The first woman I ever recall idolizing was Darcel Wynne…the black, kick-ass, dancer on Solid Gold. The woman was ridiculous. I couldn’t tell you anything about the other dancers, because when Darcel took the stage I was riveted. She was the first in a long line of black women I wanted to be when I grew up.
My favorite band growing up was Sister Sledge. “We are family, I got all my sisters with me!” I grew up an only child… I don’t have any sisters… I thought they meant me. When I was around 6 years old, just after my parents’ divorce, my mom bought me tickets to their concert. My dad wanted me to go to Indiana with him to visit our kin folk. Unfortunately, he planned the trip for the week of the concert. My dad told me to choose…..yaaaaa, that concert was AWESOME!
I wanted to be Tina Turner for over a year. I wanted Clair Huxtable to be my mom. I’ve followed Maya Angelou the way some people follow the Dalai Lama, since I read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings in the ninth grade. The woman is my spritual guru. The list goes on and on: Queen Latifah, Oprah Winfrey, etc. etc. etc.
I’ve been listening to Oprah everyday, indulging in some serious hero worship. And last night when I saw Queen Latifah on TV I was immediately struck by how beautiful she is. I said as much to my sister-in-law, and then I said, “You know, my heroes have always been black girls.”
Historically, black women have been misrepresented, and I know there are comparatively few women of color in the media. But damn, the ones who are, are increasingly REAL, or REALISTIC. They’re smart, funny, short, tall, curvy, skinny, perfect, flawed…REAL WOMEN. As opposed to “air-brushed to perfection size 0 white super model” or “chunky, but funny, white girl.” It feels like the message for white women is “you’re one or the other.” The current exception is Christina Hendricks, and I must admit, for the first time in a long time I feel like ‘here is a white actress with whom I can identify’.
I started analyzing why I identify more with black women in the media than I do with white women in the media, and I think it comes down to this… when I see black women, I see strength, and power, and life. It just emanates like a light, especially off the women I’ve idolized.
What’s your point Angie? Here’s my point. ALL women have this light. I think we just need to make sure we don’t let others put the dimmers on it! ….or a really old antiquated lamp shade. Modern women can live out loud. Imperfect, short, tall, fat, thin, funny, intellectual, analytical, confrontational. REAL.
Also, it may not be healthy, but it is what it is…when I scroll through my mental rolodex of female movie stars and the like, trying to imagine who I’d like to look like when I finally reach my ideal weight. I’ve got to tell you… I’m not thinking of Kate Moss. If you’re naturally that skinny, Halelujah to you, but to me that reads as “tired, hungry, repressed.” Nope, I think of America Ferrera, Beyonce, and yes, finally, Christina Hendricks. Women who are more representative of REAL American women. Please note: I realize I have no chance in hell of looking like Beyonce at the end of this weight loss journey unless I purchase the underwear version of the wonder bra. But, I don’t care. A girl can dream.