Kylie Jenner And The Significance Of Her Cornrows On Black Culture
Kylie Jenner is being slammed to the ground by 16-year-old “Hunger Games” actress, Amandla Stenberg.
Stenberg accused Jenner of cultural appropriation after Jenner posted an Instagram photo of herself with cornrows reading, “I woke up like disss.”
Stenberg stated that Jenner used black culture to her advantage instead of acknowledging racial issues and police brutality:
“When u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter.”
Over the past few days, Stenberg has shared several piercing messages about black culture and womanhood on her own social media accounts.
Stenberg makes a great argument, but at the same time, all Jenner did was post a picture of herself wearing cornrows.
I understand why people believe the youngest of the Kardashian clan is not a “racist” for wearing her hair in a style more common in black women.
However, what people fail to realize is something simple as this has a great impact on those who have been affected by the racial tensions and issues behind that specific hairstyle.
Cornrows have been happening. They were not created yesterday or overnight, and certainly were not just discovered.
Braids and natural beauty have always been described as “ghetto,” “urban” and generally unattractive.
Obviously, it is extremely offensive to use those kinds of words, and women of color have been facing beauty and body-image double-standards and adversities their entire lives.
Stenberg expressed her feelings on Twitter as a way to discuss the differences between white women and black women. White women are portrayed as beautiful, while black women are”fetishized” and their bodies are “shamed.”
“White women are paragons of virtue and desire. Black women are objects of fetishism and brutality,” Stenberg wrote.
She continued by saying:
“This, at least, seems to be the mentality surrounding black femininity and beauty in a society built upon eurocentric beauty standards. While white women are praised for altering their bodies, plumping their lips, and tanning their skin, black women are shamed although the same features exist on them naturally.”
Stenberg called this issue “racial fetishism”:
“Deeply ingrained into culture is the notion that black female bodies, at the intersect of oppression, are less than human and therefore unattractive. They are symbols of pain, trauma, and degradation. Often when they are sexualized, it is from a place of racial fetishism.”
After her rant, she questioned — in regard to #BlackLivesMatter — if the lives of black women matter, too. Do you think Stenberg has a point?
One thing's for certain: White Americans will never experience racial issues in the same way black Americans have.
The same is true for black women and white women.
Braids are a part of black culture, and to just nonchalantly not give a f*ck is a slap in the face.
Trying to fit the all-American look and having to abide by society's beauty standards for years — if you can imagine it — can be extremely exhausting.
Yes, this is discrimination, prejudice and racism all fused together. And this is why Kylie Jenner's look is so phony, jaw-dropping and hypocritical from every possible angle.
Stenberg has been praised for her words, but she's also received criticism for expressing her opinions. She has been dismissed by some as an “Angry Black Woman.”
But, we simply need to try to understand Stenberg's perspective, why she said what she said, the truth and history behind her powerful words and why they're hurtful and considered cultural appropriation.
It is a real issue that has — and still is — affecting colored women, and many act as if it doesn't exist. They see it as just another “Angry Black Woman” preaching about exaggerated or untrue issues.
This is the exact stereotype Stenberg is fighting against, one that demoralizes black women by minimizing their feelings and labeling them irrelevant.
Instead of the mockery, Stenberg wants us to discuss the importance of breaking down stereotypes in Hollywood.
To have such an important female icon such as Kylie Jenner not speak about those very issues is harmful and unproductive.
Society tells women to “be natural” and “be you,” but back women have always been scrutinized for their braids. It's unacceptable to wear braids to the office, to interviews, on dates or anywhere else.
The media plays a major role in the way men perceive women and the overall standards of beauty.
Men, mainly black and Latino men, have always loved women in this form. It is the most basic and natural form of them all.
Do you know how many beautiful black and Latina women have been rocking their natural, big hair and beautiful derrière all of their lives?
Do you know how they've been shamed for it? Not felt beautiful? It has caused so much inner turmoil and many insecurities for young women.
And I can say that because I was one of those girls. I am a Latina. Trying to fit in into what was accepted and considered beautiful for years was extremely difficult.
Now, it's a completely different story. Now, it's acceptable to have all these “shameful” features because a white model did it.
Was she the first person to? Give me a break. What's next, the afro? Because Solange has been rocking that ‘fro for years, and she has been criticized numerous times.
Use your power and use it wisely. Is that so hard for celebrities to understand that?
Make a difference. If not, what's the point of being famous for pretty much nothing? Why not be famous for something besides looking 10 years older than you really are?
Can you blame Stenberg for speaking out? You can't. She's not angry; she's preaching the gospel.
Sorry, but I'm not sorry to say it, Kylie Jenner: It's time to start acting like you care. Act like it matters, and don't run away by posting another picture on Instagram. (I'm pretty sure she did that already.)
It's time for everyone to get real, understand the issues surrounding us and start breaking them.
Stop brushing it off like it doesn't matter — it does.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily.
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