I was at dinner some time ago with a group of gorgeous Black women I had just met at an event. After we all got acquainted with each other, we summoned the waiter and began to order libations. As soon as our drinks were delivered and the first few sips settled in our system, the conversation went from small talk to popular social media influencers. While most of the women kept the conversation cute and positive, a couple of the women criticized almost every female that was discussed. As the conversation went on, I realized that this behavior is so embedded in our society that sadly some Black women view criticizing and judging each other as a normal thing. A recent body shamming incident on Instagram brought this ongoing issue to the forefront for me again, and I was reminded that this type of behavior among Black women points to a deeper problem that must be addressed.
In recent social media headlines, rapper Yung Baby Tate posted a picture of herself rocking a two-piece leopard ensemble. In the caption Young Baby Tate wrote, “Shoutout to all my natural bellied bodies. I see you, I am you, I love you. No matter WHAT my body looks like, it is MINE and I love it!”
One popular social media influencer, Ayesha Howard – the mother of rapper Lil Baby‘s eldest son, responded to Yung Baby Tate’s picture by saying that Young Baby Tate has a “natural body with no discipline, structure, and poor eating habits in their lifestyle.” Ayesha later defended her comment by saying that she was only saying to eat healthy, work out, and practice a healthy lifestyle, then she ended her response by saying, “I’m sorry y’all let’s go to McDonald’s.”
While I can’t speak on Ayesha’s motive behind her comment regarding Tate’s body, I can say that her unsolicited, harsh opinion (disguised as helpful advice) was familiar to me. Years ago I, too, was once that young woman who had critical, unsolicited opinions about other females. I then gained some self-awareness and eventually realized that, deep down, judging other women made me briefly forget about the issues I struggled with. During my self-discovery journey I divinely came across a quote from the late public speaker and spiritual author Wayne Dyer that said, “When You Judge Another Person, You Don’t Define Them. You Define Yourself as Someone Who Needs to Judge.” This quote put a mirror in my face and forced me to deal with the insecurities I was projecting on others.
Black women have been pitted against each other for centuries. A lot of us have been taught by society to view each other as threats rather than reflections of ourselves. We learn this from a young age when we are thrusted into environments that put emphasis on our outer appearances more than our inner appearances. I’m not sure what the exact remedy to this sickness is, but if every Black woman who is tempted to throw shade can ask herself, “what is my purpose for saying this and how will it help me or the other person,” I believe there would be some pain spared.
Insecurities are a tough thing to deal with, and projecting our self-doubts only magnifies our own lack of confidence instead of addressing it. Black women, lets find a more productive way to deal with our insecurities. Because putting them off on others isn’t giving us the healing we so desperately need.