Many women feel pressure in public spaces to respond in ways that are different from their natural personalities. Whether it is at school, work or doctor’s office we can be made aware of the kinds of stereotypes we are asked to reinforce on a day to day basis. On top of that Black women can feel pressure in public spaces to represent that which will dispel stereotypes such as being loud, angry or so-called ‘ratchet’- even when feelings of anger in a particular situation could be a valid and acceptable response.
This is the danger of stereotypes. Stereotypes are built to put people in one dimensional boxes in order to judge, ridicule and pigeon-hold. And while we feel perfectly fine being ourselves at home with loved ones, it can be much harder to stay true to our authentic selves in our professional lives. But it is important to try and put forth our most authentic selves as we move about.
Many of us are not just daughters but sisters, mothers, aunts and nieces. At the same time we can also be nurses, teachers, counselors, athletes and artists. Every aspect of our lives helps to build Black women who are talented, smart, savvy and creative.
As Black women we are multi-dimensional and with the hustle and bustle of everyday life we can lose sight of the many complexities that make up who we are. The many different parts of our lives come together to build women who are compassionate, intelligent and ambitious. To proclaim only one part of our identity is to deny the many facets of our lives that inform who we really are. One identity tells only part of the story.
Photo Courtsey of CreateHERStock
In order to change this we must embrace all of the multi-dimensions of ourselves and encourage multi-dimensional identities in others. Multi-dimensional identities will allow us to explore who we are in public spaces (as well as at home) while arming us with the confidence to proclaim those identities and be our authentic selves.
Written By: Ayondela McDole