings too and they can tell if you aren't into them and it makes me wonder why they stick around. Some may just want to be friends, especially friends with benefits and this article encourages that! I mean these articles act like the men don't have feelings! Are these men paying for dates and spending time with women who KNOW they don't want them? I think that is just as unethical as men saying they love and will commit to women in order to sleep with them. Unless these women let the men know that they don't think a relationship will happen then they are using these men. This is why some guys are mad a women for leading them on. I have no problem with being friends and seeing what happens (with nothing physical) but both parties should know what's going on. Just imagine your're a guy, going on dates for 2 months (him paying) and when you ask for commitment the woman says no...why in the world was she dating you if she didn't want you??? If you are sure you don't want someone you should let them go instead of leading them on. 

For me I have NEVER been able to date two or more quality men, who I have chemistry with, at the same time. I find most of my dates on online dating sites and recently in a networking group. I ONLY go on dates with men who I am attracted to physically, have a degree, live nearby and plan to stay here, are looking for a relationship, not too young or old, and seem nice. I don't get approached by tons of men who meet this criteria. Out of the last 6 dates I've gone on recently I was only physically attracted to 1 (four did not look as good as they did in photos). There was no chemistry with 4 because I was not attracted to them and there wasn't enough friendship chemistry for me to want to stay in touch with them (they were a bit awkward or dull in my opinion. I have met 2 men recently who aren't even straight, or close to my age, but they were so fun and we got on so well I want to keep them as friends. So it's not that I wasn't friendly). I was not attracted to 1/6 but I would like to be his friend. I have gone on multiple dates with another 1/6 but he takes things slow and does not want to commit. I have an upcoming date with a guy I had amazing chemistry with but who went away and has now returned. I have never had so much chemistry with a man and he says and does exactly what I need. There are also two very attractive men who have my number but I don't know if they want dates, to be friends, or if they are even single so I can't even count them yet. So that leaves me with 2 potentials, 1 who hasn't chosen me and 1 just starting up again out of 11 men I have recently met (including the two friends) and that was a lot of time spent! I only met these men online or networking and not at work, school, clubs, bars, or just randomly on the street. If I end up dating 3 men I actually like at the same time I will be very surprised!

Related Articles:
*The biggest mistake women make when dating (this is way less objectionable than the one posted above)
*Volume dating (pretty good and has responses to some of my doubts)
*Volume dating?
*How to date multiple guys without being shady
*Is it okay to date more than one man at once? (lol she uses the marketing metaphor that I have used in previous posts). This advice also disagrees with the first article and says don't have sex too easily. Here's a quote:
The principles of the game:
1. You are a company.
2. You are the company’s only salesman, marketer and advertiser.
3. Men are your company’s customers and they make their buying decisions based upon the goods you produce (i.e. yourself); in other words, you have to present the best product with not only the best structural quality, but also the best packaging, and advertising possible. (You must have the best possible inner and outer selves.)
4. Your personal style differentiates your company from all the others. If you’re going to compete in the Fortune 500, you’d better know how to generate the best revenue.
5. The world’s best salesmen don’t have a 100% sales rate, or a 75% sales rate; nor do they have a 50% sales rate, or even a 25% sales rate. The world’s best salesmen are lucky to maintain a 10% sales rate. A 10% sales rate = one in every 10.
 If you’re not catching my drift yet, think of it this way: To win this game, you have to be the best company you can be, making the best product and selling the best services. Moreover, you have to keep trying to improve every aspect of your corporation, no matter what hurdles you face. (For example, the GAP went through a slow sales period for some years, but the company has started posting increases in their quarterly sales.)
*It's not just sex (EXCELLENT!!!) "By participating in the hook-up culture, we reinforce the idea that the emotional energy required for sex is no different from that required for self-pleasure or pornography, we reinforce the belief that genuine relationships come second to an orgasm, we reinforce the notion that sex is just an emotionless, mindless, physical act. But sex is so much more than that. Sex becomes a deep, romantic, beautiful thing when combined with love and trust."
*Finally someone says it: Hook up culture is good for women (feminist barf). Here's a quote that the author disagrees with but I agree with, "The central argument holds that women have effectively been duped by a sexual revolution that persuaded them to trade away the protections of (and from) young men. In return, they were left even more vulnerable and exploited than before. Sexual liberation, goes the argument, primarily liberated men-to act as cads, using women for their own pleasures and taking no responsibility for the emotional wreckage that their behavior created. The men hold all the cards, and the women put up with it because now it's too late to zip it back up, so they don't have a choice."
*The effect of hook up culture on men (basically saying that since men can get women so easily they don't feel the need to be successful or put in much effort to get women, including committing to them)
*Is hook up culture empowering? (VERY GOOD!!!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Self-Help Articles for Black Women

In this post I will present a list of some great self-help articles from Pick the Brain and Life Hack. I love these websites because they provide quick and easy to read articles about how to improve your life. These ideas are very common in self-help, self-improvement, life skills, psychology, and even philosophy type websites, books, and seminars. This is the type of thinking that I am used to (it's automatic for me) but it is very foreign to some people. They are written for a wide audience and not specifically for Black people so certain dysfunctional "keep it real" ideas are not there. For example, I just shake my head when I hear people advocating that BW don't leave dangerous communities because the bad people will follow them anyway or that it is their duty to stay because that somehow helps the community!? I also shake my head when I hear people say find a man with "potential" (who has never achieved anything in his life) and your love and support will make him great (no, only he can make himself great). These ideas are highly dysfunctional and go against common sense!

