Black women are too strong, they don’t need men! Black women can do it all by themselves! I’m a strong Black woman! Strong, Strong, Strong…..but….what if you don’t want to be?
According to Wikipedia, The Strong Black Woman schema, as defined by scholars, is an archetype of how the ideal Black woman should act. This has been characterized by three components: emotional restraint, independence, and caretaking. Strong Black women must hold back their emotions to avoid appearing weak, portray themselves as strong and independent while being responsible for the problems of others, and take care of those problems as if they were their own. The concept of the Strong Black Women can be compared to that of a fictional superhero wearing a magical cape. However, for the purpose of this blog post, The Strong Black Woman wears a magical blazer instead, a designer one. It gives her the ability to carry not only her own burdens on her shoulders, but also those of others around her. She does this all while hiding her emotions, putting on a brave face, and keeping up an outward appearance of strength even though she is hurting on the inside.
“The Strong Black Woman” has to fulfill the expectations that everyone has of her, without displaying any trace of weakness. She goes to work in a majority white space as “The Strong Black Woman”. She comes home as “The Strong Black Woman”. She shows up in the world everyday as “The Strong Black Woman,” tucking away her emotional needs and ignoring her mental well being.
This notion of “The Strong Black Woman” creates a false narrative that perpetuates a lie and an illusion. It is this false belief that we are somehow better equipped to handle stress, hurt and problems in life better than everyone else . This does not allow us the freedom to embrace our own emotions, issues, and pain. It perpetuates the misconception that we should always put on a brave face to the world no matter what, causing so many of us to suffer in silence.
It is undeniable that there is a special quality within us as Black women. How is it possible to come from a people that have endured more than four hundred years of systemic racism and oppression to prevail and overcome, if not for possessing something special? With everything our ancestors and people have faced in this country, there is no question there is a remarkable level of resilience deeply embedded in us. However, let’s be honest with ourselves. We are not always strong because we want to be, we are strong because oftentimes we have no other choice.
The expectations placed on us can often be overwhelming. We have more hurdles to jump over, stereotypes to combat, endure microaggressions, all while keeping a brave face. There is this unspoken expectation for us to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and handle it all without uttering a complaint or shedding a single tear. This “Strong Black Woman Schema” leaves no room for us to be human. It serves to justify and provide an excuse for us to continue to be unprotected, disrespected, and neglected.
In closing, it’s okay to not put on your “Strong Black Woman Magical Blazer” today, because it never existed in the first place.
Hey Queen! Don’t forget to subscribe below to stay connected to receive updates, blog posts, and notifications.
Interested in exclusive content and receiving invitations to online events? Become a Queendom Subscriber today for only $20 a year. Learn more here.