Feminists, Focus On Black Women Dying From Illegal Injections, Not Convincing Instagram To Let You Show Your Nipples

Feminists, Focus On Black Women Dying From Illegal Injections, Not Convincing Instagram To Let You Show Your Nipples

Why aren't more feminists talking about this? Why isn't the idea that Black women are supposed to be thick and curvy being widely challenged?

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There is one thing, in particular, that is most responsible for how people view themselves and what they deem "attractive," "trendy," or "stylish": the media. We look to the fashion, beauty, and entertainment industries to set the standards, and to entertainers and public figures to uphold them. Over the entirety of human existence, beauty standards have warped and changed so much to the point they become almost unrecognizable from era to era. In our present era, women's bodies are held to impossible, even outright dangerous, standards.

At one point in time, women were heralded for being heavyset. More meat on their bones signified wealth and luxury. Soon, however, things went in the opposite direction.

In the '60s, the era of hippies and rebellion, women were ditching the conservative and overly elaborate fashion choices of the '50s for more revealing and simplistic choices, which led to a greater emphasis on being thin.

Mini skirts became widely popular in the '60s. Source

Taking it to the extreme, in the mid-1990s, looking gaunt and tired was all the rage. Coined "heroin chic," looking rail-thin was popularized by the fashion industry, through models such as Cindy Crawford and Kate Moss, who wanted to reflect the drug addiction problem rampant in the U.S.

Kate Moss, 5'7", at only 100 lbs.Source

Any person would assume, based on the trends throughout history, that now we'd be in an era where thinness bordering on anorexic and sudden death would be popular now. But, that couldn't be further from the truth. It seems as though the media has stopped fixating on thinness and instead wants us to get "thiccer" — in the right places.

"Why is that?" you might ask. Well, insert celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, and you get a recipe for beauty standard disaster. When these women first stepped onto the scene, they were like unicorns. They had a body type that was not common in the mainstream media. They were thin, but they also had a lot of ass behind them. In fact, Kim Kardashian was boosted to stardom simply over that fact (which was brought to attention by a very popular tape directed by Ray J).

Now, notice I said mainstream media and not media in general. In the hip-hop community and Black community in general, it's always been about ass. Video vixens found in rap videos always had large rear-ends, while in Black movies/tv shows, the actresses were slightly thinner, but still had an apple bottom. Black men have always desired a full bottom. In our community, having a big butt was nothing extraordinary or impressive. It was just the norm.

On a White (or racially ambiguous) girl, however, it was iconic.

Right, John?Giphy

The mainstream media was fascinated with the idea of ditching the antiquated idea of thinness and embracing it with "thick in the right places." For the first time, the question, "Does my butt look big?" was asked with a hopeful lilt, instead of in fear of looking chunky. For the first time, having a big ass and thighs was marketable. Can you guess why?

Bingo! You guessed it. Black men.

Okay, technically it was a mixture of Black men boosting up non-Black women and the media's knack to profit off of Blackness, but Black men are more to blame.

Just hear me out for a second.

When J-Lo first stepped on the scene, which community did she gain fame among first? The Black community. (Remember how she was "Jenny from The Block" and dated multiple rappers? She even started out as a backup dancer on a Black tv show.) When Kim Kardashian first stepped onto the scene, which type of men helped boost her reputation? Black men. (To be fair, that's the only type of men she was interested in as well). They helped to garner attention to these women (which is not bad, I'm not bashing them) and the media ran with it.

Just like with Black men, the wider mainstream audience saw these exotic-looking women as the new-age epitome of beauty. They were perfect to usher in the new era of beauty because they took old ideals (typical European standards, like a straight nose; long, straight hair; light skin, etc.) and fused it with "foreign" attributes. (I should also note that Black women like Nicki Minaj and '"Bootylicious" queen Beyonce helped to usher in this new trend as well, but they uphold many European standards of beauty, which makes it easier for them to be seen as desirable).