Another thing I like is that the sites are not just posting complaints or negative events while providing no solutions and expecting someone other than the author to handle the situation. There is no pleading for readers to "do something" about the writer's concern, get outraged, form a committee, come up with solutions, or start a movement. There are no accusations that unconcerned readers are somehow part of the problem, traitors, brainwashed, or the enemy. There is no "We", it is only about what individuals can do to improve their own lives so it is VERY individualistic. This is quite different from some Black blogs where there is a huge "WE" always present, one Black person's struggle/burden is everyone's struggle going back to slavery, all Black people must help every other Black person, and you must be an outraged and confrontational activist at all times. On many Black blogs the only time personal responsibility comes up is when other people, not even involved in the issue, are pressured to do something about it!? For example, when outsiders give the complainer suggestions they are given 101 excuses why they can't take personal responsibility and why outsiders MUST be the ones to devote their time to helping them and fighting the system (the complainer is toxic). These expectations are just tiring, overwhelming, and too much for people who have their own issues to deal with. It just creates outrage but no real changes, and when no change happens that leads to hopelessness.

Dysfunctional ideas like those are totally absent in non-Black self-improvement writings (so I would recommend them if you are tired of the dysfunctional ideas and endless complaining). However, most of these ideas are also commonly heard on BWE blogs...the ideas are not new and they are common sense to many people! This may be why some people can not tolerate BWE blogs because they are more used to dysfunctional "keeping it real" ideas instead of self-help and self-improvement ideas. I think that these types of articles are what one needs to read and believe if they really want to improve their lives. These are the ideas that successful people believe.

How to detox your life of negative people and feel good about it (Very important): "Definition of a toxic person- A person who complains and dumps their problems on you but doesn’t do anything to change their situation. Someone who is not supportive. Someone who makes you feel badly about yourself. Someone who shoots down your bright ideas, big goals, or bold (and risky) decisions. Toxic people are usually in a place in their life where they are not open to constructive feedback or changing, so they are stuck in their current situation and don’t have the insight to see beyond their own struggles."
10 ways to instantly build self-confidence
How to build self-discipline (Excellent): "Self-discipline involves acting according to what you think instead of how you feel in the moment. Often it involves sacrificing the pleasure and thrill of the moment for what matters most in life."
10 natural ways to stop feeling depressed
How to motivate yourself- self-motivation
6 ways to stand out from the crowd (career focused)
16 ways to connect with anyone
How to tap into the power of positivity
20 practical soft skills everyone should learn (pretty good!)
14 tips to help you build more self confidence

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's Really Hard to Know What Black Women Want

I was just thinking that it's really hard to know what some Black women want. This post was inspired by a post on Clutch called "The Age of the Fat A$$". We are all different and sometimes so different it almost makes you laugh. These are just some frustrating things I've noticed and maybe you have too.

There are very few shows with Black female characters on them and many of them are blatant, negative stereotypes. Yet whenever there is a BW character who is not a total embarrassment, disgrace, or stereotype there are tons of complaints about her, but only from BW (or some BM)! The complaints range from her skin is too light/too dark, she's not Black enough, she's not like me, her hair is fake, she isn't in a relationship, she's fat, she's dating interracially, she's unhappy, she isn't the star, she always gets hurt and blah, blah, blah! All BW are different and most of the media is run by White people so do you want to see a variety of BW in the media or not?

Now a lot of men and the media have elevated the beauty status of fuller behinds. This is to the point where women are wearing butt-enhancing clothing, butt-enlarging pills are being sold, and women are getting surgical enhancements. Instead of enjoying the fact that one standard of beauty has changed that actually elevates their beauty status some BW women are complaining! They are saying that they are being fetishized like Sarah Baartman and objectified! SMH, do you want more/all people to think you are beautiful and attractive or not?

Natural afro-textured hair has finally, FINALLY become acceptable in Western countries and there is finally enough information available about how to care for it. Yet it is some BW (and BM) who are saying natural hair is ugly, they would never been seen wearing it, or they would never date someone with natural hair. This is the same hair that is growing out of their heads and the same hair their children have. I have heard countless stories of how non-Black people are saying natural hair is attractive instead of Black people! SMH, do you want people to accept your hair however you wear it or not?

BW of the past fought HARD so that BW would be accepted as women/ladies that deserved to be respected, cherished, and protected like non-Black women. But today some BW are totally offended by the suggestion that they dress and act like ladies! They resent any idea that they should be compared to other women when past BW made that comparison and wanted to be treated like non-Black women! Instead you want to act like hard pack-mules who don't need special care when your ancestors hated that reality! BW in the past fought so that BW would not just be thought of as sexual objects yet you make yourselves into sexual objects by dressing, dancing, and speaking in a vulgar sexual manner and having casual sex all over the place! SMH do you want to be thought of as a lady and equal to all other women or not?

While some BW have lamented that non-Black men don't find them attractive others will loudly proclaim that they don't find non-Black men attractive whatsoever. Or when non-Black men approach them they are extra rude. If a non-Black man is dating or married to a BW then other BW say he just has a fetish! Some BW have no problem with men liking their chests or behinds that they flaunt in sexy clothes yet they are offended if men (only non-Black men) are attracted to their dark skin! How is being attracted to gorgeous, even, toasty brown skin a fetish while liking extra fat deposits on the chest and backside is not? If a non-Black man said the most attractive thing about you was your chest you would not feel offended yet if he loves your skin then he's sick? Do you want more/all men to like you and find you attractive or not?

This is just me venting but think about if these trends were to be reversed. If the media gave up and decided to exclude BW actors then there would be complaints for inclusion. If large behinds went out of style and women with Tracee Ellis Ross behinds were called "fat/unattractive" then there would be complaints about unfair Eurocentric beauty standards. If people started saying BW don't dress or act like other women because they aren't really women there would be OUTRAGE all over the place! If non-Black men went around saying they just aren't attracted to BW at all there would be OUTRAGE (remember John Mayer?). If non-Black men  started vocally stating dark skin is unattractive and they would never date a woman darker than a paper bag there would be more OUTRAGE (there already is when BM say such things). Personally, I think that all of these media and societal changes are good for BW and it's annoying when other BW try to spoil it for the rest of us!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Being a Fake vs. Being Your Best Self

My last post made me think about the reasons why people change, whether those changes will last, and whether people are being fakes or their best selves. One of the quotes I posted stood out for me, "Some people change when they see the light, others when they feel the heat". I believe that the changes I have made are self-improvements, I had some negative and misguided behaviours in the past, but now I am being my best and true self. I do not see myself as being a fake. In the past I think my best self was hidden due to stress, not caring enough about my self presentation, listening to the wrong people, lack of knowledge including self knowledge, not realizing my worth, and lack of self-discipline. My better self was suppressed by all of those issues, but now that I have dealt with them my true, best, and most feminine self has finally broken through and blossomed. I am not pretending to be someone I am not, I am being the woman I would have ideally been had I not struggled with those issues. It reminds me of those movies where a nerdy, dateless girl just removes her glasses, lets down her hair, and puts on a dress and suddenly everyone (including her) realizes how great she is and wonders why she was hiding herself before! I was doing that.

