About Young BW Determined to Live Well

After being a faithful reader of various blogs dedicated to positively influencing black women, I recognized quite a few young black women in their teens, 20's, and 30's who were touched by the message as much as myself. This blog is my attempt to reach out and connect with young black women on issues we may be facing at a very transitional time in our lives. I encourage all, irrespective of age, class, origin, etc. to participate in the discussions and brainstorming sessions we have. I look forward to the potential of this blog and hope to hear from Young Black Women Determined to Live Well like myself!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Listen to your feelings, it may be time to step outside of the Safe Zone.

Greetings to the ever Angelic Young BW Determined to Live Well! I thought about something this evening and wanted to share:

As I am sure many of you can agree with, the circles in which many black women spend their time are generally all black. If you observe close enough, the girlfriends tend to be all black as well. I don't find anything wrong with this as it takes time to develop a friendship. Dismissing what many have found to be a solid support system of friends is very risky. All people need support from friends in life. Without it, we would lose the spark and desire to keep going. However, for some young bw determined to live well, their group of girlfriends may not be interested in socializing in a way that allows her to meet different people, or different men (wink* Wink*).

Things usually look like this:

While she secretly feels like this: "Hmmm...there are so many cute guys here I could be getting to know right now...but if I leave the group it is going to be obvious...and if they realize who I'm checking out (the cute non-bm over there), they would most certainly have 'something to say' about it..."

Meanwhile she wishes her public outings looked like this:

Maybe you want a more diverse group of people in your sphere, or you want an even distribution of men to women in your outings. The primary difference in these images are the inclusion of men in social circles, and people from different backgrounds or ethnic groups than yourself . I think you will also notice that when people of other racial/ethnic groups go out, there is a mix of men and women. If not, a conscious effort is made to mingle with members of the opposite sex by all groups. This seems to have grown very rare with the groups of black women I have seen while out.

Dropping your girlfriends and going it alone is quite unthinkable to many. Fear plays a large part in things remaining as they are. However, if you have ever spent time with a group of girlfriends in a public setting of many eligible men in the room, some of whom are a different race than yourself, and felt uneasy about getting up to mingle . . . or if you've ever spent the entire night in the same area of ________ (insert any establishment with a large concentration of single men and women), speaking only to your girlfriends, simply to end the night without having met one new person . . .  or if you went home thinking you dressed up for what could have easily been a girls night at home, you need to listen to what your feelings are telling you. Step outside of the safe zone, and seek out women who share similar desires as yourself. They are out there. Finding them takes a little more work, primarily because of the racio-political dynamic that exists in the country concerning Black women who have interests that "black people/ black women are not supposed to do." BUT!  It is indeed possible and just one more step that could bring you closer to living well. Remember to believe in yourselves ladies. You can do it!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Power in the Pretty

Black women should wear makeup that flatters their features a majority of the time. Black women should also maintain a great skincare regimen that has demonstrated excellent results within the first month of continuous application. Black women should take the time to find and recreate hair styles that flatter their facial features. In many ways, I am preaching to the choir in this post. I have encountered many excuses reasons given by black women for not wearing makeup, and not daring to spend a little more on a quality skincare line formulated for their needs. Styling of our hair can take many forms. However, I have witnessed both natural and relaxed women who clearly are not willing to put effort in finding the right style to fit their face rather than the latest "trendy" styles. Some of which, come off as harsh when balanced against the woman's complexion and features. In response to the reasons I hear for not making a real effort, I can only continue to advocate that every single black woman is different in her own way. Black women are not a monolith in any sense of the word. However, I do believe collective image of a group can help or hinder you as an individual who is categorized within that group. Doing the above mentioned things don't hinder most women who are living in the Western world. So...by deliberately opting out of these practices, I feel confident in concluding, it further hinders the ascension of Black Women's collective image. 

If you are in any way conflicted by what i have just said, I encourage you to read the blog: "The Sojourner's Passport" and pay special attention to the "Beauty as a Weapon" category. Beauty as a Weapon

Beauty as a weapon in the figurative sense is where I would like to focus. While reading the blog, Black & Femme, I had the pleasure of watching this video. The young woman in the film decided to test the claims of a study on how women who wear makeup and dress femininely are received by men, compared to women who do not wear makeup and dress with little care for how clothes fit their body. The results are quite telling.

In addition, there is a three part series on the Psychology Today website, that touches on the importance of attire in commanding power. In  Part 1 , Part 2 , and Part 3 , the author explains topics like choosing the right color, fabric, fit, hairstyle, accessory, etc. to help with commanding respect and power in the corporate world. The examples and images used are of caucasian individuals. However, the same can be said about black women of various skin tones, sizes, and shapes. For example, one of the major things I practice is wearing colors that are complementary to my skin color. I stay away from dark, somber colors like black, gun metal gray, navy blue, or dark brown because in general, they do not complement my complexion as well as lighter, brighter, or jewel tone colors. If I must wear something dark in color, like a skirt suit, the blouse worn underneath the blazer is going to be in a complementary color to my skin color. The same method can be used when purchasing a scarf for the fall and winter seasons. A black scarf may be just as warm as a pink or ivory scarf, but the pink and ivory scarf are going to do more for my skin color and enhance my beauty.

As an example I am going to use Kelly Rowland to show a comparison of how certain colors complement or do nothing at all for brown skin. The first images are of Kelly wearing darker somber colors:

As always, her makeup and hair look beautiful. The silhouette of the longer grey dress is very flattering to her shape. However, take a look at images of Kelly when wearing a bright pearl necklace while still wearing black:
A little better than opting to go without a necklace like the first set of images. The pearl necklace brings the focus directly to Kelly's face and create a pleasant contrast. The same strategy of bringing attention to the face can be attempted through scarfs of pretty pastel and jewel toned colors.  Now, look at images of Kelly wearing colors that flatter her skin color:

With the addition of a complimentary color, Kelly's skin color comes alive!  Also, it is important to note the shades of yellow, orange, pink, white, and red that work with her brown skin. For instance, certain shades of purple may not flatter her as well as other shades. See the example below:

I would say the 2nd purple dress flatters Kelly more than the deep wine colored dress. Both dresses are pretty, but the coloring of the fabric closest to the face can make her stand out or get lost in the background. What are some of the steps you take as young bw determined to live well, to enhance your  unique beauty?