D's Thoughts on things
November 21, 2017
I bet you think this lip-stain’s about you

Over the last week or so, a video was making the rounds on Facebook, which prompted some thoughts about what womanhood is/could be. The video, dubbed “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover, Same Goes for People,” featured a black woman wearing her natural hair in two cornrows, no make-up and a T-shirt, detailing her journey through the streets and how she was ignored by men because, as she puts it, “no body don’t want that anymore.”

Then, through the magic of video editing, the same woman transforms into a fashionista with wavy tresses and a bit of make-up. She states that one of the same guys who ignored her in her natural state, approached her, declared that she was beautiful and offered to buy her a meal. She then conveys, with hilarious details, how he reacted when she removed her wig and revealed that she was the same woman he ignored earlier.

I chuckled a bit, but also immediately recognized how problematic such an experiment was in the first place. I wanted to know why she cared about getting their attention. Does the decision to either go natural or wear a wig/weave, or make-up, depend on which type of man said woman is hoping to attract? Are all the Instagram and YouTube make-up and hair gurus, with millions of followers and the multi-million dollar industries that they prop up, only sharing insights into the art of trapping a man? Is that it? Really, queen?

The implication of this whole palaver is that to wear make-up and a hair piece on a date with a stranger is to engage in a form of deception, to lure the unsuspecting human male to your lair and, as JJ Smith suggests in a brilliant piece of satire, to leech his soul and deprive him of his inheritance. (Not his whole inheritance, child?)

I am hard pressed to accept that we women, in 2017, are still seeking validation from men. Scratch that; let me say instead I know that there is a good chance that a woman getting glammed up has little or nothing to do with these dudes. I say this because for many, getting dolled up is a form of self-care, it is therapeutic, and healing. I know of a few gurus who have been severely burnt and offer tips on the best techniques to conceal scars and help others to boost their confidence. I know others who are very rich in melanin, who provide example and inspiration for dark skinned women and none, NONE of that is aimed at ensnaring men.

Perhaps, I live in a bubble of hope that women have moved beyond such ideas. Or maybe I surround myself with women who take ownership of their own lives and are moving through the world with little care for what some random blokes on the pavement might say about their (nappy) coiffures and (un)painted mugs. Women are more than their appearance, their hair, and their contouring skills. Their lives, like Tacee Ellis Ross says, are theirs and they are enough.

If I ever get the chance to meet sister girl in the video, I would take her to tea, ask about her story and share a laugh, while we exchange hair and make-up tips, because that would be enough.