Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Many would claim femininity is "Euro-centric", but I believe as Black women we have adopted femininity, made it work to our benefit, and redefined it for us.
In my last blog I discussed the ways myself and others are redefining what femininity looks like for Black women. This blog will go into further detail of black femininity. I'll also be sharing some of my favorite iconic Black women that are very feminine and the ways they have redefined what femininity looks like and their impression on the Black community, particularly women.
In my opinion, femininity it is not about being subordinate to a man, but a lot to do with our natural feminine strengths and abilities. As Black women, our feminine abilities benefit not only the Black community, but our own individual selves. Those abilities when adequately used together, help us to take care of our mental health needs, maintain hygiene and beauty routines, prioritize our internal happiness and spiritual needs. When each of these needs are taken care of we not only look beautifully maintained on the outside, but we also feel an increase of confidence, value, and self love beyond measure. As many would say, take care of yourself first. That couldn't be a more true statement; having passion and empathy for others starts with taking care of you first. Yes your femininity does naturally propel you to take care of those beauty and hygiene essentials, but it also does encourages you to nurture your inner beauty and strengths.
When I mention strengths, I am referencing our natural nurturing abilities (creativity, affection, passion, support, intelligence, warmness). Each of these strengths and abilities, plus many more, are what establishes our femininity. We are the creators and nurturers of the Black community. Not only do we create life, we also create fashions, beauty, art, solutions, strategies, phonetics, dance styles and so much more. So much has come from the Black community into mainstream: catch phrases, hairstyles, nail art, make-up trends, etc, that we as Black women created. Creativity is a major component of femininity, and there's a plethora of it running through our blood, that's what makes Black women...SO FEMININE!
a nurturing community.
Our community is full of soft, warm, nurturing women. It is with that nurturing that our community is able to thrive, produce creativity, intelligent youth, and passionate men.
There's a long history of women who were not only supportive to powerful men over our history, but have made great impacts on the world. Many of them, iconic women, have forever shaped the image of Black women not only in our community, but around the world.
iconic feminine women.
Here's my favorite iconic Black women that represent what it means to be feminine:
Grammy winning recording artist, writer, etc has influenced an entire generation of self loving Black women. For many she would not come to mind as being "traditionally feminine", but to me she totally is! Not only did India, through her lyrics, teach us self love, she also taught us about loving, owning, and defining your own beauty unapologetically of course. Her lyrics also talked about being ready for love. When I talk about femininity and feminine energy, I speak about receiving, graciously receiving, energy, affection, and love for sure. India always evoked charm, charisma, honesty, and intelligence. I love the tone of her voice, soft and warm, yet strong and courageous too. Everything she represents: femininity, confidence, self love, self care, receiving love and healing form your partner, and improving the state of the Black community through love and nurturing.
Our "Forever First Lady"! Courageous, feminine, strong, charismatic, charming, impactful-those words, and many more, all perfectly describe Michelle. Not only does Michelle evoke much of traditional femininity, but she has also redefined what that looks like for a Black woman. Michelle, from a young age was always ambitious, confident, self sufficient, and a true inspiration. Along the way she accomplished several degrees and other merits. She brought much benefit to her courtship with President Obama, which he has many times mentioned that without her help he could have never reached his full potential. Being a feminine woman is much about offering your nurturing, love, and support, to your partner to make them even stronger.
For many she was the first Black woman young girls saw growing up on the television. She represented not only a black woman, she represented a sensual, feminine woman. The early years of television did not show Black people in the most flattering ways nor really depicted who we really were; we were shown in racists, negative stereotypes. Stereotypes that mainstream media and America were most comfortable with seeing us in. By the 1960's came around many actresses and singers such as Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge paved the way for many such as Diana Ross. America was now seeing Black women as human beings, feminine, soft, creative, sensual, and beautiful. Diana Ross has gone on to inspire decades of generations of women, and men, to explore their feminine side with her iconic dance movements, soft voice, fit frame, flattering fashions, and fanciful hairstyles.
Many of our mothers know her as "Julia". Our generation knows her as Whitley's mom. Diahann Carroll not only paved the way for Black entertainers who followed in her footsteps, but very much redefined what Black beauty and femininity looked like within our own community and to others. When I think of "boojie" she is the first to come to mind. Strong, confident, opinionated, sassy, gorgeous, and very much a woman who knows her worth and what she deserves; Diahann Carroll evoked these qualities not only in real life, but also in any role she played.
When I think about my mom, she has always used her feminine energy to support not only my sister and I, but also my father, and to keep her mental health in order. My mother definitely raised my sister and I to be feminine women, maintain routines that boost inner and outer beauty, and instilled a great sense of what it’s like to be a nurturer. Of course she made my sister and I both aware of what it means to be beautiful…not just on the outside but very much on the inside, beauty is showing grace, humility, compassion, and love; not only for others but for yourself. I love that my mom always leaned on her routines, that not only maintained her femininity but also maintained peace of mind, happiness, and inner confidence. My mom i very good about receiving, as I have spoken many times about, as women we are naturally meant to receive. My mom has no issue with receiving blessings, love, and acts of services; all graciously. Most of all my mom is really great at supporting my dad to be the natural provider that he is. With her love, guidance, and intelligence; she has been able to give support to him along with my sister and I, which has allowed us to go on and be prosperous, young ladies, exuding confidence, and open to change and the journey of life. I am proud to be her daughter. I am proud that both my parents have raised me to be self-sufficient, but also equipped with how to find the correct partner that can provide and protect for me, I in return being being equipped with support, love, intelligence, and more; as each of these women I mentioned have done so.
I am truly blessed to be able to follow in the foot-steps of each woman mentioned that represent what it means to be a strong, feminine Black woman they all redefined, and still are redefining, what femininity looks like for Black women.
Be sure to head to IGtv where I show my favorite photos of these iconic feminine women...
Comment below or email me with your favorite women that exemplify femininity to you!