When I logged into Facebook the other day, I saw several posts and comments about some new spray tan line, and people were furious. This line is called Emmaatan, and it features colors from caramel to onyx. Basically, it allows (white) women to spray on some brown skin.
So many sistas are very upset about this. From braids, to lip injections, and now dark brown spray tans, it seems that white women continue to imitate us and get celebrated for the very same things that we get ridiculed for. I understand why so many black women are infuriated at yet another appropriation of our bodies and features. However, I’m just not.
As I grow older and witness all of the problems going on in the black community, I just don’t have the capacity to care about white girls wanting to look black. I’m more concerned about black women bleaching their skin or putting on foundations three shades lighter than their skin. I care more about black women wanting to look like every race but their own, with fake silky Brazilian and Malaysian hair down their backs. I care about the preventable diseases (heart disease & diabetes) that are killing black women because our communities have unhealthy eating habits and often times have been mis-educated about nutrition. I care about obesity and mental illness in black women. I care about the self hate that runs rampant in my fellow sistas.
I honestly don’t care about white women wanting to look like us when the majority of us are running around with chemically processed straight hair and weaves that do no emulate African textured hair, but hair texture of another race. I’m not against weaves when they look like our natural hair. And I recognized that “white girls do it too.” However, my concern isn’t what white girls do. My concern is what WE do as a people and as a black sistahood. I know this may sound harsh, but before black women complain about white girls copying us, we need to stop trying to fit into a Eurocentric beauty standard and trying to look like them, or less black/African. It hurts to hear it, but silky straight and wavy hair are just not the typical features of women of African descent (and yes I know that some do, but that’s the anomaly, not the majority). And I know that the common defense is that we aren’t trying to look like white women, the hair is from Malaysia. But you’ve never seen a Malaysian, and the majority of the media features white women, so that is what’s in our subconscious as the beauty standard here in America: white women (not Malaysian women). And even if you were trying to look Malaysian, why? Why not just try to look like yourself, your own people, your own race? Let’s embraces the afros, the braids, the cornrows, the locs, the kinks. They are beautiful. WE are beautiful. (This is not to police us or tell us how to behave, dress, or wear our hair. It’s simply showing the double standard and how there are more important things in our community to worry about. If your hair is laid with a good weave, then you rock that weave and slay. Just know you are beautiful with out it too.)
I honestly believe that we as black women need to care more about us and what we do and how we present ourselves rather than what white women are doing. We have to realize that WE ARE THE ORIGINAL WOMAN. The first woman was an African, Negroid, BLACK woman. We are the mothers of civilization. OF COURSE they are going to copy us. You learn from your mother, and we are the mothers. It’s about time we focus on ourselves as a people and stop being so concerned about what white women do.
I do understand the pain and burden that comes along with being a black woman in the Diaspora and how wrong it is for someone to think they can take our place without our struggle. However, we have to realize that we are more than a skin color, and we shouldn’t be mad at white women for something as trivial as a spray tan. They aren’t black and they never will be. It looks fake and ridiculous. Instead of anger let’s just find humor in their attempts to be like us. Let’s stop caring about them and their shenanigans and start caring about us, our empowerment, self love, and uplifting our own selves and communities.