I do not think I was that bad but I am a high quality woman and my behaviour and appearance were not consistent with that they are. I also thought that many Black women were not carrying themselves like high quality women, maybe for similar reasons, and it bothered me to see them that way (because I do care). Some of my thoughts have also become more conservative with age, but conservative in the sense I can ignore the pressure to do things that more liberal people do that I think would be harmful to me (e.g., too much casual sex, drugs, too much drinking, not caring about my appearance, dressing too provocatively, not showing self-restraint, not planning for the future, wasting money on fashion trends, adopting new slang etc.). So basically I am able to say "NO" to the cool kids and I don't care if they call me a nerd, boring, or old fashioned for doing so. I think that not getting involved in such things makes my life easier. In my opinion liberal-minded pressure is just as strong as conservative-minded pressure, neither one is better or worse, and liberal thinking and conservative thinking both have their usefulness.

Below I have identified some of my current thoughts (A) and the thoughts of someone who is being a fake with regards to their femininity journey (B). If you have a lot of B thoughts don't feel bad. It just means you are not yet convinced (as I am ) that being more feminine is the best option for you, it will bring you benefits you are lacking, or it will bring out your true and best self. You may require more evidence from feminine role models, women who have uncovered their femininity, research evidence, and advice from experts (e.g., marriage counselors and match makers). Only after reading and seeing this evidence will you be convinced that your past behaviour was not beneficial to you and that allowing yourself to be more feminine would be an improvement. Once you think this way then enhancing your femininity will not be "acting fake" it will just be putting your best self forward to shine :) Some of this may also come with time, age, changes in preferences, and associating with different people because people do change throughout life. So take a look at the thoughts below and consider if you a an A thinker or a B thinker when it comes to enhancing your femininity:

A) I am so much better now, I was so misguided and lost before but I have finally seen the light. The real and best me has finally come out.
B) I was being myself before but now I'm being a fake. I'm doing this because people did not accept the real me and I don't know what else to do.

A) I was so mixed up before, what was I thinking? I hope I never slip back into being that person again. I have to make sure to stay away from people who want me to behave badly or settle for less the way I did in the past. I need to surround myself with people who appreciate the new me.
B) I was really great the way I was. I can't wait until I can be that person again. I will be myself with people I trust and only be my fake self in public or with people I don't know well.

A) I wish that women and men would be a bit more old fashioned. I admire the femininity of women and chivalry of men from the past.
B) I wish that women and men would be less old fashioned. The past should be forgotten because back then women were extremely oppressed and were forced to behave in traditionally feminine ways. I wasn't natural. Chivalry was oppressive and insulting to women.

A) I wish that more people would act like me because then the world would be a better place. I like me, women who are like me, and men who prefer women like me.
B) I wish that there wasn't so much pressure to act this way. If society would change and stop being so sexist, misogynist, racist, old fashioned, oppressive etc. then people like me could stop doing these useless things and just be ourselves.

A) If I knew then what I know now I would have lived my life differently. If only I could turn back time.
B) I have no regrets about my past conduct. I'm only doing this now because I think I have to. I wouldn't change if I didn't have to.

A) I wish that society was less tolerant of poor manners, swearing, and bad behaviour. It's just so gross and ugly.
B) I wish that society would stop making such a big deal about manners, swearing, and not conforming to arbitrary rules. People are too sensitive.

A) I love this dress! I will look beautiful in it and men will find me attractive.
B) This dress is okay, but I'm wearing it because no one will accept the real me so I will grudgingly put on this costume. I could care less what men think.

A) I hope one day to find someone who really appreciates and prefers the new me because that would make me feel great about myself. When people compliment my appearance and feminine behaviour I feel proud and confident that I am a great woman.
B) I hope to one day find someone who likes/loves the real me so I can stop pretending. That would make me feel great about myself. When people compliment my appearance and feminine behaviour I feel dread and shame because I will have to keep up this charade and they will never like the real me.

A) People who don't act like me have a lack of restraint and poor judgement. They cave to societal pressures to degrade themselves and settle for less. They cave to pressure to act like loose women that will hurt them in the long run.
B) People who don't act like me are brainwashed and oppressed. They cave to societal pressures to stay in line, all be the same, and not take advantage of their freedom. They should stop slut shaming and reclaim that title.

A) Women who dress too provocatively and women who are promiscuous have been brainwashed into thinking that these things are beneficial, empowering, and normal. They are degrading themselves because they have been duped by those who only want to use them. They believed the lies saying sex is no big deal and it is so great even when there is no relationship.
B) Women who dress conservatively and limit how much/the type of sex they have are oppressed and think that that this avoidance is beneficial, empowering, and normal. They are caving to the oppressive patriarchy and misogynists who want women to be ashamed of their bodies and their natural sexual urges. Men enjoy casual sex and women should too instead of attaching so much emotion to it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Auditioning for the Role of Wife or Girlfriend

Take a good look at yourself and think about this quote.
Are you really that happy right now? Could you
become happier by making some simple changes?
This post was inspired by a recent article on Clutch called, "These Beauty Faux Pas Could Keep you from Getting Hired" (yes I am still reading the blog and I have become a lurker). This just reminds me of the idea that when you are interacting with men you meet, you are pretty much interviewing or auditioning for the role of wife or girlfriend. Being a wife or girlfriend is a job that has certain requirement and duties and not just anyone is qualified or good at this job. Men know what makes a woman "wife material" even if you disagree with them, think they are old fashioned, or think they are unfair. For example they probably want someone who is kind, understanding, not a nag, attractive, healthy, takes pride in their appearance, hygienic, a good cook, a good homemaker, faithful, nurturing to children, law abiding, not embarrassing to him or his family, similar values, etc.

