My grandmother would always tell me stories of growing up in the 1940’s as a black woman in the south.
In her spare time, she loved to sing and mock her favorite actresses, Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge. She imitated their looks and made me watch movies of them with their very sexy, but modest styles. These women displayed roles of strong, confident women, without being overtly sexual or showing their body.
Fast forward into the new century, that character isn’t as prevalent anymore. The new idea is based upon instant gratification. I see my peers scheming to get to the top and taking short-cuts instead of working hard for what they really want. What’s most disturbing is that women in this era are desperate to put all of their body parts on display for the entire world to see.
When asked what they want to be, the common response from most young women is to be a model, in music videos or in movies. Is it fair that some women are taking this phenomenon to a new extreme? Everyone talks about making it big in the industry and will go to any lengths to be the next star or topic of conversation on the gossip blogs. What they don’t consider are the younger girls who imitate what they see in the media. With these images, many of these girls are programmed from a young age to exploit themselves by any means necessary.
So where are the role-models for young girls? They clearly are not on television, on YouTube or playing on the radio. All of the above showcase black women in raunchy, profane and explicit abundance. The problem is that Hollywood is simply choosing to sell certain images of black women to audiences around the globe.
Essentially, it takes a village to raise a child. As an adult, it is our duty to help cultivate and shape the future leaders of tomorrow – we cannot leave it up to the media to do it for us. It does not necessarily have to be a direct interaction, you can be a leader just by the way you dress and you carry yourself. You do not have to volunteer on a weekly basis with the Girl Scouts; you can simply take time to speak to the young girls in your neighborhood. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are reaching out to help educate someone else.
In this New Year, we must work towards respecting ourselves and uplifting one another. You are beautiful like a flower and more valuable than a diamond. The next time the radio tells you to shake your money maker, shake your head and tell them you’re more than that!