And this is becoming a serious problem for women, but especially Black women, whose identity is threatened by this new trend.

Natural booties are not appreciated anymore, not even the ones that are nicely shaped and full. This trend has warped into some grotesque contest for who can have the biggest, most overwhelming rear-end.

As women see these celebrities — with ample money to fund their cosmetic procedures because those asses are not real, raise the bar and continue to make their butts bigger and bigger, they feel more pressured than ever to keep up. Having a normal sized, plump booty just isn't good enough, which pushes many women to seek out additional help through plastic surgery. And in more cases than it should be, the plastic surgery is done illegally using "butt injections" through the black market.

International rap star Cardi B even admits to getting illegal butt injections: "It was the craziest pain ever. I felt like I was gonna pass out. I felt a little dizzy. And it leaks for, like, five days... somebody died on [the black market doctor's] table."

This new fad is problematic in and of itself, but when we take a look at a marginalized group such as Black women, we see that they are more at risk and more severally harmed by these dangers. For the longest time, Black women's identities have revolved around their bodies. It's in our music. Every rapper talks about big booties. And it's part of our culture. Being "cornbread-fed," or thick, is something that Black women have felt has been exclusively specific to us and our body types (except for Latinas... they can get pretty thick as well) for as long as we can remember. Take a look at Sarah Baartman, a South African woman that was captured and toured around as part of a freakshow expedition due to her large buttocks.

Source

Source

Black women (and men, even) have been fetishized and oversexualized for our bodies for centuries. It should be no surprise that we have adapted to place a significant amount of emphasis on this aspect of ourselves. It can be a source of pride (in a warped way), but also a source of shame. For Black women who are not naturally thick, we can feel less than, as though we're not "Black enough" or something. Trust me, I know how silly it sounds, but it's actually a real issue. Skinny Black girls with no ass often question what went wrong with their genes. Being built like a "White girl" is something feared in the Black community.

When we feel our identities are threatened, we do anything to preserve it, which leads us back to one of the many dangers facing Black women of this generation. Experiencing higher rates of poverty, many Black women don't have money to shell out thousands of dollars on a Brazilian butt lift. Instead, they choose to go for the much cheaper, but much more dangerous alternative: illegal butt injections. Some women have died, like Ranika Hill, 25, and Symone Marie Jones, only 19, while others have been left permanently scarred.

The injections are often administered in unsterile and unsafe environments, or may be filled with dangerous substances, like cooking oil. The prevalence of these procedures is actually much more common than people think, but not much is being done to stop or prevent this practice. Aside from a few news channels doing reports on this phenomenon, not much else has been said.

As an intersectional feminist, I see the need for more awareness to be brought onto this subject, and other feminists should as well. The problem with mainstream feminism is that they are not fighting for women's rights or shedding light onto women's issues. They are fighting for some (mainly White, middle-class) women's rights and shedding light onto some women's issues. Call me crazy, but I don't think not being able to post your nipple on Instagram is that big of an issue. Black women are dying due to the pressure to feel desired and accepted by their community and larger society, the pressure of which is mainly fueled by male supremacy. So why aren't more feminists talking about this? Why isn't the idea that Black women are supposed to be thick and curvy being widely challenged?

For feminists, body image is always a topic of conversation, but the way body image is shaped by personal experiences and identities is almost never addressed. For instance, White women are more prone to anorexia than Latina or African-American women, who are more prone to overeating. As you can guess by now, this difference between the two groups is directly related to the difference in cultural experience. Mainstream feminism is concerned with body positivity, but only on a surface level. In fact, almost all mainstream feminist issues are only addressed on the surface level. For instance, the gender pay gap — yeah, there's a significant gap in how much men and women are paid, but there's also another gap between how much White and Asian women (Asian women actually make more than White women) are paid compared to Black and Latin women. When we fail to have these complex conversations, we miss out on rectifying key parts of the problem.

As feminists, we must do better, and always remember that in addition to our identity as women, we have identities as being Black, Latina, Afghan, lesbian, poor, disabled, etc. and that if we want to fight for women, we have to fight for all women.

