I’ve written a lot of posts in which when I talk about femininity and how it’s expressed in Black women, I mention the ‘unwoman’ meme.
But what is the ‘unwoman’ meme I talk about?
It refers to the fact that in the way society is set up, the white woman is considered the paragon of virtue, fertility, beauty and femininity. Those cool points for white womanhood go up if she has blonde hair, blue eyes, a flat behind and a classic hourglass figure.
She is held up by whiteness and white supremacy as the beauty standard by which all women no matter what their ethnicity should aspire to and that all men regardless of their ethnicity desire.
Well, if you have one group of women held up at the standard of what positive womanhood is all about, it stands to reason that conversely another group gets demonized as an example of the women you don’t want to emulate. Thanks to the slave trade and other factors, that demonization fell upon African descended women.
For the last four centuries African descended women have had their beauty denigrated. Pseudo science has been created and aimed at them designed to justify and reinforce the stereotypes hurled at them as Satoshi Kanazawa recently demonstrated.
Black women have been called less intelligent even if they have multiple degrees earned with summa cum laude grades. They have had their talents downplayed, dismissed or had it presumed cheating occurred to get them to whatever level of success they achieve.
It has had a deleterious effect on African descended women and their self esteem at times, especially when you throw colorism and relationship drama into the mix. Don’t even get me started about the effect of the unwoman meme on African descended transwomen and our self esteem as well
Despite knowing we are women who didn’t get the body at birth, we not only get painted with the same ‘unwoman’ brush our cis sisters do, we get additional crap and disrespect hurled at us specifically aimed at transwomen.
It sets up a never ending battle for Black cis and transwomen to ‘prove’ that we don’t fit the unwoman stereotypes, and even when we don’t, we still get whacked by them as the First Lady of the United States and anytah, no matter what her status can tell you.