We all have to encounter many obstacles throughout our lifetimes, especially women. As women, we are constantly in search of the perfect balance for every area of life. Woman must study diligently but find time to socialize, find love before it’s too late but show restraint or be called a slut. She must work fervently to gain respect but she ought not be too intimidating or she will be seen as a bitch. Woman must be confident and independent but not too independent or she will bruise someone’s ego. Most importantly, Woman must take care of her household. In the background, she is left to endure criticism based on her religion and ethnicity most of which are heavily critiqued by those who should be apart of her group. All of this negativity is enough to convince someone to give up the ghost. Then I ask myself  "How is it that there are so many sane people on earth?"

A while ago, a billboard caught my attention during a day time drive with a friend. It featured a beauty advertisement which displayed beautiful black women. I enthusiastically blurted out my delight in what I had seen. Finally, people of colour were being displayed in advertisements used to target members of our society. It may seem like a silly thing to get worked up over but growing up in a predominantly black society, I can’t remember seeing such as a youth. Everything from beauty to diaper ads featured persons of another ethnicity and every little girl (including me) wanted a white Barbie doll. But now, things have changed and I was grateful. However, my excitement took a backseat after I was asked to pay attention to the kind of black women who were in the forefront. They were all fair in completion and had long curly hair. I hadn’t paid any mind to it before…I didn’t think there was a need to. Suddenly I felt as though it was my duty as a black woman to stop being joyful and be mad. The pressure I had felt was ridiculous.

Recently, I encountered a rant while I was pacing through my Facebook news feed. A black woman was furious that light skinned black women with long curly hair were at the forefront of the natural hair movement. According to her, only “true” black women with kinky hair should be featured because they encountered more hardship growing up. I immediately thought back to the time that I had seen that beauty ad on a billboard. However, although my friend was expressing his displeasure with the media, this lady was expressing more anger towards the models themselves. Their parents were most likely from different races so they needed to be placed in a category of their own. At least, that was the impression I had gotten after reading her rant in its entirety.

The “light skinned” vs “dark skinned” battle rages along with the “nice hair” vs “bad hair” battle. On one instance, you are teased for being too black but in another, you can’t sit with us because you’re not dark enough. It is all rubbish to me.

In a world where we see so much damage caused by greed and hate, we still find time to create racial subgroups because of genetics. When will we learn and accept that we cannot control our genes or that of another?

Be mad at the media for trying to tell us what’s beautiful and what’s not but I pray that we do not misplace our rage on someone’s innocent child.