My Definition.

07. October 2015 Truth 8

I had pretty much decided to give this week’s post a miss, simply because it goes against every teaching I EVER received from my culture. So if you’re reading this post shaking your head from side to side making that ‘tsk tsk’ disappointed sound, thinking “didn’t her mother teach her better” STOP that right now and hear me out.

Have you ever wondered why we look away or wince with embarrassment or pick out flaws when we see a black woman in a bathing suit, but yet we don’t even flinch when we see a white woman in a bathing suit? It’s almost like we’ve been brainwashed by the media and society into believing that beautiful is skinny with golden olive skin and bright blue or green eyes and long dark silky locks. What, so it’s ok for white women to celebrate their bodies and for the world to call that beautiful and sexy and for that to be the standard to which all women are held to, even though in reality we come in all different shapes colours and sizes? I feel like black women are so under-represented especially in the fashion industry. Yes, there has been some improvement over the years however when you do come across a picture of a black woman in a magazine it’s normally a half black woman who still technically has that golden olive-brown skin and the long black silky locks down her back. So where does that leave the rest of us?

I come from a culture where showing a lot of skin is pretty much considered ‘soliciting’ your body and therefore you could be labelled ‘loose’ in our community. To be seen in your bathing suit is considered taboo, inappropriate or vulgar. Don’t get me wrong, I understand there are some good lessons for young women such as ‘value yourself’ and ‘respect your body’ however there is also another side to this that I feel has left me with a certain complex when it comes to my own body image. The truth is that I have really struggled with enjoying my sexuality and femininity without dealing with the fear of being judged or even fighting my own feelings of guilt and embarrassment. It’s taken me years (as in it’s still a work in progress) to feel somewhat comfortable in my own skin and I’ve realized that I’m not alone in this. Besides that one science class in high school on ‘reproduction’ no one really talked to me about female sexuality, I was always told to hide my body but never told to be proud of my body…well, until I met my husband.

So, here I am wearing these orange bathers that my husband got for me. I’m wearing them with a black wrap skirt around my waist because that’s MY definition of sexy and a little white tee because I’m a top or bottom kinda girl and a head wrap because I ain’t tryna get this wig wet! I love my culture and I certainly respect it but I think there is a greater conversation here, women in Africa today are being taunted and even beaten for wearing any clothing that is considered ‘tight’ or ‘revealing’. Keen to hear your thoughts.

8 thoughts on “My Definition.”

  • 1
    Anonymous on October 14, 2015 Reply

    BOLD, I must say….
    The truth is our beautiful black bodies are different from white bodies. We resemble a different kind of sexuality when we show skin. I am glad you pointed out that your husband approves of that and that is one of the fundamental issues that come into play when showing off our bodies especially for married women. However, where do we draw the line? We have the bodies yes, but how do we then teach our own children and following generations to value their bodies if it ok to show skin and showing it is an indication of pride (culture aside).

    What does showing skin resemble in essence and does it elevate a certain level of confidence? I think we need to have a certain level of respect when it comes to showing our bodies and how far it extends. You are at the beach and it is definitely allowed to show skin at the beach, but this has now extended to even walking in public. I just ask these questions because I am raising a daughter and I want her to be proud but not through exposing her body indecently or otherwise. I am very open to your post and I like the authenticity that comes from your thinking but maybe you can help me with the questions I have posed.

    • 2
      L'entendre on October 19, 2015 Reply

      Hi! Can’t tell who it is! hehe! Great questions especially when we’re talking about raising children. I think at the end of the day no one can really tell/show exactly you how to raise your daughter to be proud of her skin however to still value her body. I think only you can make those decisions based on your own belief system and what you think is decent/indecent. I certainly believe there is a time and a place for everything. Would i prance around in a bikini in front of my mother in law? errr Probably NOT, simply because I respect my culture and that’s something that i’m personally not comfortable with. Yes, my husband’s opinion is important to me, so if he wasn’t comfortable with it , it wouldn’t be here on my blog, but he also understands that black women have serious body image issues and we need not be shy of our sexy and wear it proudly. Our sexuality is different and we ooze probably a bit more sex appeal than white women but does it mean I can’t wear a short skirt or show more my skin?

      I think at the end of the day it’s about what you are comfortable with, eg. I’m wearing a T-short at the top because it makes me a little more comfortable. Like any fashion or dress sense it needs to be appropriate for the occasion, like you said.

  • 3
    Anonymous on October 7, 2015 Reply

    The style is definitely innovative, creative and brave. It is not easy to come out of ones norms. Often we spend all our lives pleasing and we forget to live our lives. One cannot help but admire you and your hubby. Bapa

    • 4
      L'entendre on October 7, 2015 Reply

      Brave. wow. I wouldn’t be able to share my message without the support of my husband. He allows me to be. That is something i will never take for granted. Thank you for the reminder to remember to live for me and not others.

  • 5
    Vimbai on October 7, 2015 Reply

    First off, girl you’re WERKING that bikini, the heck! Your hubby’s got great taste. Bravo!

    I love this post, it perfectly articulates how the encouragement to explore and express one’s sensuality and sexuality was pretty non-existant in our super conservative Zimbabwean upbringings.

    Nothing like exposure to different cultures and attitudes to help you make your mind up about what “defines” you.

    • 6
      L'entendre on October 7, 2015 Reply

      Thank you Vimbai, it’s a massive conversation and this is probably just the tip of the iceberg, i mean it’s probably easy for me to say because i’m living in a completely diff world.

      I suppose I just wanted to encourage women to talk a bit more about female sexuality, make their own decisions about their own bodies and just be more comfortable with who their bodies rather than seeking affirmation from the world.

  • 7
    Thelma on October 7, 2015 Reply

    First of all, HOT DAMN MATI!!! That bathers is not only HOTT, but you in fact heightened it’s sizzling factor baby sis! Your body is insane! Keep it up 🙂 On a past blog or it may have been an instagram post about the blog someone commented kuti Tapi needs to send more cows…well…let’s just say, Tapi needs to send more cows 🙂

    As for the topic at hand, I completely agree and change perceptions more and more of us need to celebrate our bodies and embrace ourselves as beautiful black women, with a new found respect for our unique authenticity. We can’t escape the brunt of traditions but we certainly can be proactive in offering a different perspective, respectfully, tastefully and with class and you sweetheart are leading a movement in that very cause.

    • 8
      L'entendre on October 7, 2015 Reply

      haha Thelma the way my dad is so cow obsessed at the moment he would actually love a couple cows!!

      I love what you’ve said about not trying to change our tradition but just offering a different perspective in a respectful way!Can’t wait to see your hot bod in a two piece YAAASSS!!

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