Outward pressure leads black women to insecurity

“At the buried core of women’s identity is a distinct and vital self, first articulated in childhood, a root identity that gets cut off in the process of growing up female,” said Emily Hancock author of The Girl Within.

I think that as we get older we begin to think more about how we look and give into the social norms of society to be sexy.

In many instances, if you do not conform, you are either unaccepted or overlooked.

If a woman who is sexy and exploited is compared to an equally attractive woman who is not exploited, the exploited woman is most likely to be praised by men.

We are constantly comparing ourselves to the next woman. Some of us try to find faults in what another woman looks like in order to make ourselves feel better. I don’t think it’s jealously; I think we are nurturing our insecurities.

Also, women on TV set the standard for what is considered to be sexy. Shows like VH1’s “The Most Wanted Bodies” and music videos are perfect examples of women being exploited and misrepresented on television.

I also believe women care about their looks in order to please their significant others or families. But trying to meet the standards of what is considered to be the perfect woman with the perfect body is a wear and tear on any woman’s emotional state.

Carol Lewis, owner of CSL Image Consulting Inc., said “African-American women like to draw attention to themselves. It’s important for us to establish ourselves as being unique.”

Because the pressure for women to look a certain way is so intense, we often forget who we are in the process. We compete to prove ourselves to everyone else except ourselves. Why is that?

I feel the pressure on black women will remain the same as long as the younger generation continues to be exposed to the indecent portrayal of women, rather it is through TV and magazines or their mothers, sisters, aunts or cousins.

In other words, children are exposed to women being portrayed in a highly sexual manner so often they have become numb to the fact. Because of the exposure, a false sense of reality relative to the epitome of women is created.

It is important that the younger and older generations recognize that even though women are often portrayed in a sexual manner, it does not always represent who they are on the inside.

It’s like Beyonce said, “We all have our imperfections, but I’m human and, you know, it’s important to concentrate on other qualities besides outer beauty.” In other words, it is time to realize that all black women are beautiful.

Gerrolynn Gadson is a senior public relations major from Jacksonville. She can be reached at Truly_determined@yahoo.com.