As black women, we are often told to tone it down. It can be our voice, hair, clothing, etc. Being told to change who we are disrupts our well-being. Changing who you are to fit the standards of someone else will create discontentment in your life.
One major area where black women are told to tone it down is in the workplace. The racial and sexual inequality in the workplace makes it difficult for women to exceed in many careers. When interviewing for a job opportunity, black women have to pay close attention to what they say and do. We have the same education and training, but not the look. Many black women fight daily to prove that they should not be excluded.
The strong black woman stereotype says that black women put on this armor of strength that protects them from the stress and expectations of everyday life. This can be tiring and have more negative effects than positive. Being a “superwoman” does not mean to put your mental and physical health on the line to fulfill the requirements of a job or person. We should be free to be who we are and have equal opportunities.
It is a social dilemma that has negatively affected generations of black women. Women continue to push the boundaries and demand that our identities are individually shaped. No matter how much we are forced to fit into spaces that are not for us, break out of them.
To all black women:
Refuse to be associated with people who force you to reject your authenticity.
Your feelings are valid. Express them.
Never feel bad for being who you are.
Create spaces where all people are welcomed to be themselves.
Change the things that you can control (being a black woman is not one of those things).
Black woman, you are strong…and human. Don’t forget.