It is no shock that Black women endure a lot of harsh treatment. From over-sexualization to complete degradation, it is exhausting being one of us. According to the dictionary, masculinization is defined as “an act of labeling an individual’s appearance or character as masculine because it does not define ‘feminine’ standards“.
There is a imaginary extensive rulebook that has rules of what it is to be a woman and feminine. However, today women are throwing and burning that book proudly. Women are cutting their hair short, wearing what feels right, and vocalizing their needs and wants.
If you are not sure what masculinization looks like in action, here are some scenarios for context.
Women in Power
This scenario is featured in multiple tv shows and movies. It usually happens to women who are in leadership. Usually, leaders have a definition of powerful, assertive, and vocal. Unfortunately, these characteristics correlate to men only. Women are often overlooked and disrespected in male-dominated professions. There are many women who make attempts to set their boundaries and demand respect. Unfortunately, it is not taken into gravity and is ignored.
Society perceives femininity as delicate, emotion-lead, and weaker than the masculine force. At times, women feel the need to adopt masculine tendencies to gain respect. Women who are direct and persistent are often villanized by their male counterparts within the workplace. When women are villanized, it’s often done to strip the woman’s feminine quality that she may have. It is a deeper concept that questions the definition of femininity.
It is a known fact that many of today’s beauty standards stem from a Eurocentric perspective. Through the age of colonialism, the Eurocentric customs were making their impact on many continents in the world. Today, those customs and ideals are being pushed onto women daily. As we see many countries sell and bleaching cream to remove dark spots from certain parts of your body. The beauty industry brings in millions of dollars a year off of people trying to cover or fix their insecurities.
There are hundreds of magazines that show beautiful women. The transition to inclusivity has moved forward. Alternatively, the ideals have not disappeared. The magazine will show women fully waxed, smooth skin, medium skin tone, and long hair.
There is an idea that women are supposed to be delicate, smooth, and soft. Unfortunately, dark skin, bald, plus size, non-shaven, acne-prone women are not in the category of desirable.
Women receive a copious amount of feedback for cutting their hair, not shaving, and any other ‘imperfection’ that society told us to erase or fix. Every woman has their own definition of beauty.
Black women are not given the right to express anger. Women become masculinized and demonized for stating their anger paired with yelling. The unrealistic expectation that women should remain calm in a disrespectful situation is absurd.
For example, on Good Morning Britain Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu explained to Piers Morgan how the Royal Family perpetuates racism and white supremacy that dates back to the beginning of their monarch. Piers Morgan accused Dr. Shola of ‘race baiting’ with her rhetoric. Morgan at one point interrupted Dr. Shola. Piers Morgan is not the first man to invalidate a woman who expresses her thoughts eloquently. A woman with passion is not an aggressive one.
Sadly, being direct and assertive with no yelling can induce tone policing. Never tell a woman to calm down and change their tone. It results in the invalidation of their thoughts and emotions.
Black women transcend any beauty standard, social qualms, and patriarchal ideals. They can be sexy, smart, assertive, or subject to none at all. Masculinization does not define us.