By Palesa Lebitse
I’m sitting here wondering what the definition of a beautiful woman is, particularly in Johannesburg. Is she picture perfect with flawless features? Is she alluring and irresistible? Perhaps it’s her sensual body or the way she walks. Certainly not the way she talks, right?
In the black community she’s probably called a “yellow bone”. She will never be seen without an Indian weave and rich men chase after her. Khaya Dlanga says for some women, being beautiful in the city of lights is a curse — I agree.
He warns beautiful women about wealthy men who commoditise relationships and only treat beautiful women as trophies. “They are faced with the idea that they can’t do anything for themselves, that they can’t make money on their own,” Dlanga says referring to beautiful women. He gently wraps it up by saying “we” should encourage young women to work hard and not just be seen as trophies and fragile things that can’t look after themselves. While Dlanga’s concerns might be legitimate, it is important to be smart and take care of oneself. Any form of oppression from any quarter is unacceptable. But so are the stereotypes that are wrapped in faux concern, directed towards black women. This topic raised by Dlanga is no better than the “weave or no weave” debate sparked by Debora Patta on 3rd Degree.
Today a beautiful woman involved in a relationship with a wealthy or powerful man is guaranteed some or other title, in this case the trophy girlfriend. Often in such cases the “beautiful” woman will also wear the gold-digger title and of course the man stays the man.
Being involved with a rich man does not mean a woman stops “working hard” and it’s unfair to assert that they end up having ideas that they should not work or are unable to make their own money. Khanyi Dhlomo is proof of this.
Dlanga describes Dhlomo as a woman he looks up to. Did he forget that she married a billionaire and that her second husband is also very wealthy? Or is this a case of others being fairer than others? Others get trapped while others thrive? Unless of course Dhlomo falls into another category of beautiful women.
Why can’t all women be afforded the same dignity and respect, especially by those looking in from the outside? When will it be okay for a black woman to freely choose her hairstyle or her lifestyle without fearing any prejudice or need to explain herself?
For argument’s sake, how often do we hear debates in the white community about issues that generally boil down to personal preference or choice? For instance a white woman will happily pay for breast augmentation surgery and happily tell the world. She is free to do so because nobody will question why or comment that she ought to be happy with the breasts God gave her.
Yes being a beautiful black woman is tough, it’s exceptionally tough. We have to face mounting disparities. Beautiful women, like gay men and lesbian women, continue to fight for respect and the independence to choose for themselves and space to determine their own limitations.
Live and let live.
Palesa Lebitse is a freelance journalist and business wheeler and dealer @_Morolong
Image – Gallo