Wednesday, August 12, 2009



I recently started playing a Zynga game on Facebook called Roller Coaster Kingdom. Much to my annoyance, I quickly discovered that not only were all the characters white in the game, but there was also no way of changing this either. I was stuck with the default. Having played other Zynga games, I've noticed a trend with them being unable to get their characters of colour right. In the game Yoville, it took many months before they finally fixed the bug that wouldn't allow characters of a darker hue (no matter how many times you would try to choose the option, the character would always revert back to the colour of sand). They have still yet to make afro hairstyles available for female players, although male players can choose to sport one if they so wish.

As a woman of colour, I am well aware of the fact that I am the alternative, and not the default. I am well aware of the fact that in being so, my physical traits are considered by the mainstream as less refined, less beautiful, and simply not as good. Its an issue that many little black girls, and grown black women (and those who straddle the bar) are left to come to terms with on a daily basis. I would be lying if I said I never doubted if I was beautiful, or ever wondered if I was treated differently based on how I look. Looks shouldn't matter, but human beings are visual, and the world is a very superficial place.

The thing is though, lost within all the hype about how great it is to be the default, is the fact that the default is boring! I'm not trying to put down those who fit perfectly into that mold, in fact more power to you for being born so perfect. I just feel that for the majority of us that were not born so blessed, trying to press ourselves into that same mold just because we are told its the best way to be, knowing deep down that we will never quite fit is incredibly stupid. Differences should be celebrated, not chastised and destroyed.

Take the example of Beyonce and Solange. Bey is your typical wannabe default, and she does a damn good job of cramming herself into that mold it must be noted...but she is very replaceable. There are a million and one defaults waiting to snatch up her spot under the light and take away her shine at any second. I'm sure she works very hard to maintain her default appearance, but why? When looking at her sister it is obvious that both women were the recipients of some good DNA. I know many will probably disagree, but I think Solange in her natural state has finally managed to out-shine her sister. Basement Baby wins this one, hands down.

When pics of Solange's new do first surfaced, I couldn't get over the ignorant comments people were making. Some even claimed that because she was a celebrity, that her wearing her hair natural didn't matter. I disagree. It matters.

When I was in highschool, I cut all my hair off for the second time in my young adult life. I don't remember ever really thinking anything of it until one day, some punk-ass white boy made a comment to a friend about not wanting to hang with a girl who had less than an inch of hair. Why she passed the comment along is beyond me, but needless to say it did its damage.

For the next 5 years, I hid behind wigs and weaves, despite the fact that I yearned for the last 3 to be rid of them. Finally, a couple of months ago I got up the courage, and the fake b.s. along with a considerable amount of my hair went bye-bye. And I couldn't be happier about it. My style inspiration: Amber Rose

I really don't give a crap what anyone thinks about this woman, she looks hot. Seeing her short hair made the wanting of my teeny weeny afro back unbearable. It wasn't just simply copying a trend for me, but a reclaiming of my natural image as being beautiful. Sure, it took seeing it on someone else for me to come to my senses, but that's ok, because I eventually did get my head right.

As much as I would like to fully agree that one can not be proud of something they have no say in, in the real world this simply is not the case. Maybe in some future utopia we will get to that point, but it hasn't happened yet. The reality is that people are proud of all sorts of things they have no business taking pride in. Not only are people proud for silly reasons, but they also make others feel shame for things out of their control. It can not be argued that we as black beings are discouraged from taking full esteem in ourselves. Praying on the differences of others is a money making business. While we continue under a fake veil of bought confidence, selling fake hair and dangerous chemicals to black women is making others rich.

So despite it being a flawed concept, I believe the only way we as black women will find balance in our lives in regards to our appearance is if we quit trying to be the default, and take pride and celebrate being the alternative. Because nobody else can do it for us, we're the only ones that can make the choice to be loved for who we are.


Felicia|DaLipstickBandit said...

I love this post! Although I didn't look at the youtube. I cut off my hair at the beginning of the summer. I think because of our cultural roots and the things we were fed in our inception...of slavery and the racial implications of hair, skin color and beauty...sadly, this is a topic that is a raodblock that we will be coming to in the future. black women's hair is now political. we're the only ones who are like that. We don't know how Bey feels about herself or Solange feels about herself. I just hope they all know that black|blue|green..wig|bald....heels|flats...gowns|jeans, they know they are beautiful...

BLACKkittenROAR said...

So very true! There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel beautiful. If wearing ur hair a certain way, or rocking a certain style makes a person feel beautiful, than more power to them. But I do believe that everyone deserves to feel beautiful just as they are. A Black woman's hair is something that has transformed itself into an entity of its own. Everyone feels the need to comment, everyone feels they have some right to dictate how she should wear it. An older white co-worker once said to me that there we're alot of "nappy-headed hoes out there" and that he'd seen so many "bad weaves". And as ignorant as the comment was, I wasn't even mad because we as black women have allowed for our worth to be dictated by our hair, never coming to its defense when someone puts it down. As a fellow natural sista, I feel u on how "political" a statement wearing my hair natural is. And it saddens me that a black woman's hair is still more than just hair. But I also feel as irritated by those who wish to denigrate other black women for wearing weave...especially when its black men. To me, a black woman wearing weave is nobodies business but her own, its a choice she makes, and if she believes in it, and it empowers her she should continue to wear it. As long as she is confident enough within herself, what does it really matter..its just hair!

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