Tag Archives: Black

Transformations: Beauty Is Her Name


 

Recently, after doing a post for @TBBBoutique (Beauty Boudoir) I was asked to give my opinion to a bimonthly women’s discussion group that takes place in their Boudoir in Florida.  It’s called Gucci, Godiva, & God Nights. (See About on guccigodivagod.com for what they are about) They meet and discuss topics ranging from “What does a domestic woman look like in 2011?” to ” Sex & Celibacy”.  One week they took a dive into discussing beauty.  They discussed comments from well-known rappers and celebrities about skin color and beauty such as “Dark Skinned Women are not attractive” to some men’s infatuation with long straight hair and aversion to short natural styles. They discussed media & television as it relates to ideas of beauty and asked me to weigh in on this and give a gentleman’s perspective.  Here are Some of the questions that were being posed and my responses, I invite both men and women to engage on this topic. I’m curious about what you think. Many thanks to Ms. Albany Craig,  Shivawn Mitchell & Charisma Adams at the http://thebeautyboudoir.com/ for asking me to participate.

1. What are the things that men just really don’t care about when it comes to outward beauty? 

We don’t care if you wear designer or not.

We don’t care if you if you weigh a size 8  or more, seeing that the average weight for a woman is 14/16 in the US. Stop starving yourself and just eat in moderation, exercise and be healthy. Work what you got and work it well.
We don’t care about plastic surgery. Seriously. You get hug up on that nonsense a little too much. Only shallow superficial guys care about it and most of us are NOT that guy. We like the parts He made you with so don’t mess with His original design unless it’s for health reasons.

What are the things that are deal breakers?
1. Women in age inappropriate or ill-fitted clothing. Stop wearing things your tween or teenage daughter would wear. You wouldn’t want to date a guy in his 30’s who still dresses like he was 17 would you? You are a woman, a Queen, dress like one. Besides, I don’t want to see “JUICY” across the back of your behind.
2. Too much makeup, easy on the smoky eye effect.

3. Colored contacts (you know you weren’t born with blue or grey eyes) it’s nice to look at initially, but we both know it’s not the real you.

4. Coming out the house in curlers (are they still selling those?) head wraps, slippers or pajama pants (trust me I’ve seen these things) Long multi-colored fingernails etc. You don’t have to come out of the house looking like a beauty queen all the time but we want you to present yourself in the best possible way so careful consideration is required. You can be casual and still look classy.

These things may sound superficial but they are really an insight into a persons self-esteem. Some use these things to hide behind unresolved issues of Attention, Affection, Acceptance and Approval. 

2. Can beauty be achieved through attitude, spirit, and other attributes, having nothing to do with physical appearance?
I love this question and the answer is YES!
“Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women” – Leo Tolstoy
There is nothing more seductive than an intelligent woman. her positive and engaging attitude will do more for her beauty than almost anything else. Emotionally intelligent women are even more attractive.
Yes, looks may be initially draw us in but nothing is more unattractive than a pretty woman with an empty mind, rotten spirit and a bad attitude.
Stimulate the mind and the body will follow. Beauty is more than hair, eyes, lips, hips etc. A woman with the mind of a Jedi is super attractive. Her warm inviting smile, great conversation, spiritual devotion, and positive and encouraging out look on life can make her look like a 10 in the eyes of a mature man.
 
3. Beautiful + Bad Attitude vs Not Beautiful + Great Attitude – which will a man choose?
See Question 2 What do you think?

4. How is a man’s standard of beauty formed? (father/older men in your life, friends, the media, etc)
Initially all of the above. Some of it is conditioning. But at some point a man has to choose his own value system.
Dad makes his impression, his friends make theirs. I’ve even heard of family members dictating the criteria for who they approve of based on how attractive the couples children would be. (I know you women secretly grade us based on how you think our future baby would look like) then the media pounds an “ideal” perception of beauty on TV, magazines and in advertising campaigns.  Ultimately, a man has to ask himself “How do I feel about this particular woman, why do I find her attractive or why don’t I? Asking those questions and really examining those motives will help him to discover what he’s looking for in a woman. Giving in to peer pressure from his friends or even family only makes him seem immature and superficial.

