On the heels of OWN’s premiere of the documentary Dark Girls, it is safe to say that it has become a hot topic for a variety of reasons and has left many unanswered questions to be answered about the colorism that still effects many daily.
While I heard others share that they felt the documentary missed the voices of confident dark skin girls and women. I agree. Where were the confident dark skin women that I interact with daily? Most of the dark skin women that I know are just as cute and confident as the light skin women I know including myself.
Light skin and dark skin girls alike deal with issues of self-esteem and confidence just like the next woman. They are no different. But, the question that pops into my mind based on this exclusion of confident dark girls with positive self-images about themselves is: is it easier for light skin women to build confidence?
It is no secret that our society boosts the “lighter the better and the straighter the hair the better.” It is evident from the film that this does take a toll on dark girls and women. However, it also takes a toll on light skin women as well contrary to popular belief. I can only speak from my own experience as a light skin woman, but there is much to be noted that light skin girls don’t always have it as easy sailing as folks think. Anyway, you try to shape it light skin girls are still black girls! Black, Latino, and Indian, etc girls all suffer from similar stigmas and stereotypes that seek to hold them back.
With this being said, is it easier for light skin women to build confidence? On the surface one could argue “yes,” however if one digs deep it is easy to recognize that regardless of which side you were blessed on you will still have to fight the good fight like everyone else has both a woman and colored girl.
“Being alive and being a woman is all I got, but being colored is a metaphysical dilemma I haven’t conquered yet.” Tangie, For Colored Girls
To be woman and to be colored are too things every girl and woman who possesses both must learn to love, embrace, and work in a society that doesn’t always favor this. It is no easier for one then it is the other, and if we come together and uplift one another and take it upon ourselves to make images highly visible and societal practices that suggest that beauty and brilliance lives within light, brown, and dark girls then we should be able to help one another overcome this plague of colorism that is infused in our culture and nation as a whole.
I firmly believe that a woman’s perception of herself begins in the home when she is a child. A girl’s family is her first teacher. We have to start asking ourselves what ideals and images are we feeding our baby girls. Are we telling them ‘black is beautiful’ and teaching them their cultural heritage and history? Or are we feeding them our tainted views on colorism and making them feel less than for being darker or lighter, kinkier or curlier then you envisioned? We have to start taking responsibility early or else our girls will not know how to handle the world of media, men, and people who will seek to tell them otherwise. Our girls need a solid foundation to stand on. Confidence is always built on a foundation. Color confidence is no different. Point blank. Period.
REGAL RESOURCE: Documentary to See: Shadeism
This documentary short is an introduction to the issue of shadeism, the discrimination that exists between the lighter-skinned and darker-skinned members of the same community. This documentary short looks specifically at how it affects young womyn within the African, Caribbean, and South Asian diasporas. Through the eyes and words of 5 young women and 1 little girl – all females of color – the film takes us into the thoughts and experiences of each.
I want to hear from you:
- Do you think it’s easier for light girls to gain confidence?
- How will you help end colorism within your family, community, or nation?
- What did you think of Dark Girls?
- What has been your experience with colorism?