*womXn = more inclusive term
Social media has been very much alive recently and all eyes are on Slick Woods. At 22 years old she has worked with some of the biggest fashion labels in the world, walked down the most important catwalks and is the style icon you want wearing your clothes.
She hasn’t had an easy life and her story has resonated with many womXn, not only those who wish to enter the modelling world, but womXn who grew up believing they weren’t beautiful simply because they didn’t meet the world’s Eurocentric beauty standards. Small sloped nose, skinny, light or white skin, long hair etc. Slick Woods and many other womXn don’t meet these standards and people out there somehow have made it their mission to hate them for it.
Society uplifts a very small percentage of womXn who are deemed to be beautiful simply because they tick a few boxes; boxes that are always changing, just 10 years ago the ideal body type was nothing like it is today! WomXn can’t just change their DNA. There is an immense amount of pressure on us these days, thin lips aren’t seen as attractive so girls get lip fillers and are still told they’re not good enough. There needs to be a balance of womXn being allowed to have full autonomy of their bodies, whether it’s real or not. More doors need to open for womXn who are seen as unconventionally beautiful, if only one type of beauty is glorified all others are percieved as less important nor worthy of acceptance, respect and love. This goes for in and out of the law and in public spaces known as pretty privilege.
I have always been a dark-skinned womXn so self-love only recently came into the picture when I realised I could bleach if I wanted to, I could relax my hair or tuck it away under attachments if I wanted to and receive social validation but deep down, I understood such societal validation was only temporary until the next trend came along.
Nothing was fixed, so I decided to fix things myself, by not changing myself, but learning to love what was there. I didn’t wake up one day and suddenly everything I used to dislike about myself I loved. It is a long and hard journey; one I am still very much on.
However, when I look back to my younger self I’m not in that severe self-hate anymore, I see what I shouldn’t have to change. I see myself for what I am. A Black womXn with a story to tell and a life to live.
I needed to detach myself in order to find myself. I needed to reconnect with the parts of me that I had shut away for so long, like a loose thread on clothing I cut it off.
I understand not everyone is born with the ability or grows into the ability to learn to love themselves and that’s fine, nothing this serious is automatic but like I said, you’ve got to find yourself, learn to love yourself even with the change you’re going through.
There’s nothing wrong with changing things about yourself to feel good. There is something very wrong with it, however, if you’re doing it for others.
I know I talk about this a lot, my shaved head, and there’s a million and one reasons why I shaved my head. It wasn’t because I was ashamed of my kinky hair, but because I wanted to embrace another part of me, one I hadn’t explored yet.
I still have acne, I still have hyperpigmentation, my skin is still dark and my hair non-existent but my 4C DNA is loved and understood, so much more than before. Why? Why would I glorify what society says I shouldn’t? Because there’s only so much I can change and so much I should have to change.
My appearance can be described as unacceptable and like Slick Woods and so many womXn we don’t fit this unwritten law telling us what we should look like. Yet, that’s just it, it’s unwritten. We hold the ability to define as we please, society is still a pain in the ass towards Slick Woods but she’s still thriving, we all can.
That’s why I love womXn like Slick Woods so much, not only is she a complete badass, but she’s showing so many people that success, happiness and joy is possible; if you find it in yourself others will see it too. Your facial features are what make you unique, unconventional beauty is still beauty.
Just because it isn’t plastered on the covers of magazines, on all TV shows and movies doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful. For Black womXn especially, our entire bodies are glorified on every race but our own, from an age where we become more social and open to public scrutiny our features aren’t seen as desirable.
WomXn like Slick Woods sends a message to everyone who grew up like this, in a world that hates us, loves what we have but doesn’t want us, that beauty shouldn’t be the epitome of who you are, let your words and actions be that. The world will soon follow behind such strength and there lies true beauty.
Take flowers for instance there are so many different variations, all amazing and lovely to look at. The most popular flower being a rose, it’s long and tall, red and smells nice. Then there’s daisies, which random fact are actually weeds, but you know what?
At some point most of us have appreciated a daisy’s beauty. Daisies, while they are small, hold their own importance, they’re memories of from our childhood of daisy chains, symbols of love and new beginnings. No two daisies are the same and there’s so many variations of daisies some grow really tall, some very little, different colours etc but my point is; they are all just as beautiful as roses, they’re just different.
Difference shouldn’t be ridiculed.
Difference in appearance should be celebrated. Do you know how weird the world would be if everyone looked the same? Slick Woods is just being herself and climbing ladders. She’s fought and won. She’s written her own narrative. We should all be able to do this. We should all be able to be daisies and roses to bloom as we please, where we please and how we please. It’s in our DNA.
Now before anybody goes off on a temper tantrum that I’m going against Eurocentric features, if that’s the point of view you received you are gravely mistaken. The Importance Of Slick Woods is about not just uplifting one type of beauty, but all variations of it.
If you disagree, that’s your personal problem. The baton of beauty should be passed to everybody, beauty is subjective and shouldn’t be written in stone. Beauty is constantly changing and rather than trying to keep up, let’s stop and think. What do you want?
People should be allowed to love their freckles, big noses, dark skin, very pale skin, rolls, acne, gap teeth, kinky hair or lack of hair, big lips, scars, round face, stretch marks etc.
Love. It. All.