I consider myself astronomically underrated. I look in the mirror, and I’m more often than not impressed as well as confused. Like, are the people around me and I looking at the same person? Because I feel like my face has a net worth of at least 135 likes per picture, and I’m being modest. But as the saying goes, we accept the heart eyes we think we deserve.
I kid (or do I?) but in all seriousness I get how it feels to be underrated (or at least think you are). A lack of attention or attention from the wrong places can easily, but unfortunately, lead to self doubt and insecurity. You want to be reassured of your own value and worth. You want to be validated, and it’s completely understandable.
It can be hard to think highly of yourself or your appearance when you’re a black girl in a predominantly white country with overwhelmingly eurocentric beauty standards. The leading lady in any popular mainstream film or television series probably looks nothing like you, and on the off chance she’s not white, her features are probably as white as possible. It can be easy to harbor resentment towards women that are seemingly put on a pedestal, and dismiss any of their personal struggles with self esteem or self acceptance because you feel you got the shorter end of the stick. But just because something is easy doesn’t make it right.
Don’t get me wrong; I understand why people start hashtags and social media campaigns about embracing alternative beauty. I can empathize with the frustration expressed towards the #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter hashtag, and societal preferences in general.
However, while people can claim to be “celebrating diversity” or “raising awareness” or whatever pseudo cause works most effectively for them, more often than not these are poorly disguised cries for attention and admiration. I’ve actually seen first hand people complaining that their photos didn’t get enough attention on Black Out Day.
But at the end of the day, when the notifications are slowing down and social media has moved on to its next trending topic, who’s going to feed your ego? Who’s going to keep you confident? The answer should be you, because you’re the only person responsible for the way you feel about yourself.
We can name call and blame society until our last breaths, but ego isn’t something to be approached collectively. You can tweet that #BlackGirlsAreMagic and #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter all you want, but when you’re face to face with your inferiority complex, the hashtags won’t save you. Being black or white or anything in between is neither an asset or a disadvantage, nor should it be treated that way. Drop the bandwagon beauty and self absorbed slacktivism. You need to start loving yourself, for yourself, by yourself.