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Portrait of a beautiful African American woman wearing an orange head scarf, beaded necklaces and long dreads in an outdoor setting.

Source: Mireya Acierto / Getty

Women are conditioned, from childhood, to prioritize our beauty. Somewhere along the journey, between adolescence and adulthood, life’s challenges chip away at our confidence. And it leads us to question the foundation of our womanhood that we once tied to our appearance. It’s a daily struggle for many woman, me included.

I often wonder what it feels like to feel beautiful. What if my stride commanded attention and my energy was combustible. And I didn’t seek validation in song lyrics. But society has shown me otherwise — that my beauty isn’t enough.

I grew out entranced with being a princess. Twirling in my hand-picked pink ruffled dresses, careful to never get dirty as my mother sternly requested. I watched movies like the Little Mermaid, The Princess Diaries and Ever After wishing it was me. The commercials made me believe iI too could be a princess. Then Meghan Markle achieved my dream and I was reminded, Black women’s beauty is constantly diminished.

Women like Serena Williams are constantly criticsized and stripped of their appeal because they don’t fit into societal standards, which are based off Eurocentric features. She was scrutinized for her build and her “attitude.” Her muscular frame was compared to that of a man’s.

A cartoonist from the Herald Sun depicted Williams so harshly, even JK Rowling came to her defense tweeting, “Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman into a faceless prop.”

From Serena to Megan Thee Stallion, the Black woman’s face and body is highly criticized. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to define beauty with celebrity women like Rihanna and Lizzo leading the charge for self-love.

How can you live in bliss without the noise of the world? Unfortunately, it still ultimately falls on you. It’s still your responsibility. Nothing changes the fact that you are worthy. No matter what society says you still have to love you right? So if you say you’re beautiful, guess what, you are!

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As A Black Woman, I Had To Learn How To Define My Own Version Of Beauty  was originally published on hellobeautiful.com

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