Be such a fantastic and feminine woman that people
will automatically assume you are great and that
you have desirable qualities.
Every time you meet a man (or someone who can set you up with a single man) you are auditioning for the role of girlfriend or wife. They will not postpone evaluation until you are ready and they will not only focus on your good points; they are evaluating everything about you. Women like to advise other women to "just be yourself" because that helps their friends to not feel anxious or worry that they will fail the interview. But how well could you possibly do on an interview if you don't have any of the job qualifications? You may fumble around trying to make your qualities sound appealing or you may state that you are a fast learner and you will learn the job. Maybe if you act really nice, show them some leg (or promise to show more), or shame them then they will give you a chance right?

If you want to be happy either improve yourself
and your life of expect less for  yourself and your life.
But the fact remains that you knew the qualifications required for the job, you ignored the qualifications, you are pressuring them to hire someone they don't want, and there are plenty of other applicants who have the qualities they are looking for! If we relate this to dating, men find certain things attractive about women that make them look like "marriage material", some women do not have those qualities or refuse to make themselves attractive in those ways, they criticize and shame men about their preferences and demand acceptance of their undesirable qualities, and they expect to be considered just as attractive as women who have all the desired qualities! Do you see how ridiculous that is? You know that most men don't want serious relationships with promiscuous women yet you listen to feminists advocating that you embrace your "inner slut" (ARTICLE2). You know that most men prefer feminine, gentle, and kind women yet you dress and act like a man, compete with them in manly tasks, act like you hate them, and reject your femininity. You know that men want to feel needed and care for their families but you loudly proclaim "I don't need no man" and "my career comes before family". You say it is too much work to make yourself more attractive and men should accept you just the way you are but you are lazy, obnoxious, mean, argumentative, and you have let your looks go downhill. Yet you act surprised when they pass you by?

Become more feminine because you believe it is the
best option for you and an expression of your best self.
Pretending to be something you are not may not work because eventually your true colours will shine through and you may be unhappy. The key word here is pretending. That would mean you are just going through the motions to attract and keep a man but you plan on returning to your former behaviour at some point since you believe your former self was better. I'm not interested in pretending. I'm interested in learning and changing for the better because one believes her appearance and behaviour needs improvement, one knows she was not doing her best before, these improvements are meant to be permanent, and there is no desire or attachment for one's previous appearance or behaviour. With pretending the person feels like a fake, they are not who they are meant to be, they are ashamed of the person they have become, and there is no internal change in beliefs only caving to external pressure. In contrast, when one changes for the better they are proud of the new person they have become, regret that they had not always been so great, wonder why they did not have the same high standards in the past, and there is an internal change because one believes that normative feminine qualities are actually better. This person has seen her true potential, she is finally being her best self, and her former self was due to a lack of effort, opportunity, or self-knowledge. This blog is about changing because my knowledge and beliefs have changed not because I feel pressure to do something I don't even appreciate. I truly believe that being a feminine woman is better than the alternatives.

Be impressed with how much you have improved!
So if you want a particular job (i.e., man) but lack the qualifications what do you do? Well you can give up on the job just as many women have given up on getting a high quality man. Or you can go get some training so that you qualify of that job! You have to believe in your training though and think that it is making you a better person. When you get that job you make sure to use your new skills and show that the right woman was hired, and after a while the job will become easier and more automatic. When you get a man you need to keep up your appearance and behaviour and not let yourself go just because you have been chosen. After a while the new behaviours and keeping up your appearance will become easier and automatic too. You can be fired for poor performance on the job and you can be dumped for poor performance as a girlfriend or wife but some women just don't register these facts. And yes of course you can quit your job or dump your man if they do not meet your standards either, this isn't one sided. The men who approach you are also auditioning and you have certain qualifications you are looking for. Don't let men or anyone else tell you that you should accept an unqualified applicant because he will not be able to do the job of boyfriend or husband for you! Don't expect him to learn the job quickly or get more training along the way, just reject unqualified applicants because someone better will come along if you are an attractive employer offering a desirable benefits package ;)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

How Can You Become an Elegant Black Woman?

I started this blog on February 13, 2011 (my first post). A while ago one of my blog readers asked me how to start her own journey to become an EBW. These are the steps I described to her that involve involve reading, setting goals, a self-assessment, and then monitoring your progress:

  1. Reading: I started out searching the web for articles about how to be feminine, a lady, classy, elegant, graceful, etc. I have posted the links on my blog in the post "How will I become an elegant Black woman" and then continue reading the posts on my blog to see my journey. If you want instead you can read the blogs:  http://www.elegantwoman.org,, and because these are the blogs that helped me the most. This will be fun and interesting not a chore. There is a lot but that reassured me that I would eventually learn what I wanted to learn and that the information was available for free and at my convenience. I read about femininity every day lol!
  2. Setting goals: Either now or after you start reading you need to make a list of the qualities of the ideal feminine woman that you want to be. It may also help to come up with a famous person (or persons) that you can think of as role models. Ask yourself 'what are their traits that I want to achieve?' because these are the new things that you need to learn and start doing. 
  3. Self-assessment:  Also ask yourself, 'what are my current traits that make me appear less like a feminine woman?' because these are the things that you need to change. My list appears here:
  4. Monitor your progress:  Look back at your goals list from time to time as you progress to keep track of what you have learned and what you still need to learn. Goal setting is important because it gives you direction, tells you where the finish line is, and tells you when you have finished!  Also, look back on this list too to remind yourself to keep fighting your bad habits and old behaviours that were unhelpful. It will make you feel good to see how much you have changed and how different you become as you go on your journey. I would recommend starting a journal or blog as I did to keep track of your progress because looking back over your journal is a good way to monitor your progress. I also find journaling helpful for examining your thoughts and why you do the things you do because it's hard to understand our thinking without deep thought. 
This was a fun journey for me and it has taken over year but I'm still not finished. I love the positive attention I get from men and the men I attract are of high quality because I look like a "nice girl". The people around will get used to you and they might start to copy you. I received many compliments from women who didn't wear dresses themselves and you may even be asked to go shopping to help them dress like you! I recommend thrift shopping because you can buy a whole new wardrobe for under $200 if you want to make a quick change and you can get some high quality items that way without breaking the bank. The most important thing is that you will feel better about yourself because you will know that you are becoming a quality woman while others are not, you chose to make the journey, and you are powerful enough to improve yourself. People will treat you better and that is always a benefit. Also I think that the best way to change other people's behaviour is to be a role model and when they see you living well they will try to be like you without being pressured or asked to change!

