In The Know and the women behind Black Girl Podcast have teamed up to bring you a special video series, “Enter the Chat,” where we’ll be discussing topics that range from dating and budgeting to self-care.
Where Instagram Face and various social media influencers are major stakeholders in beauty, this week’s episode of Enter The Chat unpacks how and why. Black Girl Podcast hosts Scottie Beam, Alysha P., Bexx Francois, Gia Peppers and Sapphira M. discuss attraction, self-love and body positivity.
The ladies introduce their first guest, the host of the Bonnets and Durags podcast, Simone Arrington. As the first question for the group, Arrington holds nothing back and throws the ladies for an instant loop.
“At what age did you find yourself attractive?”
For a moment, the hosts don’t have an answer, and the women deliberate the meaning of the word. Plus, Gia even looks up the official definition. After a few mumblings of deliberation, she offers her answer to the group, first.
Black Girl Podcast talks attraction
“I think I felt attractive for the first time at 13,” she says. “Remember how [people] used to talk about when you first came into your body. When you noticed you started getting attention from men, and you’re like, ‘What is this? This is nasty.’ But then you were like ‘Wait, I guess I am attractive.’ I didn’t know how to own it then, but I did know there was an attraction about me.”
Sapphira says that 13 was also the age she first went to the hair salon. Not only did she get blowouts, but she had waxed or threaded her eyebrows, too.
“It’s not really body positivity, but it has to do with Black hair and how we are raised.”
Bexx says that she is still working through what attractive is and means for herself. Plus, she expresses her gratitude for what her body gives to her right now.
“I’m just at a point where I am accepting parts of me or not even seeing parts of my body that used to stress me out so much,” she says. “I appreciate the fact that my body even moves. I appreciate that I breathe in and out on my own because I see so many people who don’t have those abilities anymore. A lot of my idea of attractiveness came from outside validation, especially from men.”
Scottie’s take is that some days she feels like people will get whatever body she gives that day. Then again, she notes that she, too, has her own insecurities.
“Of course, I have moments when I am overly critical of how I look,” Scottie starts. “I think colorism has something to do with it. I think being a full-figured woman has something to do with it. I’m learning to define what attractiveness is for me, and that’s the best I can do.”
Alysha says the first time she ever felt attractive was just two weeks ago when she passed her mirror one day.
“Sapphira, you said getting your eyebrows done and I was racing through my mind experiences where I felt beautiful, and it all had to do with something that I changed within my body,” she explains. Whether it was losing weight, getting my eyebrows done, perming or straightening my hair, getting extensions that [were] 30 inches long, it all had to do with something changing my body to conform to another norm.”
Sapphira also adds that how Black women change their hair also offers a sense of freedom.
“Cutting our hair, letting our hair grow wild, not touching your hair. Even before this, we were talking about edges. I don’t always have my edges slicked up like this. I know something that I’ve learned from my mother that I do cherish is ‘leave well enough alone.’ If you don’t have to touch it, you don’t have to touch it.”
Black Girl Podcast Talks Body Positivity
Gia spins Simone’s original inquiry of beauty and attraction. She asks about when everyone in the group believed they had a beautiful body.
“I want to know how people feel about their bodies especially in 2020.” She says. “How do you all feel about your bodies and your body type?”
The first reply is Alysha’s: “I ain’t got it because my body type is not the standard body type to be idolized and loved on, so I don’t have it. I’m not there.”
Scottie shares a similar opinion regarding her body and that there are things she wants to change. On the other hand, she offers up a different perspective to the discussion on body positivity.
“I wanna make sure that when we’re talking about body positivity, we’re talking about the ones that changed their body, too,” Scottie begins. “They weren’t happy about the things that they were seeing, and so they did it for themselves, not for others. I don’t want to have to live with cellulite because the hoteps said I need to keep it cause it’s natural. No.”
Ending generational curses and traumas
Simone talks about how she wants to be the generation that ends the weight shame that family can sometimes bring. She also weighs in on how times, like the holiday season, bring negative body discussions to light.
“What our black parents, uncles, aunts don’t realize is that it’s detrimental to us,” she says. “It’s detrimental to our confidence, it’s detrimental to how we feel about ourselves in general and then we go out into the world and project that too.”
Gia ultimately answers her own question that she originally pitched to the group. She explains that she is still coming to an understanding that her body is her own.
“It’s not anybody else’s tool,” she says. “It’s not something I should be scared of. It’s not something that I should allow other people to define for me, whether I’m 10 pounds over my BMI or 10 pounds below. It’s mine, and I love it and I can own that.”
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