Je Ne Sais Quoi

United States

She/ her
~Always Daydreaming~

This Is How to Be a Black Girl

August 24, 2020


Wash your hair with shampoo and rinse it out; lather your curls with conditioner and start detangling; don’t forget to let it air dry in twists; this is how you braid your hair; keep your hair in braids or everyone will think you’re lazy; don’t let anyone touch your hair; why do you always play with boys?; wear a skirt like a lady; stop acting like a child; this is how to grow up; you should straighten your hair - people will like it better that way; this is how to use a flat iron; you should wear a bra; nobody wants to see your nipples; this is how you hide your bra straps; you should show more skin and be proud of your body; confidence will attract boys; don’t show that much skin or people will think you’re a slut; cover up your shoulders too; you don’t want eyes to wander there; you’d look prettier with makeup; this is how you put on eyelashes; you should grow your hair out; you’d look pretty with long hair; not your body hair - people think that’s gross; this is how to shave for bikini season; this is how you drive without crashing; this is how you talk to a police officer; this is how to talk to your crush; this is how to hide a hickey from mom and dad; this is how to stay in a relationship; this is how to get out of one; why do you always wear makeup?; you’d look prettier if you went natural; why don’t you do something with your hair?; don’t wear a weave; be proud of your hair type; you should wear your hair natural since curls are popular again; this is how you treat heat damaged hair; you should cut your hair - it’s too long; don’t overeat - it’s not ladylike; it’s important to stay in shape; this is how you lose weight; stop crying; you’re sensitive, not depressed; smile more; people don’t like downers; this is how you smile when you’re sad; this is how to be a black girl.


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  • August 24, 2020 - 6:49pm (Now Viewing)

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  • Wisp

    This is the type of piece that makes you sit back and look at your surroundings in a sort of foggy-glassed type of way and say, "Ah" for all the things you're too privileged to understand. It really struck me in the heart in a subtle, yet so powerful way. Thank you for this.

    about 2 months ago
  • inanutshell

    this is so powerful. love the use of listing w/ semicolons & the action verbs, adds an impact to these sentences and how they're so normalised. love this.

    about 2 months ago
  • jaii

    taking a wild guess; does this happen to be inspired by “girl” by jamaica kincaid? if so, it does her justice. this is raw and so so powerful. i am no longer a girl but as someone raised as a black girl and still being raised as a black girl, this speaks to me very much

    about 2 months ago
  • elliem

    Wow. This piece is so impactful. Thank you for putting this out there. The contrast between some parts was subtle enough to add a heartbreaking element. You write this effectively and beautifully, and the repetition of the last phrase in the title works really well. This is so impactful. Thank you.

    about 2 months ago
  • Ivy.nm

    This is powerful and true,
    Yet so disappointing that us black girls still have to go through this everywhere we go.

    about 2 months ago
  • madeline3.14159

    Such a powerful and beautiful piece!

    about 2 months ago
  • Calisa

    I love this piece. It reminds me of things I would hear every day before I shut myself up in my room. People like to tell us how we're supposed to act and when we do what they say they still don't like it

    about 2 months ago
  • sunny.v

    i agree, this was so poignant and so, so powerful. lovely work.

    about 2 months ago
  • Doodleninja

    the formatting adds a certain punch to this poignant piece. Superb writing! I loved this :D

    about 2 months ago
  • outoftheblue

    this is powerful, and it is important. i'm so glad i got to read this.

    about 2 months ago