Today I thought that this would also be a good time to refocus on my goals of being an elegant Black woman (EBW) and reviewing some of my previous posts. If you have similar goals have a look at some of my earlier posts where I learned important lessons about etiquette, manners, and what it means to be a lady :)

New etiquette and instructional videos: December 8, 2011: Useful and sometimes funny videos about modern etiquette and femininity.

Free online manners and etiquette tutorials March 3, 2011: Oh I always get a laugh out of these videos. I just pretend they are meant to be funny when probably they were not. I remember watching parodies of such videos on The Simpsons and thought there was no way they were so cheesy...but those were actually accurate depictions! There are some good lessons in them though.

Where I need to improve: February 19, 2011: This is where I made a list of the things I wanted to learn on my EBW journey. As you can see from the list, I did not seek to totally reinvent myself or become something totally different from who I already was. I just wanted to improve and get rid of some negative habits. But I don't see a problem with anyone trying to totally reinvent themselves either if it will make them happier and improve their lives. That would just be common sense, taking pride in yourself, being empowered, and taking initiative. Wow I think I have greatly improved on all of my negative qualities (I still have to work harder on some like wearing heels, not being so passive, and not focusing on the negative though). I have also already learned and continue to learn more of the things on my list. That's a lot of progress in under two years!

Blog reviews: February 15, 2011: I only got around to doing one blog review but I did read the other five that I linked. Be Exquisite has been removed unfortunately but I recommend the following sites for anyone who wants to learn about femininity: The Feminine WomanGrace and PoiseThe Art of Being Feminine and Elegant Woman because these are the blogs that I read when I first started my EBW journey. They have so many lessons about how to be feminine so I didn't feel the need to write about those things here. These are free resources that taught me so much! None of these blogs are written by Black women but hopefully you can get past that and make use of the valuable information anyway. 

Assertiveness training will save Black women: December 12, 2011. I think that one thing that can really help Black women is to improve our communication skills. If we want to be understood then we must communicate in ways that most people can understand, especially those who we need to help us achieve our goals. If we need certain things from partners, banks, employers, lawmakers, and even store employees then we need to communicate with them effectively. Being assertive instead of aggressive is also more respectful for the person you are talking to. Online lessons about how to be assertive are linked. 

I also found a Tumblr blog you may want to see called Art of Lovely. The blog is not focused on Black women but it focuses on elegant and feminine style. I'm not into buying expensive or designer things for those reasons alone but you can see the quality, beauty, and simple, classic elegance of the items (as opposed to designer items with prominent labels or strange/abstract/futuristic designs). Three years ago I did not think about decor or home design at all, but now that I'm at an age where I will be furnishing a home I've started thinking about it. I like minimal clutter and simple designs and I like the interior design photos on this blog. I also really like the fashions shown because they are classic and always stylish, feminine, beautiful, and not over the top (i.e., I'm not into bright colours, too much pattern, or things that look too trendy or attention getting). 

It's also really, I mean REALLY striking the way that White people depict their women in photography, paintings, and advertising compared to Black people. I mean look at the images... how often do you see Black women depicted in the same way? By seeing themselves depicted in loving, elegant, ultra feminine, and cherished ways White women have something to aspire to when they achieve success that actually makes them look classy. But do Black women have similar images or are we 99% of the time only shown as poor, struggling, or average? Or are we only shown rich (not wealthy) Black people (specifically musicians, actors, and athletes's wives) in ostentatious, gaudy, label adverting clothing with a street edge? I mean when was the last time you saw a photo of a really poor White person yet every day we see images of poor Black people. I know many of those images are for charities asking for donations but it does have an effect. The effect is that you can't imagine yourself in the images shown on Art of Lovely and you may internalize the idea that to be Black is to be suffering, and that a life surrounded by beauty and elegance is off limits to you even if you can afford it. This is why it is so important for us to see Black people looking, doing, and acting in as many different ways as possible instead of constant portrayals of the same stereotype over and over. This is why we have to seek out images, role models, and information about the things we desire instead of letting the mainstream tell us "you can not have these good things or have what we have because your are Black". We all have a right to those good things and we should never let racists of any colour tell us what we can't have! Go get your good life ladies!