Cover Image Credit:

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I'm A Christian Girl And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals

It is OK for me to not want to be equivalent with a man.

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To start off, I am not writing this to bash feminists or get hate messages. I am simply writing this to state why I do not perceive myself as a feminist.

March is International Women's Month and that is what has got me thinking about how I view myself as a young woman in the 21st century. I enjoy every day getting to soak up the world as a young lady, particularly in the South.

If you know me, then you know that I love and utterly adore Jesus. He is so perfect. He is everything. He is my whole life. Some people might say that I am a "Bible-thumper" or someone who has had too much Kool-aid and maybe I am, but I know who my Creator is and that He died for me, and that is all that matters.

In my young age, I loved to just sit in church with my parents and absorb all that God would deliver. As I have grown up, I have ventured off and joined a church that is different than my parents, so the responsibility falls more on me, but I love that. Since this era of independence began, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking ownership of my faith.

I spend a lot of time chatting with God, worshipping Him in all kinds of ways, and just diving deeper into His Word. Through all of this growth as a Christian, I have learned a lot, but something I have learned is a concept that some may not agree with, which does not surprise me.

I do not believe God meant for women and men to be equal.

There, I acknowledged the elephant in the room.

It is a shocker, I know, but I have some Biblical evidence to back up this belief that I have.

Let us begin in Genesis. God created man and then he created woman. This was two separate occurrences and order is key. He created Adam and then Eve.

Jesus treated women with grace and kindness, do not get me wrong. I mean just look at how He treated the woman at the well, the one who used all of her expensive perfume to cleanse His feet and not to mention His own biological mother! He has a truly unique place in his heart for women, but He also has special intentions for us in the world and in the family setting.

We are to submit to our husbands.

We are to be energetic, strong, and a hard worker.

We are to be busy and helpful to those in need.

We are to be fearless.

All of this is explicitly laid out by God in Proverbs 31.

We are not to be equal to our male counterparts. Jesus does not lay out the Proverbs 31 man, but He rather lays out the Proverbs 31 woman.

A husband or man is to be the head of the household as Christ is to the church.

A man is to love a woman so deeply that represents how he loves himself.

A man is to leave his father and mother.

Women and men are not equal in God's eyes, but they each represent Him in their own ways that the other needs.

If we were all equal, we would not need one another and therefore we would not need God. I am so thankful that we were not created equal. I am so thankful that God is so great that He could not just create only man or woman to represent His image. He is so perfect.

So, you see I am not a feminist, and it is OK.

It is acceptable for me to have this belief that God intended for men to lead women. It is also okay for people to have differing opinions. Writing this was not easy, but I know that not all people agree.

To feminists and those that are not, you are allowed to believe whatever you wish but have evidence to back it up.

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17 Things Girls Should Be Able To Wear Without Being Shamed

I'll show skin and wear bold makeup whether you like it or not.

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In this day and age, it proves almost impossible to do and wear certain things without being judged. As a girl, I have often refrained from buying certain articles of clothing or wearing my makeup a certain way because I know I will inevitably be judged for it.

Perhaps my top is too revealing, my jeans are too ripped, or my makeup is too bold. In my opinion, we shouldn't judge people for the way they express themselves. We should learn to love others, and through that, learn to love ourselves. More often than not, I find that I am not confident enough to wear the clothes I want because I know people will have negative things to say.

Worse enough, sometimes I'm not confident enough to even buy the clothes I want, I just stare longingly at them while leaving the store empty-handed.

Here is a list of things that girls are unable to wear without being judged, a concept that needs to change.

1. Makeup.

It blows my mind that the different things people have to say when it comes to a girl's makeup. It switches from how this girl is wearing "too much makeup," to how that girl "looks like a slut for wearing red lipstick," and even how another girl "looks ugly without makeup." There is is literally no win-win situation. We're judged for wearing makeup and we're judged for not wearing makeup. Well, guess what? If I want to do a smokey eye, I will. If I want to wear red lipstick, I will. If I want to do full face makeup, I will.

