The Plight of Being Labeled a "Strong Black Woman"

The Plight of Being Labeled a “Sturdy Black Girl”


For a few years being labeled “robust” was seen as a badge of honor by each women and men. Nevertheless, because the phrases “self-care,” and “soft-life,” “work smarter not tougher,” turn out to be more and more extra in style, each men and women are starting to get up to the hazards of being labeled in such a manner that subconsciously empowers folks to aim to function in super-heroic methods. Whereas the “you’re so robust” praise not solely negatively impacts ladies, a big physique of my work emphasizes working with and enhancing the lives of Black ladies, due to this fact they would be the focus of this dialogue.

A Tedx speak by Angela Bowden highlighted this labeling as a problem for ladies generally, however a considerable difficulty for Black ladies.

In a 2016 Twitter feed dialogue, the query was posed to Black males: “What do you like most about Black ladies?” Because the responses poured in, a powerful theme of “as a result of she is so robust” rapidly emerged, revealing that many Black males battle to establish the worth of the Black lady past her energy. It was clear by the counter-responses from Black ladies who joined the dialogue that they had been sick of the label.

Whereas energy is an admirable trait, it turns into problematic when that’s all that’s anticipated of you. It dehumanizes you and turns into a supply of pressured oppression, silence, and burden. Why is energy essentially the most admired trait of Black ladies? How did we get right here? Let’s hypothesize from a therapist’s and social researcher’s perspective:

  1. Socialization: educating and studying of beliefs, values, and behaviors that assist us navigate our social worlds.
  2. Household Socialization: social educating and studying that happens with the household. This will likely happen by way of modeling or direct instruction.
  3. Household expectations of feminine youngsters (See excerpt from my dissertation beneath):

    “Black women are usually socialized towards educational achievement and motherhood (Reid, 1982). For households of decrease socioeconomic standing, the socialization aim of getting ready Black women for motherhood is rigorous and generally seen as a ceremony of passage into womanhood. It isn’t uncommon that the socialization of Black women contains being a main caregiver to youthful siblings (Reid, 1982). This phenomenon is most salient with first-born daughters (Reid, 1982). Expectations for Black women to prematurely assume the duty of others, in mother-like roles, and expectations of educational achievement, suggests a distinctly totally different socialization expertise for Black women in comparison with Black boys.” (Baity, 2020)

Why Is Elevating Consciousness of the Hurt of Being “The Sturdy Black Girl” Vital?

Dehumanizing labeling influences a silent psychological well being disaster. It discourages Black ladies to be trustworthy when they’re struggling (with companions/relations/colleagues, and many others.), elevating charges of despair and suicide.

Moreover, analysis reveals poor psychological well being is linked to poor bodily well being. The primary reason for demise for Black folks within the U.S. is hypertension/heart problems, usually pushed by poor consuming habits and excessive ranges of misery.

The aim of this text is to offer perception and empowerment to have fun, love, and look after ourselves as folks, particularly traditionally marginalized folks like Black ladies. In case you are not sure when you’ve got been working in ways in which dishonor your humanity, I created a “Do You Have Sturdy Black Girl Syndrome” guidelines:

  • Are you at all times in protection/battle/go-getter/get it accomplished mode? Why? What motivates you to be this manner?
  • Do you enable your self to take a break?
  • Do you enable your self to cry? How do you understand your self while you do cry?
  • Do you ask for assist? How do you understand your self while you do ask for assist? What is that this expertise like?

My Encouragement

  • Supply your self extra self-compassion and self-love
  • Re-write the narrative (verbally and in observe) towards self and for others: “I’m helpful past my energy.” “Asking for assist doesn’t make me weak, it’s proof that I’m brave.”
  • Perceive that altering the language empowers the admirable talents of Black ladies and creates house for having typical human experiences, resembling being drained, feeling unhappy, needing assist, taking a break, and many others.


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