Thanks to all of my supportive readers and to all the femininity bloggers who have helped me on my journey!  I'm really liking the new me :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Convince them that Everyone else is Doing it"

I just read a post at Hooking up Smart and one part really stood out for me,
…What researchers have found is that there are techniques for changing a culture that appear to work, but they are not always the obvious ones. Doing so in a way that produces lasting results, but doesn’t involve destroying the group entirely, requires finesse, subtlety, and patience. It also requires a certain suspension of optimism about human nature. To really change how a group of people thinks and behaves, it turns out, you don’t need to change what’s inside of them, or appeal to their inner sense of virtue. You just have to convince them that everybody else is doing it.
“The inner conformist is stronger than the inner activist,” said Michael Morris, a psychologist at Columbia University who studies the role of culture in decision-making.
Up here in Canada I feel like everybody has a positive view of self-improvement and social climbing and mobility. That's because my parents are that way and so are their friends. They sent me to schools where the emphasis was on doing very well academically, having hobbies, participating in many activities, learning new languages etc. so that we would be well-rounded people (which also made us attractive to universities). In university there was the same mentality and people clamored for unique experiences out of curiosity, to prepare them for work, and also to prepare them for graduate school (and make them more attractive to those schools). So for all those years I was surrounded by achievers, people trying to do their best, people pressured to "publish or perish", and the hoops one had to jump through in order to achieve desired goals. Since all of my friends were from school I though that this was a common mentality and "everybody else was doing it". Really it doesn't even matter if there are other large groups of society who think differently because I don't know them, I won't be working with them as colleagues, and I won't be dating them since I date prestigious and ambitious men.

This makes me wonder about some of the stereotypical things people think Western Black people do and don't do. How many of these things are based on the media especially movies, TV shows, and music?   These things are shown around the world and people think this is "Black culture" not just the culture of a small group of AA people. How many Black people around the world are really into hip hop (I mean totally satisfied and can see no wrong in it)? I keep on hearing that White people are the largest consumers of the music and they own the record companies so then isn't hip hop a White thing? But I don't hear anyone saying "White people who don't appreciate hip hop are sellouts to their own race". Why aren't people pushing oldschool Mowtown, Jazz, Blues, Calypso, Reggae, R & B, and pop as hard as hip hop? This is tragic because the hip hop that I hear/see in the mainstream in my opinion is the most materialistic, violent, misogynist, racist, and perpetuating of stereotypes when compared to the other music (and no I'm not going to search for some mysterious type of hip hop that doesn't have any of those things. I tried that before and was left with less money and two CDs full of cursing and the n-word that I was told was conscious and not like other hip hop. I gave it a shot and I've chosen other forms of music that's easier to consume). I've never had that issue with these other forms of Black music. I think that the music tastes of Black people needs to be studied and we might find that not as many like it as we think. Maybe a lot of people only like the beat and wish that most things about the style changed, which means they don't really like it! Seriously, if you say you don't like mainstream hip hop then do you really like hip hop? I have ZERO complaints about the mainstream ballads and Mowtown songs I love.

I also think that the values and beliefs of Black people around the world needs to be studied too so that what the majority of Black people think is known. There are probably studies like this already but I just don't know about them. I think this is so important for dispelling stereotypes! It could be that the majority of Black people in Western countries believe in marriage and having children after wedlock. The majority could believe that education is extremely important. They could actually be supportive of interracial friendships and dating. The majority may not think that everything bad that has happened in their lives is due to slavery or racism. They may barely think of race at all most days. They may think Black men and Black women are not a problem. They may think that Black people are not that different from other races.

It could be the case that the majority of Western Black people think these things but we are not hearing these sentiments as loudly or frequently as we should on the news, on TV, in movies, in music videos, in music, on Youtube, or on blogs! Is it because the minority is more vocal, attention-getting, famous, or more motivated to make their views known to the public? Have they just been more successful at making it seem like "everyone" is like them when really it's only a small group? Is this the media's fault or the fault of consumers? Are some Black people swallowing harmful messages put out by the minority while ignoring the beneficial messages of the silent majority? If you know something is a stereotype aren't you motivated to be different especially if it is negative? I guess some people might want to be a negative stereotype as some sort of protest or because they want most people to dislike or fear them (for reasons I do not understand). At least if you are conforming to a positive stereotype then there are obvious benefits because the behaviour/attitude is viewed positively. People have a strong drive to be "normal". For some the "Black normal" is very different from "White normal" but for others those two are almost the same! But many feel shamed and pressured to accept the extreme version of "Black normal" that actually makes it more difficult to to be successful in Western societies (i.e., being "Black normal" as defined by the minority means being considered abnormal by the rest of society and accepting the host of problems that comes along with that).

This is why it is SOOOO important to seek out alternative viewpoints, look at research and statistics, and sometimes just turn off the TV or computer and do what you think is right instead of what the media tells you "everyone is doing". Why do we have to all stick together when it comes to personal interests and life goals anyway? Since when does my going to school, dressing a certain way, speaking a certain way, or dating someone have anything to do with bettering the race or fighting for justice? I don't put on my clothes thinking "hmmm, I shouldn't wear this dress because this could harm Black people". I don't decide "hmmm I'm going to curse out this White woman today because that will help Black people" lol (doesn't it sound ludicrous to always think about race before doing anything?). MY LIFE IS NOT A PROTEST! We need to THINK about the lives we want, set goals, and figure out the best ways to achieve those goals by THINKING and looking at other people who have achieved similar goals (regardless of race). Based on my goals I don't think that acting like a stereotype would have helped me one bit. People should do what works for them instead of doing something because supposedly that's what members of their race do. I mean if Black people started jumping off cliffs would you do it too? Maybe if you searched for yourself and examined the people in your own life you would see the media is distorting the truth. Maybe those things labelled "Black" are not that Black after all.

I might agree with about 98% of what this man is saying omg!

May as well post another one just because :) Ok, he says if a woman goes out with him on 3 date's she's his girlfriend??? Where in the world can I find a man who thinks like that??? Yeah, I don't like the sandwich jokes...

Related Articles:
If feels weird seeing all these lists of things Black people like, dislike, do and don't do but I don't see other races doing this as much. I mean there are things associated with other cultures but it's not as strict or talked about in the same way. It's like when other races talk about this stuff there isn't this underlying "if you don't do this then you are no longer a part of this race, you hate yourself, you hate your race, and you need therapy" sort of notion. I mean it's funny to laugh at common traits but there shouldn't be pressure to conform to those traits or else risk expulsion from the group!
Stuff Black people like blog
Things Black people like blog (yeah yeah I like hot sauce and cocoa butter..whatever lol)
Stuff Black people don't like blog "This website will serve to educate the general public on Black people and the Stuff That Black People Don't Like. Black people have many interesting eccentricities, which include disliking a litany of everyday events, places, household objects and other aspects of their everyday life. Black people are an interesting subject matter and this website will chronicle the many problems in life that agitate this group of people." (seriously?...)
Stuff Black people hate
Stuff educated Black people like (Oh noes she's calling me out! I like a lot of stuff on this list..does that mean I'm a stereotype???)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Are Women in Competition?

