If you are unfamiliar with whom Sara Baartman is, please research her.
Sara Baartman (1790 – 1815) was a slave in South Africa. She was taken to England after being promised that she would become wealthy. Baartman had a body that a lot of women of African descent have; large breasts, wide hips, and a large behind. Europeans were in awe of her body. They had never seen anything so unique and voluptuous.
Sara was exploited all throughout Britain. She soon was given the name “Hottentot Venus” and sold to a Frenchman who exhibited her as well.
Sara died in 1815 from an undetermined disease.
Fast forward to 2010 and it seems like some women have chosen to exploit themselves.
For those of you who have seen me in person, you know that I have wide hips and a curvy behind. I attended a predominantly White university. At times I was very insecure about my body. I felt like my curvy shape and body parts were intimidating and foreign to my Caucasian peers. After a lot of soul searching and compliments from brothas in the hood, I came to absolutely LOVE my body. Of course I could stand to lose that ten pounds I gained, but I appreciate my curves, but if KING magazine were to ask me to pose I would have to decline.
As African American women we must ask ourselves are images like the ones above truly celebrating our shapes? Just like Sara, our bodies are unique, beautiful, and unexplainable. It amazes me when I see some of my skinny sistas with major behind. Our figures are publicly hated, but secretly coveted. I'm proud to be a African American woman with a shape, but where is the balance?
I want us to celebrate our bodies, but at what point does the celebrating become exploiting?