I admit that I am not particularly sensitive to the woes of white femininity. Nevertheless, I do acknowledge that said woes do exist. I understand the woes of white femininity with the following analogy: a heist took place centuries ago, a heist that included white women. White women received a portion of the profit, a profit that was both unequal and inequitable to their white male counterparts, but a portion nevertheless. This blog exists in conversation with those not handed a systemic advantage, or portion of the racial heist that encompasses America.
Apparently this purpose did not resonate clearly in an article I wrote last month entitled “The Whines of Whitewomaning: An Encore to Black Art.” The post was reposted on Reddit and received an example of white-womaning in the following response which has been edited to avoid staining this site with expletives:
You know what? I’ll “whitewoman” and say it: this is bullsh*t. It’s not a challenge to the “privilege” of white women to call them ugly and undesirable. You know why? Because we didn’t f*cking create those standards of beauty. And white women who fell short didn’t do very fucking well, unless they were fortunate to come from secure material conditions.
“Black poems to smear on girdlemama mulatto bitches whose brains are red jelly stuck between ‘lizabeth Taylor’s toes. Stinking whores!”
Ah, imagery of violence against women (tied to their failure to be sufficiently pleasing), topped with sex-based insults. What a compelling challenge to the power structure.
This comment not only illustrates the predictable white rage that accompanies black confidence, but an inability to circumvent or conceal racist thinking. It does not matter who created western beauty standards—what matters is that the system functions and it functions to the benefit of white women.
The comment distorts the perspective conveyed in the post as a result of white narcissism, or an inability to see past one’s whiteness to acknowledge or understand the plights of others. It is also blatantly ironic that this comment, much like the Diddy tweet that inspired the article, is a desperate attempt of inclusion from a faction omitted in a subtle celebration of blackness.
The comment appears the product often unconventional white beauty—annoyed at what seems like an attack on a privilege that she perceives as not working to her benefit.
The counter is two-fold:
- That white women did not make standards
- That this systtem does not benefit the unconventional white beauty
Forgive me if the cries of a white woman deemed “ugly” by standards that benefit her regardless fall on deaf ears darkened by the same melanin that deems black features irrelevant in a climate that is designed to favor whites. Ugliness on white women does not negate their privilege or their ability to succeed, acquire wealth, or imbue appreciation. The Queen of England, Hilary Clinton, even actress Sarah Jessica Parker are examples of white women who do not meet white standards of beauty, but whose whiteness breeds an appreciation that translates to exploitation when intertwined with blackness.
The issue is not whether white women are responsible for the implementation of said standards. The issue is that white women benefit from said standards—whether they are beautiful or not.
The individual status of white female aesthetics is far less significant that the reality that they are white. In short, being an “ugly” white woman is notably more beneficial than being a beautiful black woman.
While this particular claim reflects the thoughts of an individual, the issue of white narcissism is a systemic act of deflection consistently performed by members of the white collective to distract from issues surrounding blacks and racism. Namely, white-womaning functions to place white female oppression at the forefront of contemporary societal conflict.
There are many issues in the world, but white female oppression is not one of them. White female supremacy, on the other hand, is a pressing issue.
This commenter displays a form of white female supremacy vastly different from those who wish to appropriate the black struggle as a means to appear a hero, or those who recruit blacks as soldiers in their war. Instead this type of white womanining paints blacks in the same image referenced by W.E.B. Dubois in The Souls of Blacks Folks— a problem.
Namely, this comment depicts white women as the victim of violent poetry and severe misunderstanding. Amiri Baraka’s poem is of course not violent, but his words are used by disgruntled white women to substantiate falsified claims of black “aggression.” This attempt at victimhood is of course racist and layered in ignorance veiled as an opinion.
The image provided by poet Amiri Baraka in “Black Art” which references the brains of self-hating blacks as jam between famed actress Elizabeth Taylor’s toes,
verbally sullies the white skin of Taylor-who symbolizes the white female collective. The com
menter either misinterprets the”brains” referenced in Baraka’s poem as those of the white women, in rendering a familiar invisibility to black female bodies or attributes the darkening or sullying of white skin as “violent” or “aggressive.” Furthermore, “blackness” exists negatively to the commenter, who either erases the black body in her interpretation of or attributes sullied, or “blackened” white skin as negative–reflecting a deep seeded prejudice towards blackness. This inadvertent admission proves that evenan “ugly” white woman still thinks she is superior to black women.
In closing, this comment while not articulate or insightful, proved a catalyst for explicating how deeply embedded racism is in those who seem to speak out against it. May we all turn negative racist commentary into moments of enlightenment for ourselves and our collective.
Black Power ❤