Liability: Definition of LIABILITY
2: something for which one is liable; especially : pecuniary obligation : debt —usually used in plural
3: one that acts as a disadvantage : drawback
I am a liability. That’s a hard thing to admit to being, especially in the way I have to admit being one. I have liabilities, mostly financial, and I know how unwelcome they are. That makes it all the more disheartening to be one.
Let me explain how I’ve come to this sad conclusion. I was sitting at my desk listening to a podcast of 3 Chicks on Lit. They were talking to an author named Jewel Woods about his book Don’t Blame it on Rio, a book about successful Black men going to foreign countries for sex and sometimes more. He was speaking on a chapter about size ( Fat, Black & Ugly: *some subtitle I don’t remember*). He was relating how some of the middle class/corporate American Black men he interviewed for his book felt about Black Women’s bodies from the splintered standpoint of being in the middle class (and projecting that image) & in being in corporate America (which has its own standards for appearance & prejudice towards Black women’s style & shape). They complained about how we as Black women are bigger, let ourselves go after acquiring men, and don’t take care of our bodies from a health standpoint. Earlier the point was made that they are attracted to the Brazilians because they are of color and have great shapes/bodies, but also their own long hair and green eyes. He said many of these middle class Black men see most Black women, with the weaves, etc, and the bigger sizes, as liabilities, as they are not in step with what is presentable in corporate America. They don’t look sleek & sophisticated hosting business dinners & attending charity soirees. ( Mr. Woods considers himself a feminist and asserted the main point of his book is to explore why “good Black men” that Black women say they can’t find are going elsewhere. I haven’t read the book, but as soon as I get right with the library, I will, and the review will be on 2blu2btru’s Reviews.)
I know quite a few Black women who were the most in shape, well put together women I’ve ever seen. They had wifey material stamped on the bottom of their feet, LOL! A number of them DID get married or in a long-term relationship and let themselves go.
I wasn’t too surprised by some of these complaints. Michael Baisden complains of our “body magic” girdles, weaves, makeup, and everything else on his controversial radio show. My friend (we shall call him Mr. Real) has mounted a campaign against weaves for a long time. He takes issue with the phony pony! He’d shoot a lacefront off your head if it were legal! Now, I’m not up on the weave/wig game, but apparently even weave supporters are against the lacefront. Someone needs to help my none weave/wig wearing self out and provide me examples of a lacefront and why it’s so offensive, please.
What really hit home for me is the size & not keeping yourself up. There are two things required to perfect your look–time & money. There are different levels of looks you have to worry about down to the most minute detail, not just hair & nails. If you really want to keep yourself up, even if you’re “natural” (i.e. no makeup & your own chemical free hair), you must have a hair care regimen, skin care regimen, dental hygiene regimen, bathing routine, hair removal system, clothes & shoe “game”, accessory savvy, a signature scent ( that may involve layering shower gels, lotions, perfumes, & powders), manicure & pedicure, an exercise program, some knowledge of colors that complement your skin tone & each other, and a LOT of lotion. If you add in the “unnatural” elements, you have makeups that highlight & others that diminish or mask, along with lash extensions, hair extensions, relaxers, wigs, body magic, etc. It can get time-consuming, expensive, & painful. It’s also a lot of time & money many women simply do not have, or have at the expense of having lights, cars, jobs, etc.
I have my excuses why I don’t do some of these things. I have a job. I like comfort & utility. I don’t have money to buy all that crap. It takes to long to fix my long natural hair. I just want him to love me for me, anyway; if he doesn’t like me for me, oh well.
But how many excuses do we get to use to justify mediocrity and condemn men for looking for something better (just speaking for myself here)? If I don’t care enough to keep myself up for myself, how can I condemn them?
What about the intangibles? Manners, vocabulary, grace, & small talk are all necessary to the world these men inhabit–isn’t it?
In corporate America, people always say dress for success. Just as important to a corporate male as his selection of designer suits is his selection of a wife. She may be called upon to represent him at any number of social functions, host business dinners, & perhaps give a welcome address or chair a charity committee. A man wants a lady who looks good. No man wants a woman no one else wants.
I’ve seen many stay at home moms near my job–in Publix, having lunch at the pub. You can joke bout the beauty treatments & the organic food diet, but these women know their business! They are buying fresh produce in their exercise gear for a reason. They go to the spa after yoga but before dinner for a reason.
One of my minister’s qualifications for a wife, if you recall, was to keep herself beautiful to/for her man. Men are visual creatures, he said. Some of us Black women (myself chief among them) tend to kick & scream against it, but that’s the way it is, and even if it wasn’t, we have to take care of ourselves & our health.
So tell me how you feel about it: Are they being unfair to sistahs? Are Brazilians really the best of both worlds? How can we come to an understanding on this issue? Can we?
- Are Black Women’s Standards Ruining Their Chances At Love? (hellobeautiful.com)