Dear Light Girls,
I was delighted with all of the positive feedback and messages I received from my Dear Dark Girls post in August. I did promise there would be a part 2 so here it is. It took me a while but after posting part 1 I became extremely busy and wanted to make sure I put as much into Part 2 as I did Part 1, you can find Dear Dark Girls Here. As stated on my last post this is absolutely not to create more of a divide but to bring us all together. Not just black women, all women, all men, everyone. I feel like it is my duty as a strong-minded black women to bring these issues to light and encourage open conversations about topics like race.
Surrounded by many skin tones throughout my life I never saw colour. I feel proud to be a dark skin woman and know what struggles come with being one. What I will never experience is the struggle of being a light skin woman or mix race woman. It is something I can see and listen to but never fully understand because I am not living it. What I do see is lighter/white skin tones being praised in the media and jokes on social media about how light skin girls or light skin men act. Let me show you a few…
Just to clarify these images portray an idea that light skin women are stuck up and love themselves to a point of thinking they are better than others . The stereotype about light skin men is that they are soft, insecure, affectionate and weak, very different. I am aware memes are just jokes but we all know that jokes come from somewhat of an honest thought.
I took action and spoke to a few lighter skin women to get a greater understanding of what their world is like.
How do you think lighter skin women are portrayed on social media?
Woman 1 - “The social media age definitely reinforces the slave mentality that lighter is better. However I would say that the whole light skin; curly hair thing is starting to die down particularly since sites like Tumblr aren’t as popular. What’s interesting is we’re starting to see light skin girls and white girls (confused, but noting against them) adopt more traditionally black girl hairstyles e.g. braids, and more people praising darker skin girls.”
Woman 2 - “I feel like we are treated like a joke most of the time… ‘light skin girls think they are nice, light skin girls take long to reply, lighty this and that.’ They represent us completely wrong. I also feel like we are ‘bullied’ simply because a few dark skin women that justify themselves on social media for some reason throw shade to light skin women in the process. Why do we have to be belittled for you to express your feelings?”
Woman 1 - “On social media they are shown as being more beautiful, stoosh, hoes, don’t return calls etc. Which is true for a certain number, I’m sure there are some girls like that but to say that is a representation of all light skin girls is 100% incorrect.”
What stereotypes are there about people of a lighter skin tone?
Woman 3 - “Light skin guy he is a sweet guy like Drake for example, light skin girl she’s a hoe. Something that really annoys me, similar to when dark skin girls hear ‘You are pretty for a dark skin’ is hearing ‘She thinks she’s nice because she’s light skin’. How can I think I am nice because I have a particular skin colour? Dark skin girls act like they are nice, white girls act like their nice, it isn’t a particular skin colour. When I am on the street and I hear ‘Yo lighty’ that annoys me, If I thought an Indian guy was nice I would not shout ‘Yo Indie’.
Growing up what comments did you hear about your own skin colour?
Woman 1 - “Oh I thought you were mixed race and things like that. There’s nothing wrong with being mixed race but what is weird is that some people would say it in a negative way; I think they try to make me feel like less of a black woman. Some people seem disappointed when I tell them I am fully black, It is so strange. Equally I have experienced people praising my skin colour, which is nice - and not because they think it’s more superior to other shades, simply because they genuinely like it.”
Woman 3 - “When I was younger I did not see colour. I just thought I was the same as any other black person, which I am. I knew I was different from white people for example because we had a very different skin tone, different hair texture and a different upbringing. But I just saw black as black.”
Have you seen the Dark Girls / Light Girls documentaries? What were your thoughts?
Woman 1 - “Yes, it was interesting to see how black women of lighter and darker skin tones have very different, yet very similar experiences. Whilst darker women may experience disapproval from men, lighter skin women experience it from women. Both experiences equally damaging to a black woman’s confidence, both reinforcing what slavery taught.
Do you think some men date a specific skin colour to uphold a certain image?
Woman 1 - “Yes, which is highly embarrassing. Skin colour has nothing to do with the soul or character of a woman.”
Woman 3 - “Not particularly, I think men just have preferences. I will say that when a celebrity man is married to a darker skin women a lot of people are like ‘Yeah, he married a sister.’ Which I get but why would he be seen inferior if he wanted to marry another race.
Speaking to these women was very insightful and did link to what I watched in the light girls documentary. Check out the clip below
I've personally seen people act as if the struggle of being a darker skin woman is greater than the struggle of being a lighter skin women, which is untrue. There were darker skinned women in the documentary that admitted to bullying and harming lighter girls in school because of their skin colour and light skin women who were victims to this. There were also women who mentioned the way men react to their skin colour. I can only imagine how degrading it must feel to think someone may be interested in you because of your skin colour or constantly being judged because you have lighter skin. What about your amazing character, your soul and your mentality? The black woman is so much more than her exterior. In 2017 I am encouraging all black women to say ‘no’. Do not want me because I am black, do not want me because I am light skin and do not want me because you think ‘black is cool’.
Unfortunately because of the media continuously reinforcing that ‘lighter is better’ there are some darker women still hating themselves and wishing for lighter skin, some even go as far as bleaching (Which I think will have to be a whole other blog post). However there are also light skin women wishing they were darker which I think isn’t acknowledged in the same way. My own mother told me when she was younger she wanted to be darker and wished she had the same skin tone of her mother. If you are being made to feel ‘less black’ because you are light or if people are confused about your skin colour, it would make sense for lighter women to feel this way. THIS IS NOT OK, being black is much more than your skin colour.
Black is your upbringing.
Black is your family.
Black is your home.
Black is the food you eat.
Black is your hair texture.
Black is your history.
Black is who you are no matter what shade you happen to be.
Can we stop judging people based on things they cannot change about themselves? If someone were to insult me on my physical appearance it may hurt my feelings for a minute but I am not going to dwell on factors I cannot change. We were all made perfectly, why are we complaining about physical factors and then complaining about those who get surgery? Because this world is full of nothing but hypocrites.
As human beings it is our responsibility to acknowledge how we are reacting to skin colour and other physical factors. We shouldn’t be praising anyone because of the colour of their skin and we shouldn’t be degrading anyone because of the colour of their skin. Light skin women are beautiful, they are full of character, full of life and have a lot more to offer that what may meet your eye. They are not superior to anyone because of the colour of their skin and unless they have personally done something to make you think they think they are better than anyone, they DO NOT think they are.
Dear Light Girls, Please do not allow a man into your space if he only shows an interest in your skin colour. You know what you have to offer, do not settle for anything less of what you deserve.
Dear Black Women, We are black. No one can steal our black girl magic!
Always with love,
Shay RS x