Strong Black Woman: Fact or Fiction?

September 6, 2010 by  
Filed under personal development, relationships

It’s been a while since the Circle got together and pondered a question. Since I had the opportunity to poll 5 other dynamic black women, I figured I’d tackle this loaded question: what does the phrase ‘strong black woman’ mean to you?

Everyone has their own opinion and I’m glad we don’t all agree on this topic.

I think its crucial to our goals to really think about the value and resources we add to other people’s lives, and if that same value is being given back to us. If others aren’t willing to give us their best effort, why are we doing so? Why are we putting our goals, our finances, energy and even our health on the back burner in order to further someone else’s objectives?

How does being a ‘strong black woman’ tie in to all this??

Anilia, Motivated Sista

Anilia is an entrepreneur and blogger, who writes about motivation, personal development and self-esteem.

I think we’ve used the term ‘strong black woman’ as a badge of honor for too long. To me, its way past time that we retire this badge. We’ve hidden our pain, disappointments and vulnerabilities behind that badge… and somehow that badge has hidden our femininity, our needs, our hopes and dreams too. People don’t see us as soft, feminine women when we walk around labeling ourselves as ‘strong black women’. They see a group who doesn’t need help – we’re proclaiming that ‘we got this’ all by ourselves. Well, it seems that now we truly do.

We’re not meant to hold up our community, like Atlas, with an enormous weight on our backs. We’re meant to have someone else, strong men, helping us carry that load.

The other reason I hate the term now, is that I’ve never met a weak woman, regardless of race. So why further differentiate ourselves from everyone else?
Tamyka, The CEOMamma

Tamyka is a wife, mother and entrepreneur. She’s the Founder/Owner of TheCEOMamma and teach women entrepreneurs how to build a business on a budget.

Being a woman and being a black woman, for me equates to strength in general. I believe that being a minority while still being able to overcome adversity and still remain true to yourself is a representation of a strong black woman.

Being independent, taking care of family, holding down career, being in touch with spirit while going through trials and still able to come out on top, all signify a strong black woman!

Danielle, The Style and Beauty Doctor

Danielle is a stylist and makeup artist with a financial industry background. She is also president of Urban Glamour LLC, an image consulting company that offers personal styling, wedding, and makeup services. She also edits a fashion and beauty blog, The Style and Beauty Doctor.

It actually makes me cringe when I hear the phrase “strong black woman”. Yes, we’re great and we do a lot on our own to better ourselves and our families, but can we really do it all alone? We need support systems, we need to delegate, we need a break, we need to give up some of the control! Doing it all will eventually make anyone go crazy. We’re already giving out our last dollar and putting ourselves in financial jeopardy and it’s leaking into our spiritual and mental well-being.

Kim, Fit Sisters Boot Camp

Kim is a teacher by day and has her own fitness business where she helps women to get into the best shape of their lives.

I believe this is a woman who is a survivor under any circumstances, small or large. She is a problem solver and doesn’t let life’s little or large problems throw her for a loop. She is able to step back, evaluate the situation and make her next move with the best information she has at the moment. In her life there are no mistakes only learning experiences therefore, her glass is always half full. She doesn’t waste her time or energy on worrying because she knows there is a solution to ever problem.

CW, Black Women Deserve Better

CW’s blog “Black Women Deserve Better” was an exercise in truth, self-discovery and healing. It is her mission to help Black women get the love, respect and commitment they deserve.

The Myth of “Everything & Be ALL”

The imagery of Black women is devoted to the “Black Community Machine” with every ounce of strength in her body. It requires considerable energy to uplift and protect everyone else, even when others could care less about her or the children (Even by the fathers they were sired and later abandoned them).

What would happen if Black women, en masse CEASE giving support to those who give US no more that lip-service? The problem lies with folk who are constant time-stealers and inconsiderate of another’s schedule. For instance:

  • Ray Ray needs a ride to court…Joann can do it, she’s got an SUV…Gas money??? Why she gotta hassle the Brotha?
  • Aunt Rita needs a few extra dollars…Joann can lend it, not like she’s broke (And we seen her buy some new clothes and go grocery shopping last week)
  • Aunt Rose is getting put out again and needs a place to stay…Joann’s got a two acre property…She’s got room
  • Sister Diane from church is calling for a covered dish to bring….AGAIN at the LAST MINUTE…It’s all good! Joann can do these things at a moment’s notice

For all we tend to get suckered into doing for people, our reward is frequently abysmal at best. I have been guilty of this myself. The self-expectation to ‘do it all’ is a recipe for failure. Don’t sit around wondering why White women can get away with it. It’s because they have never accepted this lot to begin with. We must cast off this foolishness and hold others to a higher standard.

The constant “helping out” without reciprocity (That “helping out” sans evidence of any fruit is called indentured servitude).
Patrenia, Personal Finance Notebook

Patrenia is an Accredited Financial Counselor and entrepreneur who writes about ideas, education and motivation for financial success at Personal Finance Notebook.

In becoming an adult, I finally realized how much truth is within those three words. Two great qualities I feel a “Strong Black Woman” must embody are courage and devotion. The courage is needed to withstand not only normal daily life, but those times when we’re thrown those unexpected curve balls. Devotion comes from the requirement to be responsible. Not only for ourselves, but for our families. I know, it’s a heavy load to carry, but stand tall and hold your title proudly. Your reward may not be seen immediately, but at some point you can expect to see the fruits of your labor.

Now it’s your turn, what does the term ‘strong black woman’ mean to you? Do you agree or disagree with our Sista Circle discussion?

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One Response to “Strong Black Woman: Fact or Fiction?”
  1. SheRon says:

    The term strong black woman for me embodies the persona of greatness. She is Mz. Proverbs 31 in that she knows what her family and community needs. She gives without hurting, she is aware of her limits and when it is necessary to ask for help to complete a task. She has the courage to say no, so that tasks aren’t left unattended or neglected. She realizes there is a strong Hispanic woman, strong Asian woman, a strong Caucasian woman, and a strong woman in every race, but she also acknowledges that the character of the race is based on the strength of it’s woman (Malcolm X). Therefore she isn’t threatened by others, but offers her skills as a compliment to empower her family and community to achieve great things.

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