How Do You Get Somebody to Love You?

I have argued on this blog that unmarried black women are, and have historically been, shapers of American religious, social, and political life and that our contributions to American life must be honored and remembered. What I have not said here in the past is that being an unmarried woman is not always easy and that many women who remain unmarried after being widowed or divorced, or never marry at all, would love to be married. Shows like The Bachelor make that quite clear as women put hard-earned careers on hold to chase after one man who, historically, rarely marries any of them

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Family Secrets: The Truths We Will Not Speak

Hey, Free Agents! This week, I continue to consider the themes that emerge when reading Toni Morrison’s 1970 novel, The Bluest Eye. This post examines the generational curse of family secrets. In this season in which we celebrate mothers and fathers, we grapple with the burdens the sins of our parents have placed on us.

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What Problems Can Pretty Eyes Solve?

As I pointed to in my previous post on beauty, white supremacist beauty standards are the norm in much of the Western world. In this post, I expound on the issue of beauty using as my conversation partner The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I am going to focus on the blue eye aspect of the book today, in future posts, I will talk about the themes of family, fear, and love that arise in it. 

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Black Skin, Light Eyes, Straight Hair

Who set the standards for physical beauty? I know that physical beauty seems to be a superficial topic, but it is a topic that has real import in the lives of so many people all over the world. Our perception of the physical beauty of others impacts our treatment of them and it even causes us to judge what they have the potential to do, become, or to be in loving and affirming relationships with during their lives. In much of the Western world, the beauty standard for women has long been light skin, slender bodies, light eyes, and straight hair. Of course, there are permitted variations on that standard, but most women who society calls beautiful meet at least two of the requirements most of the time. The standard is hard, nearly impossible for black women—especially darker black women to meet, and although we have no control over the bodies or skin we’re in, society looks down on women who cannot or choose not to meet the standard.

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