5. Is skin color still an issue for black men in 2011?
Sadly for some. (see Question 4 and the baby issue) The entertainment industry is notorious for perpetuating the battle over skin color. Scan the TV channels and you’ll see that. Rappers talk about it in their verses and videos (Kanye did it on POWER) Filmmakers tackle the issue in films and in our community it divides families. Go to a Lounge and see the this in action, do a social experiment and see for yourself how many men are diverse in their choices in who they pursue or give their attention to. It’s devastating to the ego and secretly creates a divisive wedge in the unity of the already fragile connection between our sisters. All in all if Love is developed in the heart, solidified in the mind and nurtured in the soul, the shade that it comes in won’t matter.
6. How does a man’s perception of himself affect his perception of a woman?
With the epidemic of “Father Hunger” in our communities, some men don’t even realize how their self-esteem is connected to the choices made in terms of the women they choose to sleep with, date or even marry. Even if he had a father or depending how he was raised, a man’s self-esteem can determine if he sees a woman as a threat to his “man-hood” or a partner in his relationship. If he sees himself as a “ladies man” he may see the way his peers treat their women and under subtle peer pressure, become emotionally detached and see woman as nothing more than objects to be played with, used or even worse, treated with disrespect. If he’s an “aggressive man” he may have witnessed the way his Father treated and controlled his Mother and carried that over into his own relationships, possibly leading to emotional and physical violence. If he is a “passive man” he may have seen how dominating his Mom was toward his Dad and now chooses women who either do the same to him or don’t encourage him to take the lead in the family. Hopefully through it all he aspires to be the healthy balance of an “assertive man” who understands the need to be use his power to protect and encourage, with the humility and mildness to see her as his partner and life-mate.
7. The Halle Berrys of the world are few and far between… now what?  Are you waiting for her or are you open to a non-Halle? If so, which qualities are at the forefront? 
First things first, Halle isn’t even on the top ten list. She’s been bumped off years ago in no particular order by:
Kerry Washington, Thandie Newton, Jill Marie Jones, Sanaa Lathan, Meagan Good, Taraji P. Henson, Essence Atkins, Rachel True, Tracee Ellis Ross, Selita Ebanks, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Beverly Peele, Toccara Jones, Kenya Moore need I go on? 
Second, no disrespect to Ms. Berry, but given Halle’s love history, there are issues going on just under the surface of that beauty (her former lover’s bad behavior aside) that need to be dealt with that may prevent her from having a truly enriching relationship. So no, we aren’t waiting. That said, all the women I previously mentioned have different body types and shades and personalities so there is a great variety of types to choose from. Maybe he likes the light-hearted beauty and silliness of a Taraji P. Henson, her type will keep him laughing, doesn’t take herself too seriously and would be the life of a party. 
Or maybe a quiet and powerful woman like Jada Pinkett-Smith. She may not say much, may be small in stature, but you know she’ll hold you down when things don’t go as planned. Or a Rachel True, a free spirit that’s a lot like the character she played on Half and Half. She’s got an unassuming beauty, humility and will keep you warm on those cold winter nights. 
We want qualities in you that either mirror our own or will complement us. 
If we are lacking in one area we’d love for that to be your strength. 
A mature man doesn’t mind learning from his woman and vice-versa.
 
8. What role does weight play in a man’s perception of beauty?
(See Question 1. Answer #2 & Question 2.) It plays some role. for some it’s a personal preference. A lot of my brothers appreciate a “Thick” woman. Our beautiful black women have always been blessed with voluptuous curvy bodies. Other women try to get your skin tones in the summer, get your lips through plastic surgery and try to emulate your sense of style on the street. They even try to speak your sassy lingo. All of these things make us love you so much. Granted, there are some of us who are too preoccupied with the weight issue but any man with some sense knows that weight will fluctuate due to children, life’s stress, emotional issues, hormones or just plain old genes. Recently, men are starting to feel a little pressure to get those washboard abs that you like feeling on. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s time that men felt what it’s like to feel the pressure to keep up a weight or number or an unrealistic ideal. There’s already a superficial and silly expectation for women to be nurturers, sexy lovers, business power players, wives, mothers etc. The issue of beauty and weight should be summed up simply by saying: We want you healthy, vibrant and full of life. If any of those things are an obstacle because of your weight then hopefully it can be changed by a healthier lifestyle.

