women who live in North America can relate, because we have been there at some point. Walking down hallways and hearing comments about the size of our lips, hips, noses, and breasts. Going into spaces and being asked “Can I touch your hair?” or feeling someone else’s hands in it, with no warning.
Having to conform to European standards of beauty and straighten our hair to “fit in” or otherwise be defined as “unprofessional.” As a black woman, I have had to hold my breath and pause internally as I wonder how to respond to comments about my hair
. I have had to grit my teeth and force a smile so I don’t make the offender feel uncomfortable. I have had to clap back because I had enough, and nobody else was saying anything. And I have had to speak out to amplify the collective voices of those who felt like they couldn’t. Most, if not all black women, know each of these responses intimately. I can feel you nodding in agreement. You did not need Gabrielle Union’s recent experiences to validate yours.