Dating and self-promotion "Self promotion begins with the basic product for sale - you. If it is no good, no one will buy into it. You may be able to fool the odd one or two but that's about it. So the first step has to be to sort out your product and make sure it is as appealing as possible. Whilst I get lots of comments about how one has matured and is able to look below the surface, the surface is the first thing we encounter so it needs to be presentable." I'm definitely not the first to think about dating and marriage using business models! You should really read this article!
I am agnostic. That means I am highly skeptical about the existence of God and I am not religious in any way. That means I do not believe that if I am a good person then someone out there will send me the good things that I want. I do not believe my praying or wishing for things will make them happen for me. I do not believe that the universe will give me what I desire. I do believe that if I want things then I have to decide to do something to make those things happen. Notice I said I have to DO SOMETHING.

The problem is that the things I want are not easy to get (at least not for me). It takes a great effort and a lot of time to have a great career. It takes a lot of effort to make and keep friends. It also takes a great effort to be in the right places to be asked out by men, to be well behaved enough to not get dumped because of one's behaviour (sometimes it just happens not due to anything the woman did), and to get along with a man in order to have a lasting relationship. In all of these cases I don't think I can just sit back and expect all of these things to happen without any effort from myself.

Furthermore, it's not as though there are enough great careers out there for everyone who wants them. That's why we compete to be the best, know the right people, and present ourselves best during interviews...we are competing with other people for the same jobs. There are only so many hours in a day for your friends to spend with you so in a way, you have to compete for their attention by making plans to see them, calling them, and staying on their radar. You should all be making an effort in this regards. But if your friend is always the one contacting you and you make no effort they may think you don't care and start spending time with other friends. Maintaining friendships takes effort or they may fade.

This brings me to the man issue. Every woman wants a good man who will love only her. They also want someone who has the qualities they want (e.g., good looking, kind, good provider, wants kids, believes in marriage, single etc.). Well I don't think there are enough perfect guys out there for every woman who wants one mainly because perfect guys don't exist and those who are close to perfect are not as common as those with major flaws. Plus, because of personality differences you might not get along with a seemingly perfect guy. On top of that in Western societies it is still the norm for men to pursue women so all a woman can do is  be present and attractive in settings where potential dates can ask her out. So a woman can make an effort to be attractive and be seen by men. In these settings men have their pick and they want the best woman they can get so THEY WILL COMPARE YOU TO OTHER WOMEN! Many even rank women before deciding to approach or date you! So no, I do not want to be in competition with other women but I am because men are comparing us. If I was the only woman on a deserted island with 5 guys then they would be competing for me and I could sit back and make no effort (or at least not repulse them all by my appearance and behaviour). But that's not my reality.

I am a realist and I accept the reality that men are the pursuers and they will compare me to other women before asking me out or becoming monogamous. This means I am in competition with the other women he could choose. So if I want that man I have to look and behave in a way that makes me more appealing than the other women. I want a man and I will do what I need to do (within reason while being ladylike) to attract and keep the one I want. In the past (and even in many places today) this endeavor used to be the most important thing in women's lives! From a young age they learned skills and were groomed to be good wives but now we look down on that! Don't kid yourself by thinking this is unfair because men are also trained from a young age to be good husbands and highly masculine. Seriously I do not understand women nowadays who don't get this! Do you live under a rock? How can you not think you are in competition with other women? Maybe it's vanity or something and you think Mr. Right will just magically appear and choose you despite letting yourself go and your nasty, argumentative attitude but whatever. I have no time for those daydreams.

I'm not going to argue with men about what they should look for in a woman, how wrong it is to rank us, or why they are wrong for being attracted to certain women. This is RIDICULOUS and USELESS behaviour that many women are serious about, especially on women's issue/feminist blogs. It really makes women look insane trying to tell men what they should want. If men are attracted to beautiful and sexually attractive women then your trying to convince them to ignore those things is not only arrogant, but useless because we have little mental control over who we find physically attractive. Plus, I'm sure if a woman is beautiful but horrible many men would give her up once they learned the truth. They have to learn if they can get along with you, they won't be sure of this just looking at you. This "he should like me only for my personality" stuff has to end. He can like you for whatever reason he wants and you can't control that! You can only dump him if you don't like his reasons. The same goes for women because we can like men for whatever reason we want. Let people like what they like instead of using rationalization, shame, guilt, or something else to convince them their preferences are wrong. That's just useless and annoying. You just have to be attractive, you can't convince someone of that, they have to see that for is cheap.

As usual, you can do what you want, don't compete if you don't want to :)

Related Articles:
Yes women do compete for men
The game theory of female competition
Romance is dead: reflections on today's dating scene (yes, there is research studying the ways women compete for men)."Related to this issue of competition is that many women try to determine what potential rivals are doing so that they can be unique, but not too unique as to become freakish. The majority of women I've talked to undertake considerable effort to think about their rivals, and what they will be facing in terms of competition."
Dating dish: self-promotion
Women use Facebook to compete for men

Touching Black Women's Hair

NOTE: This is not a post about letting random White people you don't know come up and grab your hair without asking. Please keep that in mind while reading this post :)

It's really interesting the way someone can love something while others will hate it. I think it really all depends on your personal experiences (socialization), opinions, your environment, and the way you see the world.
Touching Black women's hair seems to be an issue for some. It's amazing how many women become outraged over the idea that someone wants to touch their hair! It creates anger! I have constantly seen the response, "Why should I let them touch my hair, I'm not in a petting zoo!". No one said you were an animal in a zoo but why do you equate touching a WOMAN's hair with touching an animal? First of all, why are YOU comparing yourself to an animal in a zoo?!! Did the person say, "you remind me of an animal so I want to pet you?" Did they say "you look like a woolly dog so can I pet you?" NO! They usually say "your hair is so pretty/amazing/full/big/coily etc. can I touch it?" It is you who are reminded of racist sentiments that rush to your mind. Isn't it hard always thinking such hurtful thoughts all the time? Why is it your natural impulse to think the person is a racist and has bad intentions instead of good intentions and curiosity? Are they treating you like an animal even if they are Black? If not, then why do you have a problem with Black people touching your hair? Okay, you may not want strangers to touch you, understandable.