2. Crop top.

Just because I'm showing my stomach doesn't mean that I'm a "slut." Who cares if I'm showing a little skin? If I love myself and my body and I want to show it off, I will. It's not my fault that people can't handle the fact my shoulders and my stomach are showing at the same time.

3. Spandex.

While I am not one of those girls, I've seen many people wear spandex to the gym or even just out at the grocery store. Just because they are tighter and more form-fitting, they aren't scandalous. Most girls pair spandex with a large t-shirt anyway. They're comfortable and cute. If you don't like them, just don't look at me. Simple enough.

4. Bikinis.

There are so many mixed views on bikinis. Most of the stigmas revolve around how they're too scandalous due to the fact that many of them, depending on the style, may show off too much skin. I think it's important to state that I should be able to show off as much skin as I want and not have to worry about being looked at in the wrong way. Why punish girls for wearing bikinis rather than creeps who are in the wrong for staring?

5. Heels.

Guess what. Heels are sexy. Heels are fun. Heels are empowering. In my case, I'm a 4'11, 90 pound girl. Sometimes I need some 4 inch heels in my life. But regardless of how tall or short a girl may be, she has the right to wear the kind of shoes she wants to.

6. Leggings.

Believe it or not, girls don't wear leggings because it might make their butt look good. They're great to wear when going to the gym, going to class, or even just lounging around. I wear leggings because they're comfortable AND they make my butt look good.

7. Hoops.

It blows my mind that there are negative connotations around hoop earrings. The jewelry that I wear on my ears should not be considered promiscuous. They're stylish and they're fun, let us girls live.

8. Sweats. 

First, we were judged for being too promiscuous. Now, we're being judged for looking too much like bums and not trying harder when it comes to my appearance. Believe it or not, I don't have to dress up and look cute every single second of every single day. Sometimes a girl needs to break and she just wants to be comfortable.

9. Thongs.

I can't believe I have to put underwear on here. A girl's underwear is... sacred. The general public typically doesn't see a girl's underwear, unless it was some random fluke.

10.  Push-up bra. 

Coming from a girl with small boobs... sometimes we just want a little "push" if you will. While I may not have big boobs, sometimes I'm in the mood to make my girl's look nice, and in all honesty, there is no harm in that.

11.  Bra.

I want to mention that I don't mean that girls are judged for wearing a bra, it's more that they get judged if their bra strap is showing. Sometimes it's really hard to pair the right bra with the type of shirt you're wearing. In the grand scheme of things. one bra strap is not going to ruin anyone's life.

12.  No bra.

You won't believe the comments I hear people make when girls decide to go bra-less. If you're a boy/man, you have no right to make any statements about girls wearing bras. Bras are uncomfortable, painful, and sometimes just unnecessary.

13.  Jean shorts. 

Sometimes I get uncomfortable wearing jean shorts out. It mostly stems from the fact that someone might think my shorts are too short, even if they're not. While it may be hard to believe, most girls don't buy super small, tight, and short short... they're uncomfortable and give the worst wedgies.

14.  Dress/skirts with a slit down the leg. 

I've said it before and I've said it again... women can wear clothes that make them feel sexy. It doesn't make them a "slut" just because it shows a couple of inches of bare thigh.

15.  Low-cut tops. 

Every now and then, we have to let the girls out. It doesn't matter if you do it because that's your style or because you want to feel sexy. Girls should be able to wear what they want without being judged or talked about behind their backs.

16.  Sheer tops. 

A see-through top everyone once in a while isn't going to do any harm. Bras are incredibly expensive and sometimes you just want to show them off.

17.  Ripped jeans.

Ripped jeans are the new trend. They're super cute and in my opinion, they're much more comfortable than regular jeans. Just because they're ripped and show traces of my leg here and there, doesn't mean it's scandalous.

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