Are we going to talk about how there is still such a great divide between the way Lupita has been accepted and the way Gabourey hasn’t? Are we going to talk about how Lupita just got a deal with Lancome but Gabourey isn’t anyone’s representative? Are we…
There hasn’t been much conversation.
And I’m fairly sure there won’t be. This isn’t a topic that people like to address. Especially when it comes to Gabourey. Especially when it comes to Lupita and Gabourey in the same conversation.
But the truth is still the truth. When I go to a blog and all I see are THIN dark skinned women. THIN light skinned women. THIN mixed race women. THIN white women. And then? I see a million posts about lupita and how wonderful she is and how “inspiring” she is on that same blog? And not a single post reflection Gabourey or anyone who even remotely resembles her?
When I see that, I know what I’m looking at. I’m looking at a person who doesn’t actually care about “all” black women or “all” black girls - even if they say they do, all they REALLY care about is black women who fit the mold of western society’s conventions of beauty.
you know i was writing a comment to this and then i just said ‘i don’t want have to “talk” to folks who don’t want to do the work to understand all of this.’ mainly b/c i’m not discussing this b/c of my own self-care practices b/c doing that unpaid work like above, is exhausting. so with that, this is a convo i’m willing to have publicly w/Black women i know and who i know value our friendship and community.
the fact that i already do unpaid work via answering sex questions, that’s what i’m here for and don’t mind at all. but for real, there’s no paid work doing that ish, seriously, last time i was asked to apply for a gig i was up against 2 other white women. guess who got that gig. don’t want to guess well it wasn’t me, and if you want to know who it was go read bitch magazine.
for me, this topic, it’s complicated eve more b/c of class, capitalism, and how folks in the US view wealthy or well-resourced successful immigrants/migrants/refugees, esp those from the African diaspora.
so for me Lupita is exalted for all you share and b/c her family was not a “drain” on resources outside their homeland in the same way other im/migrants are viewed in the US and in the Americas. with the added benefit that she’s thin, talented, (pan?)African (i think this term is useful in this convo, but only b/c i vaguely remember reading a quote from her about how she id’s as Mexican too, and to be honest i have yet to really dive into this for these reasons, so i don’t know or think it’s fair for me to engage on that topic b/c that’s some layered shit of colonization and wealth and resources in Mexico), and darker skin.
she was also in a film about slavery in the US. i wonder, was there a role that Gabourey could have played in the film? is there ever a role for fatter Black women in such narratives that are not just a “mammy” image (yes this is a bit tangential but it’s not). Because let’s be real, we know there were all sorts of bodies, shapes, types, that were forced to perform, labor, etc. we see fat and fatter Black men in such films, and those folks w/those bodies were also desired by their community and by those who enslaved them (even if for exact opposite reasons re: rape). but we, fat/ter Black women, can’t be seen as desirable unless it’s to do caretaking or hard labor.
the fact that the only time we really see fat dark skin women is when they are being ridiculed, made fun of for their style and fashion choices (which folks bite all.the.time.worldwide), or when an exception is being made in attempt to be “inclusive” but that fat dark skin woman fits into an ideal we believe is beautiful if not just a bit fuller (you know what i’m talking about hourglass figure fat folks being seen as ok/beautiful/etc). well what about the other fatter folks who are not hourglass who are Black women, who are darker skin Black women? this question is not new. this question has been asked before. and if the only fat Black women you think are beautiful fall within that body type that’s some fatphobia that’s not being examined very well.
i speak from experience. lived experience with my own body that fluctuates from a fatter hourglass to a fatter something else depending on how my body is adjusting to wtf is going on in my life.
so yeah, lots of layers, lots to discuss, i think lots of folks just don’t want to be that open and raw on the interwebs. anything can be a trigger while you are trying to heal. i mean i know for me, when beyonce’s album dropped and to this day all i see are images of her and folks claiming her ‘flawless’ ‘feminisms’ etc. i started to see my body differently, more critical and less loving, and i’m fucking almost 40! i can’t imagine wtf someone younger than me and who has not going through a similar process w/their fat body may be experiencing.
seriously, telling myself I’m fly, I’m enough, i’m valuable, i’m the shit and can’t nobody touch me, as affirmation is work and it’s work i’ve implemented to get me over that ish that was haunting me for the past several months seeing her tail everywhere (and those like her). it would be so much more supportive to tell myself those things and have them affirmed in a way smaller bodies, lighter or darker bodies, are already affirmed.