Note from BW of Brazil: In today’s text, Aline Xavier approaches a topic that has been covered in a number of posts on this blog: the solitude/loneliness of the black woman. She considers some of the reasons for which she and other black women seem to have so much trouble establishing long-lasting relationships while for others it seems to be so easy. There are no clear answers to some of the questions posed in this piece, but it’s good to see people asking the questions.
THE BLACK WOMAN FOR MARRYING IS THE WHITE WOMAN
Otherwise, there’s only the intense desire for sex without commitment. Only.
By Aline Xavier
Women are objectified in general, this is a fact. However, some of them suffer multiple oppressions. As a woman and black, every day I feel on my back the weight of sexism and also racism – a fruit of the past and a slave mind that unfortunately still exists in society. We are seen as easy, hot, and intensely desired for sex without commitment – or at most to frugal involvements.
On the other hand, we are passed over for solid and lasting involvements. As if we were less worthy, less valued. Including – and perhaps – mainly by black men (but that’s a topic for another text). The masculine wing defends itself and swears with feet together that their preferences are nothing more than a “question of taste”. But tastes are socially constructed, conforming to standards to which we are exposed from childhood.
I never had a serious relationship – and I know that this is not only due to my level of beauty and the fact of being a fat woman. I have white friends, or friends with lighter skin, as fat or fatter than me, those that, in their majority, are fiancées or married (1). Some happy, others not. But the point is that they have or had some history of love to tell, unlike me.
I remember when I met a guy in college – with whom I had the longest “involvement” of my whole life – three months. He claimed not to be prioritizing dating at the time, and proposed that we get to know each other without much expectation. I agreed and after a while, it ended, apparently without reason, because I never demanded a relationship from him. Three weeks later, he was dating a classmate – white, blonde with light colored clear and slender – wearing a ring of commitment and proclaiming to the world how much he was in love. Can you imagine how I felt?
And there is no doubt that the woman considered beautiful considered who appears on television frequently, who is on the cover and fills pages of fashion magazines, that plays relevant roles in film and theater – just to name a few, is white (and thin) . The black women who have some space are, mostly, those with cabelos cacheados (curly hair), lighter skin and eyes and with Caucasian features. That is, more acceptable and closer to the Eurocentric beauty of standard such as Taís Araújo, Camila Pitanga and Ildi Silva.
Rarely a negra retinta (a very dark skinned woman) – is seen in the media. And when she does appear, she is almost always representing subaltern and/or stereotypical roles: the favelada barraqueira (troublemaker from the ghetto), the “mulata” that goes to every Sunday samba and always shakes her hips and the rude ones that fights because of man, among others.
According to sociologist Ana Paula Alves Pacheco:
“In our cultural imaginary, racial characteristics and phenotypes of the black woman – considering skin color, hair characteristics, aesthetics – are all the time associated with negative stereotypes. These representations are linked not only to the social imaginary, but also to the academic and literary imagination. In music, in the socially produced images, which always stood out (in relation to black women) are these characteristics related to a sexualized behavior, almost servile – and this is the reproduction of a quite-colonial conception, almost that the reproduced image of the slave woman who would be, therefore, for serving the other, the master. And the other representation is that of work, as the black woman would be ‘jack of all trades’, she would be good for the servile and housework, and would not be a woman with desires, with the possibility of constructing an affectivity, to have personal projects, relatives, of a woman who has the ability to think. In contrast, the image of the white woman is linked to a behavior more consistent with an expectation of a more traditional genre, one that would be ideal to marry, to maintain a relationship, to be a mother, while the black woman would not fit in this representation.”
The passing over of us, black women, leads to physical and especially mental illness. Chronic anxiety and depression are common and make us more vulnerable to abusive relationships. The emotional loneliness based on color destroys self-esteem. So empowerment is a political act so important. Seeing the existing beauty in our hair, lips and noses is essential for us to recognize our value as women.
And to white and black men, it’s fitting the responsibility to reflect on their tastes and mainly deconstruct them. Because if the preference of almost all is just a skin color, there is something very wrong here.
I leave here some reading suggestions: “Síndrome de Cirilo e a solidão da mulher negra” (Cirilo’s syndrome and the loneliness of the black woman), “A solidão da mulher negra e o racismo cotidiano” (The loneliness of the black woman and everyday racism) and “A solidão tem cor” (loneliness has color).
About Aline Xavier: Psychologist for friends, doesn’t know what to do with her own life. Passionate about black sheep, with which she commonly identifies herself. Is gradually discovering herself in writing courses and weekly therapy. She writes at alinexavier.me.
Source: SOS Solteiros