9. Can a fly dress, hair, and shoe game compensate for what a woman may lack in natural beauty?
(See Question 2) Short answer? Yes. But those things should only be “accessories” for your personality because at the end of the day those things will have to be put back in the closet. By all means rock those 4″ heels, that LBD, Whip that hair back and forth, but keep in mind that it’s better to do some “Internal Styling” and “Character Tailoring” to decide if you are being the best woman you can be. Confidence balanced with Modesty, Intelligence balanced with Wisdom and Understanding coupled with a deep sense of Self-worth and Spirituality will go along way in the eyes of a man. And if he doesn’t appreciate those qualities in you then he clearly doesn’t understand God’s gift at all.
 
10. What is a man’s view of cosmetic procedures being used to obtain physical attractiveness? 
(See Question 1.) Here it goes (again): We don’t care about plastic surgery. Seriously. You women get hug up on that nonsense a little too much. Now I understand why. We know there’s a lot of pressure out there. You’ve got the media bombarding you with all these crazy messages telling you the spread of your nose is too wide, your breast may be too small (I peeped Persia Whites’ nip-tuck transformation in the middle of one season of Girlfriends) or even that you need to “lighten” up a bit. But only shallow superficial guys care about it and most of us are NOT that guy. We like the parts He made you with so don’t mess with His original design unless it’s for health reasons. Be powerful, be beautiful, be you. Don’t worry, you still turn our heads when you walk by.
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Transformations: The Family That “Preys”


Madea’s Big Happy Family comes out this weekend and there has been a “feud” brewing that has spilled out into the media between Director Spike Lee and director Tyler Perry . Now, I’ll do my best to recap: In 2009 in an interview Mr. Lee, while acknowledging the success of Mr. Perry’s films thought that it solidified or promoted negative stereotypes of blacks in America.

“Each artist should be allowed to pursue their artistic endeavors, but I still think there is a lot of stuff out today that is coonery and buffoonery,” he said in ’09. “I know it’s making a lot of money and breaking records, but we can do better. … I am a huge basketball fan, and when I watch the games on TNT, I see these two ads for these two shows (Tyler Perry’s ‘Meet the Browns’ and ‘House of Payne’), and I am scratching my head. We got a black president, and we going back to Mantan Moreland and Sleep ‘n’ Eat?”Spike Lee

“This is where the whole Spike Lee [thing] comes from — the negativity, this is Stepin Fetchit, this is coonery, this is buffoonery, and they try to get people to get on this bandwagon with them, to get this mob mentality to come against what I’m doing. I’ve never seen Jewish people attackSeinfeld and say ‘this is a stereotype,’ I’ve never seen Italian people attack The Sopranos, I’ve never seen Jewish people complaining about Mrs. Doubtfire or Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie. I never saw it. It’s always black people, and this is something that I cannot undo. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois went through the exact same thing; Langston Hughes said that Zora Neale Hurston, the woman who wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God, was a new version of the darkie because she spoke in a southern dialect and a Southern tone.”Tyler Perry

Let that marinate for a bit. Now, see if you can take the racial context out. Done? Ok. What is this really about? Two people with the same goal. To inform, entertain and most of all inspire us with a dialogue surrounding the struggles of ordinary people who overcome situations in their lives and come out on the other side empowered and transformed. Same goal but through different means. One through serious, rigorous debate and the other through feel good laughter. Which one is right? Does one have to be wrong?

I think there is a lesson in this. Many times we meet people who have the same desire as we do, the same passions as we do and possibly the same goals that we have. We find similarities and possible kinship in them because we sense that they share the same aspirations. We go our own way, learning, achieving, reaching higher until our goal(s) are accomplished. But we mustn’t criticize or look down on those who go a different route, forge a different path, traveling in a way that may seem strange or different to us. I’m learning this lesson. It’s all part of the “transformational” process. It’s all in an effort to be balance in my thinking. My goal is to be the best version of myself that I can be. There are those who are on the same road that I’m on, only they chose their own direction. They navigate themselves differently. Instead of “preying” on the differences and criticizing the person, I’m going to pray that we all reach our goal of self-improvement and encourage, empower and assist each other. Maybe sometime soon Spike and Tyler can hopefully display the unity that’s so badly needed.

Dedicated to all the men out there that are who are working hard out there battling the negative  stereotypes in their own special way.

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Transformations: Men and Violence


Transformations: “Tough Guise” Promo for an interesting, insightful, and perhaps important documentary on male violence.

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