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  • Writer's pictureRachel Abel

Reclaiming Black Women

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

When we hear the word ‘bossy’, 9 times out of 10, we immediately think of women. Why? Because somehow our society has decided that women are bossy but men doing the exact same thing are considered leaders. Bossy has been used countless times to undermine the confidence that women exude in the spaces they take up. And as much as society polices us women and the way we express ourselves, for Black women they add a lil spice to the game. From the way we wear our hair to the way we display our emotions - someone always has something to say.

Mad Black woman. Angry Black woman.

Photograph by Jessica Félício

We’ve all heard these before. Tropes created to regulate our expression as if feeling and showing these emotions is not an intrinsic human trait. The selective outrage at how Black women showcase their emotions, in comparison to pretty much anyone else, is astounding. It seems that at the core of it, our biggest crime as Black women is simply this: being human. Even the term strong Black woman, though it implies a certain brand of courage, can be dangerous. It suggests a super human ability to deal with the barrage of injustices and various forms of discrimination that Black women face. And as cool as superheroes are, the reality is we are not. We may present as such, but it is not by choice. Our strength is not a luxury - it is a necessity. So, let us not continue to allow ourselves to be reduced to the tropes we hate to see. Let us reclaim our humanity, in all the shapes and forms it takes.

Angry black woman? Yes, we can be mad. We can be angry. We can be loud and we can be quiet. We can choose to lead and we can choose to follow. We can hold it together and we can fall apart. We can be strong without sacrificing our peace or mental health. We can do all of these things because that is what it is to be human.

It is the freedom to be and feel, in peace.

To cry and laugh, in peace.

To fail and win, in peace.

The world may not allow us to be our full selves without checking our expression but, we don’t need anyone’s permission to just be. The only way we win in reclaiming our identity as Black women is by making the world - that for too long has tried to hijack our narrative - reckon with the fullness of who we are. And if they can’t handle it, that’s OK. We were never made to be contained anyway 🤷🏾‍♀️. So be you. Be free to be all of who you are and all you can be.

Take pride in your melanin, no matter the shade. Take pride in your hair, no matter the length or curl pattern. Take pride in your lips and hips and all the things that make you, you.

Photograph by Jéssica Felício

Dear Black women, we are enough. However we are. We are more than enough. Knowing our worth and accepting nothing less is always a boss move. Take up that space, girl. Own and reclaim it because you’ve always belonged.



Next up - Why You Should Series

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