Rosie the Riveter, was a campaign to recruit more women into the workforce during World War II. At the time, women were homemakers and relied on their breadwinner husbands for income. When a large portion of the men deployed, America needed the support of women to fill those job vacancies left behind. There was one problem with Rosie. She only represented one type of woman. The propaganda was directed towards recruiting middle class White women into the workforce. However, hidden in the shadows were Black women, often discriminated against and forgotten.
|Raising her to embrace #BGM
There were 600,000 Black women that entered the workforce during WWII. Those women had to fight for equal pay, because they sat at the bottom of an unspoken hiring racial hierarchy. Not much has changed in the workforce today. Going back to the campaign. Perhaps, a Black woman wasn’t as beautiful as the woman pictured on the posters. Rosie, with fair skin and cherry cheeks did not represent women of all walks of life. Tough stance, but subtle gaze with the words “WE CAN DO IT” failed to mention that “we” was actually quite exclusive. We did not include me. Every time I see those posters circulating around the web in celebration of Women’s History Month, all I can think is what about us?
While at a children’s birthday party this weekend, I instantly thought of Rosie after seeing a jumbo inflatable boxing glove. The funny thing is, my six year old daughter picked it up first. [sidebar]: Not too keen on gender roles and norms, I will never be the mom that tells her she can’t do something because she’s a girl. In fact, it made me proud that she wanted to play with the boys and was not afraid nor too prissy to get down and dirty in the grass. [end sidebar] Here’s to knocking out the status quo and shattering all stereotypes that society has placed on us. Here’s to teaching our daughters that they can be self sufficient and independent while still loving and honoring a man. Here’s to raising educated women that do not solely rely on their body to gain popularity or riches. Here’s to juggling a million things and succeeding at them all.
The back story to why I was moved to write on this topic: A kitchen is what Blacks refer to as the hair on the nape of the neck. I used to be embarrassed by my “kitchen.” So, I cut it off every time it grew. I religiously straightened my curls because that’s what made my hair appear longer. Whenever I saw a beautiful woman in the media, she had long hair. If it was not naturally long, extensions were added. I, like many of my sisters, ran away from the rain or any water that threatened to revert my stretched locs to a curly fro.
I also grew up hiding my pronounced derriere because it seemed like it just did not fit my body. I hated the way I spoke. You see, I’m not one of the Black girls that speaks very well or articulates the right way-the proper way. In fact, I used to wonder if I should take speech therapy classes. The more I mispronounced words, the more silent I became. Without a confident voice, I searched for ways to
present myself as more valuable than a roll in the sack. I did everything I could to avoid becoming a
baby mama and still found myself raising a black boy alone. I tried so hard not to become the stereotypical black woman until I started to learn more about her essence. What does being a Black Woman mean? Why spend my entire life being ashamed of who I am?
In general, Black women are no longer hiding in the shadows. We are busting through the doors once closed and announcing that we have arrived. We are very well aware of all that we bring to the table at home, our workplace, heck even our country of residence. What would America have been without Michelle Obama in office the last eight years? I asked a few of my Instagram followers why Black Girl Magic is necessary and they responded as follows:
@raaaaaaeeeee “For the simple reason, we aren’t shown as black women ENOUGH that there is more to us than our bodies; mass media loves to show us in the Love and Hip Hop outlets, but lack showing the doctors, the activists, entrepreneurs, and businesswomen. To give an avenue to show black girls that they are awesome in a society that doesn’t like to tell them that.”
@jessd83 I think it’s necessary, because what distinguishes Black Girls is minimized, if even acknowledged (like boxer braids). Now, more than ever with a lot of negative images available, I think these two hashtags highlighting some of the [good] things we do is refreshing and great.”
@1thought.nyc BlackGirlMagic is necessary and needed because it is the strength and power of the Black woman that has kept our people alive, giving them the strength and power to continue on. It heals the warriors. It elevates boys to men and turns men into gods. It is needed because it is the life force of the universe, if it wasn’t for the love of the black woman, society would not exist.
@thedanifaust Why is someone even asking the question? SMH
To me, Black Girl Magic, like Black Lives Matter, is not about superiority or even exclusion. It has nothing to do with placing black girls on a pedestal while demeaning others. It has NOTHING to do with any other race. I believe Black Girl Magic has everything to do with finally loving who we are. I struggled with self love for so long because of the inadequacy that I used to feel as a Black woman. I once dated a guy who told me that I was the only black woman he would ever consider marrying. That was the breaking point for me. Was I supposed to take that as a compliment? Things like that had me questioning if I was good enough throughout my twenties. Nowadays, it’s heartbreaking to see so many women that are ashamed of their unique shapes and complexions. I wish we as a people can eventually get away from the mindset of “good hair and lighter skin tones” equating the better genetic variation. People talked about the rapper, Lil Kim, but I went through the same thing she experienced-not to that degree, but it still hurt. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?
Moving beyond physical appearance, Black Girl Magic is an ongoing celebration of the strides we
have made and continue to make. It’s a reminder that we are special and don’t need to be like or look like anyone else. It’s more about celebrating OUR plight after so many years of being denied equality. Despite the struggle, our perseverance has consistently set us apart to save an entire nation of people. Generations can have better lives because of the things our sisters endured. Children are promised a brighter future because of the labor pains and the gifts that so many mothers gave birth to. Strength and honor flows through our veins and each curve holds the secrets to our heart. Our men are able to go out each day to face the cruelty of this world knowing they can come back to our warm embrace and tender kiss. The angels taught us how to praise continually and forgive always. It’s a reminder that when God created the Black Woman, He simply created a masterpiece. Every woman unique and different in her own right. Every canvas receiving the same amount of love, attention and dedication yet each one telling a different story. We are all interconnected.
The next time you are feeling down and discouraged, sprinkle a little bit of Black Girl Magic on your face as you stare that sister in the mirror while affirming greatness. Walk boldly and confidently down the path God has called you to take. Safe travels on your journey to healing, self discovery and self love. The more in tune you become with yourself, the more you should raise your head up a little higher. Your stride should be that of a model on a catwalk. Your eyes should be set on the finish line of your goals with no looking back. You should exude confidence and regality as the Queen that you are.
May you never forget that Black Girls Rock.
She wears the color of royalty, because she is a Queen
The sway of her hips is like a love scene
The cadence of her feet and pep in her step creates a melody
She is a Black Woman that defines beauty.
Always uplifting others and offering encouragement
Teaching of love and peace-she must be heaven sent.
She is strength all wrapped up in smooth, ebony skin
If I had a choice, I would ask God to create her again.