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Black Experiences / Feminism

Warning! Black Woman Being

"But a “Resting Bitch Face” is only cute or acceptable when tied to a small pretty body. Place this face on a bigger dark skin woman and it becomes a warning."

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Written by Lucille Germain.

I’m so tired of dealing with people’s misconceptions of me. The majority of people look at me and instantly pile a lifetime of media brainwashing about big dark Black women right on top and never see me for who I really am. Suddenly, everything I say and every move I make is heavily covered in their intimidation and painted in whatever light that manifests as.

From the manager who accuses me of getting angry at her feedback after I ask a few (seemingly simple) questions to the nursing assistant who angrily storms off and refuses to help me because she found my tone abrasive, I am finding it extremely hard to just be and relax on a day to day basis. Day to day basis – I emphasize this because it’s deeper than the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype-the one that makes a monster out of Serena when she has the audacity to fight back against injustices in the game. There is no “spirit of the game” for her- just Bruce Banner turns Hulk or more aptly- King Kong. No, this is deeper than that: this isn’t a math equation: wrongdoing plus Black female reaction equals Angry Black Woman, the villain of the century. This is more Peaceful Black Woman or Chillin’ Black Woman…Relaxing Black Woman-walking,eating, driving, being while Black-excuse me, while dark, while big, AND while Black. (Lord forbid!)

It starts off small: sitting at a bus stop or staring off into space and being accused of shooting daggers and dirty looks at passersby that I didn’t even notice passing by. “Resting Bitch Face” as it’s been coined-a cute attempt to label what shouldn’t even need a label-a woman not smiling. But a “Resting Bitch Face” is only cute or acceptable when tied to a small pretty body. Place this face on a bigger dark skin woman and it becomes a warning. Suddenly, everyone has their guard up and is prepared to fight a battle that she wasn’t even aware she was fighting. A “good afternoon” delivered without a smile is her first attack-she threw the first punch so now it’s time to fight. Time to hit her with the eye roll, the crossed arms, the scoff and the harsh tone. Time to become the hero, taking down the world’s worst predator

But a “Resting Bitch Face” is only cute or acceptable when tied to a small pretty body. Place this face on a bigger dark skin woman and it becomes a warning. Suddenly, everyone has their guard up and is prepared to fight a battle that she wasn’t even aware she was fighting.

The worst part is that in these moments these aggressions are only understood by me. If I look around for validation from the eyes of an onlooker- that “did you just see that?” eyebrow raise or expression of shock-it’s never found. Because no one is paying attention, and those that are paying attention either agree with the other party or don’t see anything wrong in the situation at all. Because Black women are always “sassy.” Because fat women are always “tough.” Because dark skin women are always “hella ratchet.” Because I am the 300 pound, tall, Black, bald woman so therefore I must have been the antagonist, or I must be  “strong” enough to handle the situation on my own. Or of course, my life isn’t of enough value for someone’s empathy. Compassion.

I’m not the ghetto secretary from a 90s film: chomping on her gum, filing her acrylic nails, and talking on the phone with her boyfriend Tyrone-reque when you’re just trying to confirm your 8 o’clock appointment. I am not the token fat, bald, Black woman in the lesbian biker dive bar, shooting dirty looks at you from across the room for daring to enter and order a Shirley Temple like you own the place. I am not the Big Mama in the field singing gospel songs of “we shall overcome” as I hold a sack of twenty pound cotton in one hand, and wipe the sweat from my dripping brow in the other, as a pale white baby suckles from my teat.

Because Black women are always “sassy.” Because fat women are always “tough.” Because dark skin women are always “hella ratchet.” Because I am the 300 pound, tall, Black, bald woman so therefore I must have been the antagonist, or I must be  “strong” enough to handle the situation on my own. Or of course, my life isn’t of enough value for someone’s empathy. Compassion.

No-I am a complex person like every other human being with my own effing story. And if my body, face, color, or lack of hair scares you, that’s on you. So please assume the best when I approach you, because if you’re already looking at me through your misinterpretations or if your guard is already up, you won’t ever see me or actually hear what I’m saying.


About the Author

Lucille is a middle school teacher and blogger, currently navigating life on the other side of twenty-something.

Follow on IG: @the_not_so_christian_blog | Follow on Twitter: @a_lit_writer


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