It is so important that Black women and girls can see images of themselves that defy racial stereotypes so that they feel free to break those stereotypes. It really is mind control! We are not all blessed with imagination, and many of us don't question why we act a certain way, or if we could be different. Sometimes just the suggestion of a different path can inspire a flurry of ideas and possibilities for someone. This is especially important for BW because, due to our history, we have been bombarded with pessimism, criticism, and legalized restrictions on what we could and could not do. Showing non-stereotypical possibilities opens minds and could lead BW and girls to defy the stereotypes. Just think back to your childhood. Do you remember ever thinking that you could not be successful, beautiful, cherished, adored, or admired because you rarely saw BW portrayed with these qualities? Only seeing White women with these traits has an impact.
So what can we do to change this? We have to seek out positive representations and support them, including support with our dollars. Selling, publishing, and buying now is easier than ever! We can produce images to show the world how we want to be represented. There are already creative people making Black dolls with Afrocentric features and natural hair, there are now many BW on TV and in movies too. I have seen some people self-publishing books and selling them, including children's books. These items can be advertised on blogs and by using social media. They can be sold using online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and many others.
Well, in the process of finding images I came across some avatar makers! Some of them are actually girls games (like paper dolls) but you dress up your "doll" online and then download the images! It was quite fun and I must have made 20 images lol! Now this may seem childish, but think about all of the logos, product covers, clothing, commercials, and art that have graphic images of non-Black people on them. These were created by adult graphic designers who make a living designing these things. I'm no graphic designer, but I think I can make some simple things to decorate my blog or post for other's use. I plan to use these avatar makers when I do posts about feminine clothing as well as using Polyvore (Polyvore allows you to create fashion collages and you can post the widget on your blog. The items in the widget will show the price and brand and link to where you can purchase the product. As far as I know it's legal). Simple things like making your own decorations, book covers, wall decorations, etc. can help you to surround yourself with EBW images rather than images of other women. I'm going to find out about some of these options and share them with you as I go along. There is no reason why BW need to beg big companies to make these things for us when we can make or find them ourselves and sell to others. What we make will probably be more affordable and more to our liking anyway.
P.S. I also learned something fantastic that may be useful to bloggers. You can now use many of the images from Getty Images for free on your blog if you use their posting widget to give credit and link to their site! So I will be able to post images of EBWs all over this blog and it will be legal! Also to see a large collection of EBW images be sure to visit my Tumblr site because it's amazing!
Avatar Makers (pretty fun!): The first thing you should do with any of the games is check if they have brown skin and the hair options you want because many don't have brown skin tones.Take a look at the FAQ pages because it may be possible to use the image you create commercially if you give credit to the artist.
- Doll Divine: My favorites are: Deluxe pin up maker, perfect dress, pin up maker, and fashion creator.
- Rinmaru Games Dress Up Games: my favorites are 50s fashion dress up game, Fashion creator v2, Shougou manga avatar creator, Ancient Greek costume creator, and Indian traditional costume creator.
- Getty Images
- Public domain archive
- Death to the stock photo
- Free images.com
- Great African American stock images from Shutterstock (they aren't free)
- 123RF African American images (they aren't free but they are really good)
DIY Fashion Collages: