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©Vashtiy Alsaudamir, The Brown Girl Dilemma. All rights reserved. The content of this blog is not to be used without written permission from me – vashtiyalsaudamir@gmail.com – Thank you for your comments and support. All Photographs featured on this blog are property of their respective owners, unless otherwise stated. #thebrowngirldilemma #thebrowngirlnetwork #TBGD #TBGN

Dilemma #43 - The Independent Woman

Ms. Independent (The Feminist)
The “Independent woman” was first birthed during the Feminist Movement as a way for a woman to have rights and be equal to men. Feminism in the United States began with 19th-century activism in favor of women's voting rights. It gained speed and notoriety through the 20th and early 21st centuries. In general, feminism's course led to broader comprehensiveness with regard to race and social class. In 2010, Feminism in parts of the western world has gone through three waves. First-wave feminism was oriented around the station of middle- or upper-class white women and involved suffrage and political equality. Second-wave feminism attempted to further combat social and cultural inequalities. Third-wave feminism is continuing to address the financial, social and cultural inequalities and includes renewed campaigning for greater influence of women in politics and media. In reaction to political activism, feminists have also had to maintain focus on women's reproductive rights, such as the right to abortion. Feminism was created for population control, in fact, it is evil, its premise is to set the woman against the men to separate the family. See (Chapter 11) the objective of planned parenthood.
This movement lead to women exerting themselves other men, birthing the term “I don’t need a man.”
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:23 KJV
The independent woman is taught that she doesn’t need a man, when in fact she does. They are taught to hate men and their authority, their position as the head of the household. When protection and provision are absent it all goes bad. Are men really to blame for everything. Sure as young girls if no father figure is present, a girl for having no example to look to as to what a real man is. The mothers never taught their daughters to respect men. In reality, we need men like we need a toothbrush. Yes, we do. Now before you throw me under the bus, here is why it is the natural vein of what the Most High wanted. The woman is to run the home and teach the children, while the man is the breadwinner. Many will say well that is old fashion or we are not in the stone age anymore. The truth is we were much better when women were homemakers. This is a great need at this day in time. Stay at home moms are often looked upon as lazy, unmotivated, or as dirt. So now a lot of women today feel that they could never be a homemaker, but by God's grace, you can be that woman, because it is the Most High’s will.
I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan. 1Timothy 5: 14-15 KJV
Sure there are some instances when the woman must work: She is a widow, a single mother with no husband or the father of her children is nowhere around. In today’s time, most women work because they want the American dream, the Chanel handbags, high dollar cars, the big house… want to look good to the world. But in the process, the marriage falls apart and the children are overlooked. Yes, a lot of the men want their wife to help provide for the family. This has never been the will of the Most High but through sin and being taught lies many people have been lead astray from the original plan. Your husband is to rule over you and you are to obey his authority. The independent woman has no desire to be submissive just to lead. The Most High ordained the man to be the head of the household.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Ephesians 5:23 KJV
Our matriarch Sarah, submitted to her husband to the point of calling him, Lord. Sarah stood by Abraham, and he had the wealth to take care of her. You didn’t see Sarah, punching a time clock at IBM every morning. She took care of the things pertaining to the home and her children. Working from home is a full-time job with taking care or your children the future leaders of the world, homeschooling, chores of keeping her house clean, and preparing meals. So a housewife is not to be looked upon as a bad thing. It is the most honorable job you can ever have. The independent woman is a worldly perspective is not a biblical woman is honorable in the Most High’s eyes. The Most High commands every mother to love her children and her husband. To be a comfort to her husband and not a rottenness of his bones.
Ask yourself, "Where are your children and what are they doing?"

Pigmentocracy in India

In the land of Vivid Colors and Exquisite Architecture, where the 5th largest film industry in the world "Bollywood" thrives with its wholesome view on sexuality, there lies just beneath the surface a dilemma of "Colorism" and "Shadeism" which are problematic concepts where light skin is more favorable and darker skin is inherently less attractive. This concept or belief has turned the skin lightening epidemic through the advertising campaign of "Fair is Lovely" into a billion dollar industry. Where did this begin? Through colonization by Great Britain in the 17th century, where dark-skinned Indians were conditioned to believe that having light skin was a prized possession. Light skin was also associated with status, attractiveness, and desirability. The “Unfair and Lovely” campaign is debunking the myths of Shadeism and promotes unity among the darker women and girls the world over, they express their personal challenges with confronting the Isms: Colorism and Shadeism. Way to Go ladies! #unfairandlovely
© Vashtiy Alsaudamir, this interview is not to be used without permission.
Meet the beautiful Trina Moitra, who is more than a pretty face, she possesses a kind and loving character. She is a senior branding consultant and the Head of Marketing at Convert.com. She loves delving into different cultures and is passionate about beauty without boundaries or inhibitions.
Q: On the color chart in India, what are you considered? Light or Dark?
Trina: I am considered somewhere between fair and very fair.
Q. How has your skin color affected your life? In your career, dating, or marriage if that applies.
Trina: I can't think of an instance where my skin color has helped me in my career. But being "presentable" overall definitely has. Even in online settings where people don't see my face to face, is well put together has won me a distinctive edge. In the marriage market though complexion still rules for the majority of people. If you're "fair" and have a clear skin, that's literally half the battle won. Especially for women.
Q: Do you think that "Colorism" started with the caste system in India?
Trina: Not really. I think colorism is the persistent residue of colonial dominance in India. You won't see too many of the Millennials subscribing to this mindset of "fairer is better". They are open and accepting of all skin tones and complexions. But the Generation X in the country is still besotted with white. I know it sounds racist but in my personal opinion that is one of the main reasons why Indians have continued to revere the white skin. As the old colonial wounds heal from the psyche of the nation, this obsession too shall pass. As a darker skinned race, we will always find being fair fascinating just because it is so different. But it will be a matter of curiosity or aesthetic appeal and not a yardstick to measure potential or worthiness with.
Q: How are the darker women treated in India?
Trina: As I discussed, the Millennials are more into how to clear someone's skin is and not the tone of the skin or the complexion. But in the marriage market very dark-skinned women may have a harder time finding someone suitable.
Q: Why do you think there is a skin lightening epidemic across the world?
Trina: I think this epidemic is very much restricted to the East. As far as I know, most Africans who still reside in the country respect their ebony skin. They even dye their palms a pitch black during weddings and the darker a lass, the more beautiful she is. I find this amazing and very much worth emulating. Skin lightening is generally done because of two reasons: - To be more beautiful. I get this because most of the glitz and glamour in the world can still be traced back to the West. Power is constantly associated with countries like the US and the standard of beauty there is largely porcelain skin, blonde hair, and a svelte figure. People who are especially in the public eye want to conform to this standard. - To be more worthy. This is more so a trait in races that have been oppressed by Caucasians. The taking on of the "white" skin is in a way being equal to the status of those who have always exerted control over the lives of the darker skinned individuals. This might actually be a motivation that is unconscious.
Q: How much annually is spent in your country on skin lightening?
Trina: The skin lightening market in India is projected to touch US$31.2 billion by 2024.
Q: How old were you when you discovered that the lightness of your skin would play a critical part in your success in life?
Trina: Around 16 or 17, I realized that I had a subtle advantage but I didn't really feel that my peers who weren't light skinned were disadvantaged.
Q: Are there any Bollywood actresses that speak against colorism? If so, what do they say about it?
Trina: The two divas who come to mind are Priyanka Chopra and Nandita Das. While Priyanka Chopra speaks holistically about being enough and treasuring one's authentic self, Nandita Das is more vocal about the trend of skin lightening. She has appeared in several "Stay Unfair" campaigns that are a rebuttal to the "Fair & Lovely" advertisements advocating skin lightening products.
Q: Do you think parents are responsible for teaching their children that they are special no matter their skin color? What did your mother teach you? What would you teach your future daughter?
Trina: ABSOLUTELY. Parents need to take some time away from grilling their children about studies and achievements and instead focus on ensuring they know that they are enough - just the way they are. The works of experts like Marisa Peer show that a sense of belonging, a positive frame of mind and unshakable faith in oneself drive success in life. Not how many hours a child studies.
Q: What advice would you give to darker Indian girls about skin color issues?
Trina: Do you really crib about the fact that there are purple flowers? A flower - regardless of its hue - is treasured because of its scent and its uplifting qualities. And a purple flower blooms big and bold, even though a white rose may be right beside it. There are some important lessons in these analogies. A. We are special, just because we are "we". And we need to add to who we are with our qualities, not necessarily our appearance. B. Just because someone else is fair or light skinned shouldn't detract from your glory. They have a different life path. Maybe their complexion suits them as yours will surely serve your unique challenges and gifts. C. If you want to lighten your skin, do it because you truly love the concept of "being fair". Not because you feel you have to conform to a pseudo-standard of beauty. If it brings you joy (and doesn't hurt your health) it is fair game - pun intended.
Q: What do you think about the fair and lovely campaign in India?
Trina: Won't lie. I fell for it in my college years. Even though I am already light skinned. The Fair and Lovely campaigns don't really fight above board. They link complexion to having an easier life. Which is true to some extent but who wants to keep pandering that destructive notion. If they really limited their portrayal to being light skinned for the sake of being light-skinned, not many people would pay attention! Good marketing, lousy message.
Q: What is the answer to "Colorism" in India?
Trina: The only answer is to make sure everyone - not just girls - understands that they are enough. Healthy self-esteem is very important. The next step would be to encourage body positive brands like Dove which are working to reinforce the statement that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Life's too short to live with cultural baggage. Dump it already.
Photo Credit: Ranjan Bhattacharyya Photography

Shadeism in the Modeling Industry.

“To be beautiful, handsome, means that you possess a power which makes all smile upon and welcome you; that everybody is impressed in your favor and inclined to be of your opinion; that you have only to pass through a street or to show yourself on a balcony to make friends and to win mistresses from among those who look upon you. What a splendid, what a magnificent gift is that which spares you the need to be amiable in order to be loved, which relieves you of the need of being clever and ready to serve, which you must be if ugly, and enables you to dispense with the innumerable moral qualities which you must possess in order to make up for the lack of personal beauty.” ― Théophile Gautier, Mademoiselle de Maupin
© Vashtiy Alsaudamir, this interview is not to be used without permission.
My interview with the electrifying beauty Venika Kalambay, a London based Beauty Blogger and Model.
Q: As a model have you ever experienced racism or colorism? If so, give me an example?
Being a minority I think there are small instances where you can sense undercurrents of racism but I, fortunately, have not had any serious experiences of direct racism, perhaps growing up in London has meant that I am a part of a wider range of cultures and people are more accepting of different cultures here. My father lived and worked in the Middle East for about 3 years and visiting him was one of the first experiences where I felt as though I was in a completely different era in terms of time because people were so fascinated by me, my black mother and black sisters.
Q: What was the best compliment you ever received and what was the worst?
I always get complimented on my eyes, I have super big eyes (at least I think) and people always tell me how drawn to them they are. One of the worst compliments I received was actually something that wasn’t outwardly rude but reading between the lines, I understood what was being said. I was at the till point at my job and I was serving a lady, I could clearly hear from her accent that she was South African. We began to chat and then she said that she thought I was very pretty, to which I replied with the obvious niceties, she then proceeded to ask where I was from and I replied The Democratic Republic of Congo, to which she then asked if both my parents were black and I replied yes, they were brought up in the same area of Congo. She then asked if I was sure, to which I replied yes, to add another level of awkwardness to this situation she then began to point at my face and say, no, this, this - pointing at me - you have to be mixed with something, is there anyone white in your family? At this point, I was convinced she was honestly just trying to find out more about where I had come from when it was explicitly obvious what she was trying to say. After this whole awkward conversation, I relayed the whole thing to my colleague, who happened to be a black male and at this point, I was beginning to feel so incredibly stupid and naive as he was attempting to make it clear to me exactly what the woman was hinting at. It was obviously too hard for her to just point out that I was pretty and leave it at that, she couldn’t believe that I was 100% black, this was my very first “pretty for a black girl situation” and I was fortunate enough to be old enough, I believe I was 21 at the time, to not allow the situation to knock my confidence in any way. The most shocking thing that was her daughter was standing next to her the whole time and I was so confused as to why she would allow her daughter to be around her when she was making such blatantly racist comments.
Q: Tell me something about yourself that nobody knows?
As confident as I may appear now, it took me a long time to get to this point, I would honestly say that I never really felt beautiful until I was about 19 years old and now I cannot possibly understand how and why it took me so long to appreciate my talents and the qualities I possess that are so unique to me. When I was maybe 14 or 15, I read a book by Kimora Lee Simmons called ‘Fabulosity: What It Is & How to Get It,’ which taught me so much about being a woman, it taught me such incredible and valuable life lessons and most importantly the book helped me to finally gain some confidence and start loving myself. I am so incredibly grateful to Kimora for indirectly giving me that through what she offered in that book, she holds a very special place in my heart and to this day I always refer to that book as the book that changed my life.
Q: What would you say to a younger girls growing up with issues of colorism? Being hated because she has a darker skin tone?
It took me a long time to finally begin to love myself and my skin and all the little imperfections so I can understand how hard it is for young girls growing up in 2017. My advice would be to stay true to your reality, do whatever it is that makes you happy and have a belief in your magic that is so unwavering that there is not one person that can tell you otherwise. Don’t focus on growing up too fast, as obvious as that advice may seem, as you get older you will definitely wish for those carefree moments that you only really have when you’re young, where nothing else matters but having fun at that moment. Be kind and have courage.
Q: Do you think that light skinned women are treated better?
I most definitely think that light skinned women are seen as more desirable. I think particularly in the case of love and relationships, men, especially black men, do always gravitate towards light skinned women, I cannot speak for other areas of life but that is particularly where I can see evidence of this. I think music culture has definitely contributed towards this, as these women are often more glorified in music videos and popular culture as opposed to darker skinned women, however, I think we are seeing a shift and people are realizing how beautiful darker skin is.
Q: How has been dark-skinned affected your life? Both negatively and positively..?
I wouldn’t necessarily define myself as dark-skinned, I see myself as a black woman, I never put those kinds of labels on myself because I believe people can sometimes get fixated on just being that one thing. What is often the most frustrating thing is that I am black, I have brown skin, I have cousins who have fairer skin than me but I don’t feel my complexion is particularly dark but often I feel that because some people only see light skin women as the norm, they label everyone even a tad bit darker as dark skin, which I don’t feel is right and it is almost seen as though is a bad thing to be darker. God created us in all different shapes, colors, sizes and this is the positive that I choose to take from something that can be so negative. I don’t allow those experiences to stay embedded in my head, I remember I am beautiful, smart, kind and I keep it moving. In the past 2 years, however, being black is definitely being more celebrated and I am extremely proud to say that now more than ever, I feel a part of such a strong community. Since I am a beauty blogger, I would definitely say that sometimes it is challenging because I don’t truly feel that black creators are given opportunities to grow as quick as our white counterparts and this is something we need to push for. I think there are so many beauty brands that are incredibly problematic in not having shade selections that are available for the lightest of light to the darkest of dark because this contributes to the feeling of dark skin girls not feeling worthy enough to be included. To name a few, Too Faced, Tarte, it is not acceptable and I will always use my voice to speak about such injustices. Whilst not attempting to discount everything I have just said, I have to be honest and say as a black woman, I understand the power in my voice and overall, I have had a positive experience as a black woman in this industry. Whether it be because I am on the lighter end of the spectrum when it comes to “dark-skinned girls” I’m not sure. I am always going to choose to love myself and to ensure that what I do and my contribution to the world is what sets me apart and not the color of my skin.

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