“Can Black Women Even Be Feminine?”

Like this? Please share...

Can black women be feminine?I love hearing from people who read the Feminine 1st blog.

…and I’ve received messages about every kind of question and topic you can imagine.  From relationships, to business, to sex, to money, to children…you name it, I’ve been asked about it at some point.

I’ve heard the intimate details of people’s lives from all over the world….I feel deeply honoured that people are so willing to share their lives, their pain and their stories with me, whether just to connect and share or whether they want my help.

So it’s not easy to surprise me…

But a couple of weeks ago I received an email that broke my heart.

It was from a reader who was new to the concepts of Femininity and was feeling a little overwhelmed and very unsupported by the people around her.

Her story was not unusual, and most of her questions I’d answered many times over to different women around the world.

…and then I saw it.

The question that stopped me in my tracks….

…“Can black women even be feminine?”

I had to read, re-read and read it again.

I couldn’t believe that there was a woman out there who was questioning her femininity because of the colour of her skin.

…and then I realised, that if one woman was thinking this…there might be many more who felt the same way.

So why would someone even ask the question?

Well, as shocking as I found it, believe it or not I actually understand it too.

As with so many misperceptions and misunderstandings that have to do with femininity, it’s stereotypes that are causing us problems.

Because so often these days, stereotypes are more like caricatures.

Why would you question whether black women can be feminine?

In the same way as when people think of the word “feminist” many think of an angry ball-buster burning her bra and yelling at any man nearby, and when many think of “feminine” they bring to mind a girly blonde with a pink dress and perfect makeup…the stereotypical “Strong Black Woman” full of attitude, is a label that doesn’t necessarily represent the reality.

Yes, there are some angry feminists marching about trying to pull a metaphorical “Lorena Bobbitt” on any man she can find, but this is not the face of the future of feminism…and yes there are some women who are girly and giggly and wear nothing but pink, but this is not the face of the future of femininity…and yes there are some black women who are full of attitude and aggression (….and something we’re seeing more and more in women of every skin colour), but this is not the face of the future of what it means to be a strong black woman either.

Just because we’ve seen something in our past doesn’t not mean that it needs to determine our future.

Yes, there are a lot of black women who display very masculine traits…but there are women from every culture around the world who do that too.  White women, Asian women, Antipodean Women…I see it everywhere I go, in every country I have visited.

We learn our behaviour from our life experiences. We learn to model the people around us, the people we admire, those who we respect and want to be like.   We see others doing things a certain way, and sometimes believe therefore that it’s the only way to do things…when in reality we can choose for ourselves.

In the same way as I learned to behave like a guy for such a large portion of my life because I thought that was how I needed to behave to get ahead, to be successful in my career and to protect myself from getting hurt…many others learn from watching the people around them how they think they need to behave too.

…and in the same way as I made a choice to let go of what I thought I had to be, to be true to myself, this choice is open to any other person at any other time, regardless of their culture, creed or colour.

So here and now I would like to set the record straight, once and for all…

Femininity has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the colour of your skin, your hair, your body shape, or your eye colour.

Femininity does not have anything to do with what’s on the outside…because as I’ve mentioned many times before, it comes from within.

So back to the original question…”Can black women even be feminine?”

Yes.

Categorically Yes.

Unequivocally Yes.

Undeniably Yes.

…and in case I need to say it again, Yes.

But Claire, you’re not a black woman, how do you know?

How do I know?  Well the answer is simple.

When I started to write this article, I began by thinking of the four most beautifully open-hearted, authentic, genuine, loving, feminine women that I personally know.

One is of Mexican descent.

One is originally from Hong Kong.

One is a black woman from Holland.

…and one is a white woman from Chicago.

My feminine friendsMy feminine friends  My feminine friendsMy feminine friends

 

These four women could not be more different in their cultural heritage, their upbringing…and yes, their skin colour.

But they are the most shining examples of femininity in my life.

So it doesn’t matter where you’re from, what your life experience has been, what you look like, what you wear, or what language you speak.

If you are a feminine woman who is connected to your femininity, it will shine through regardless….

…and today I’m dedicating this article to every single woman on the planet, of every colour, every culture, every language, every size, every shape.  This is for you x

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

8 replies
  1. Catrice
    Catrice says:

    Claire, thanks for your blog post and I’m delighted you courageously responded to the question submitted. Generally I totally agree that femininity has no defining characteristics however I do know and believe that there are some deeply rooted, underlying, invisible systems and structures in place that don’t necessarily make it “easy” for black women to “be feminine.” I understand that being feminine is something that radiates from within yet I also know that the “way femininity” is defined and depicted today, it’s much more difficult for many (not all) black women to allow themselves to to simply be the innate feminine souls they are and with good reason. This is a great dialogue starter and I encourage any woman reading this to also understand the reality of powerful invisible sources that cast shadow over the very light we as “black” women strive to shine. This is a great conversation yet it is indeed only the tip of the iceberg. How do I know? Because I am a black woman and this is definitely not my first deep conversation around issues of race and color. I have many more thoughts about this yet I just came by to say bravo for opening up the can of worms… it’s open now! Let’s see what comes out! Thanks for your blog post.

    Reply
    • Claire
      Claire says:

      Thank you Catrice, both for your acknowledgement, and for your thoughts and insights, and I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. Indeed the can is now open and I look forward to what lies ahead of us… x

      Reply
    • Claire
      Claire says:

      Thank you Catrice, both for your acknowledgement, and for your thoughts and insights…you make some very important points. Indeed the can is now open and I look forward to what lies ahead of us… x

      Reply
  2. Stacie Walker
    Stacie Walker says:

    Hi Claire,

    Here is my little “2 cents.”

    Women are women, no matter the ethnic roots inherited by their parents.

    You said it best “Yes, there are a lot of black women who display very masculine traits…but there are women from every culture around the world who do that too. White women, Asian women, Antipodean Women…I see it everywhere I go, in every country I have visited.”

    Once we stop focusing on the differences of the color of our skin, then more of us can get a better understanding of the word “feminine” and how it personally applies to us as an individual.

    Obviously, you don’t have to be a part of a certain ethnic group to understand this.

    Thanks for an excellent post that digs a little deeper on what femininity mean for women.

    To Your Success,
    Stacie Walker
    Woman in Leadership

    Reply
  3. Kim Boudreau Smith
    Kim Boudreau Smith says:

    You certainly opened a can of worms. I agree, women are women from all race, culture and walks of life. I personally really look at the individual and their actions as oppose of race. It doesn’t matter to me how a woman acts, masculine, feminine, it is all up to her and her visual of herself! Quite frankly, I feel women have abandoned what being a woman is truly about!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *