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I thought I didn’t have anything new and motivational to say today, so I was going to continue on with my series on how I stay so positive, but then the twitterverse exploded all over my timeline. People were hurt, angry, frustrated, and feelign beat up on…again. There was another article, another headline, about why Black women were, again, inferior.

Maybe you are unfamiliar with this particular media trend. If you are, suffice it to say…the media wants Black women to know just how undesirable we are. Yes, they do. CNN is doing specials on why we are all STILL single. People are pushing us to date outside of our race because it’s our only hope. We are told to be independent, then berated for not letting men be men. No man wants a woman who is basically a man. We can’t win for losing.

Then in (allegedly) comes Psychology today (allegedly) with an article (allegedly) entitled: “Black Women Less Attractive.” *I say allegedly because from what I gather, the article has been taken down, although no official acknowledgement of its existence nor an apology have been issued by PT.* Stop the presses! Twitter exploded with exhortations to know our worth. How dare they call our mothers, grandmothers, wives, daughters, selves unattractive? Black is beautiful…blah blah blah.

That’s all well and good to say, and hey, it got Psychology Today to batten down the hatches and wait out the storm. But the real issue should be why does this get so much attention? Why do we take this so to heart? Why is our self-esteem and self-worth reactive (based upon our reactions to what others are saying) and not proactive?

I’ve spent a lot of time with the difference between being proactive and reactive lately. I’ve spent most of my life in the struggle to love myself and have self-acceptance. I’ve been as nitpicky as the next woman of any race about how I look. If I had a gun to my head I could still spout off all the things I hate about my physical appearance with the same ease as I could commiserate with a friend about it over lunch.

Neither is the thought that African-American women are unattractive a new phenomenon. The term Black is beautiful exploded in the sixties in response to centuries of being told that we weren’t beautiful, after decades of putting everything from axle grease to lye in our hair to change its appearance. Even then, many women still struggled with how they looked. Studies were done showing little black girls didn’t think little black dolls were pretty and didn’t want to play with them (the veracity of the studies’ findings were debated and refuted with further studies, but the message had already infected the community). We’ve been fighting this war for a long time.

The difference is, for me, that I decided before I opened twitter that I love who I am. I love how I look. I’m not content with it; I’m always striving to be better. However, I know the beauty that I already have. I made a proactive choice to not let how I feel about me be swayed by how others feel about me. Whether Psychology Today polled 100,000 Americans and found that 99.9% of them thought I, as a black woman, was unattractive, or ten men attempted to get my phone number today with an additional 15 watching in appreciation as I walked by.

I don’t mean to imply that I am in any way excusing Psychology Today’s article. They knew (or should have known) the import of what they were doing, and how it would affect women of all races to be ranked in terms of attractiveness. Nor do I agree with their findings. I was always raised to believe that I was beautiful, smart, worthy all on my own, that marching to my own drum and standing for what I believed only enhanced my beauty. I was given the pretty dolls that looked like me and read the books about how beautiful my brown eyes and black hair was, yet I know that’s not every Black woman’s story.

I’ve read “Phenomenal Woman” and written my own “I’m beautiful, gosh darn it” poetry. I’m tired of trying to convince people of what I already know. My truth is that I know what’s beautiful about me: my eyes, my smile, my cheeks, my hair. There’s just nothing anybody can say that negates that. As India.Arie sang:

There ain’t no substitute for the truth
either it is or isnt…
you see the truth it, needs no proof
either it is or it isnt…
Now you know the truth by the way it feels

My truth is very simple. There are only really ever two people who need to find me attractive: myself and whoever I marry. At the moment, I find me attractive enough for the both of us. 😀

To sum it all up, I’ll leave you with a few lyrics from one of my favorite songs about self-love: 

I’m not the average girl from your video
And I ain’t built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally…

And I know my creator didn’t make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my Lips, my eyes, I’m loving what I see

But I’ve drawn the conclusion, it’s all an illusion
Confusion’s the name of the game
A misconception, a vast deception,
Something got to change

Now don’t be offended this is all my opinion
Ain’t nothing that I’m saying law
This is a true confession
Of a life learned lesson
I was sent here to share with y’all
So get in when you fit in
Go on and shine
Clear your mind
Now’s the time
Put your salt on the shelf
Go on and love yourself
‘Cause everything’s gonna be alright

That’s my two cents, anyway. Feel free to leave yours. Did you get a chance to read the article? Were you offended? Did you agree/disagree with all of the hoopla? What do you find beautiful about you?