But why in the world can't your friends, family, or dates touch your hair? You mean a guy can kiss you or sleep with you but he can't touch your hair??? This is a case where ignorance really is bliss because if your mind was not so filled with thoughts and stories about racism then you would actually enjoy having your hair touched. I had it done last night and I loved it! And guess what...I touched his hair too and it felt good! Did you know that many men LOVE to have their heads touched and massaged by women? If it is so horrible then why do they like it? One of your most powerful romantic tools as a woman is the power of your touch...use it instead of giving up sex so easily! Is this about weaves that you are ashamed of? Some many women say I love to change up their style, it's just hair so it's not important, White women wear weaves etc. so why make a fuss if it's not big deal? Is this about using greasy products? Well then maybe you need to stop buying that useless crap that's marketed to us and start using something different. I don't use any grease or oils on my hair and it feels fantastic (I'm all about super moisturizing with conditioner).

I think this is weird. Why are you so defensive and closed off? Why is this such a big deal? I get grossed out when people burp or pick their noses, but touching my hair, even by strangers doesn't anger me. I just don't feel the way you do about this issue. Here is the link to another funny (but crude) VIDEO about a man's views on the issue. 

Black ladies, do you realize that women of other races let their friends, family, and romantic interests touch their hair? It is a sign of affection and it feels good to the woman and the person touching their hair. People would not allow or try to do it if it didn't feel good. I get that it may be annoying if a stranger just grabs your hair without asking or if you are a germaphobe but if someone you know asks why make such a big deal over it? It make you look like a nutbar! It's your hair not your breast or something! People don't try to touch smelly, dirty, ugly hair. They touch hair that looks like it would feel good or at least not unpleasant. I would think that after having a horrible experience touching nasty hair people would stop trying to do it, so obviously they have had good experiences with it. The people who ask to touch have probably also had the pleasure of having their hair touched. This may explain why some are shocked by your aversion. It reminds me of how weird it is when people react negatively to a compliment...that goes against the complimenter's experience giving and receiving compliments.

The whole hair thing also reminds me of those stories of babies raised in Russian orphanages. You can read about the benefits of touch in this article called Touching Empathy. It's like some Black women are deprived of being touched in a good way and the article explains all the positive things that these women have not received. It's really an unfortunate thing. But there is a reason why hugs and massages feel good and they have nothing to do with you being treated like an animal in a zoo! These things are pleasurable, this is the "good touch." Ask yourself how often you received the "good touch" from family, friends, and love interests in your life? Are you uncomfortable showing or receiving physical affection? If so then you are missing out on one of the most enjoyable things in life. If you have received the "bad touch" and that is the reason why you don't like being touched then this may actually be good for you so you can find out that not all touch is horrible. You need to desensitize yourself to the anxiety raised when someone touches or wants to touch you. This also reminds me of all of those movies where a person is afraid to do something they have never done before and an experienced teacher tells them to "let go of your inhibitions" because they will see there is nothing to fear and it is their thoughts that are keeping them back from experiencing something that could positively change their life. Maybe it would help you to let someone you care about touch your hair and you could touch theirs. I think Black women need to get over this issue and allow themselves to feel what other people are experiencing.

Someone may come back stating during slavery this, during Jim Crow that, racists think A, B, and C as reasons why they won't let someone they know touch their hair. I don't see the point in referring to the way people acted so far in the past (before many were born) or to what happened in another country. My being Canadian from the Caribbean is probably part of the reason why I don't look to those things as reasons why someone shouldn't be allowed to touch my hair. I also know my hair feels amazing so I have nothing to fear. I guess when it comes to touching my hair that's one issue where I'm extremely liberal. I've heard that in some countries there are actually people called "Untouchables" because of their social caste, they are treated horribly, and they are prevented from having the opportunities that the rest of society enjoys. I think that's awful. Why are you labeling yourself untouchable? What's the worst thing that could happen if someone touched your hair? It's one thing if you used too much product or it's too dry so you think the person will react negatively, but thinking up all of these racist, animal in a zoo fears is really, really excessive.

But you can do whatever you want to do and you don't have to let anyone touch your hair what you want. I'm writing about this because I find it annoying when people put out statements saying "never touch a Black woman's hair" because I am Black and I don't want people to treat me differently from other women  :)

Related Articles:
Evidence that little touches do mean so much (excellent)
Touching makes you healthier
The benefits of human touch
Touchless society (video)
Hair touching: why I don't necessarily mind it
Black women want their heads rubbed too
Playing with her hair: Does it make sense?
Pick up artists are actually teaching men to touch women's hair (some foul language)
Advice from, "Maintaining their gorgeous locks isn’t the only reason women go to their hairstylists so often. The process of wash, cut, color, and styling can actually be quite a stress reliever. Running your hands gently through her hair is a surefire way to send tingles down her spine. Let your fingers massage circles from her temples to the nape of her neck and she’ll be putty in your hands." not applicable to  some Black women I guess.

Just because...Edgy pixie cuts are back, but do they kill your attraction?
Why do men like women with long hair? "Another reason why men love long hair in women is that, they love to touch it. Men love to touch women, hug women, they like to think about touching your soft hair and it's very attractive to them."
Do men prefer long hair on women? The answer is yes