Why can’t black girls be cute?

First Taylor Swift.

Then Selena Gomez.

Now Anne Hathaway

Notice a trend here? Cute, nubile, white* female celebrities mimic tough, ‘ghetto’ rappers. And it’s soooo cute. It’s adorbs, because they’re like so the opposite of that culture, you know?

Aaargh. It’s so annoying and not just because Anne Hathaway and Taylor Swift suck at it. (Selena’s actually pretty impressive, but still.) Their ‘rapping’ reminds me of posts like this and– to a certain extent– this.

I know plenty of cute black girls in real life. They exist. They really do. They give off that affable, friendly, adorable vibe that I’ve always secretly wanted and have to admit I don’t have.

But in our media, only white girls can get away with the bashful smiles and the quirky antics. Asian women can play the cute card, but there’s a usually a creepy, race-tinged sexual fetish attached to theirs.

And it’s not even like I like cute.  I actually really don’t. I’m automatically suspicious of girls that smile too much, bat their eyelashes excessively and talk like babies. One of the easiest ways to irritate the hell out of me is to start talking like a baby. YOU’RE A GROWN WOMAN, I always want to scream.  But perhaps the reason why I’m so adverse to acting ‘cute’ is because I know most black women aren’t allowed to. No one buys it. In the pop culture landscape we live in, black women are lascivious, asexual, loud, potty-mouthed, angry, sassy, proud, bitter, strong, but never cute. It’s a damn shame.

Clearly we need more Janelle Monae.

*UPDATE: With the exception of one Selena Gomez, who is of Hispanic descent. In the same way Cameron Diaz is of Hispanic descent. But it does count.


9 Comments on “Why can’t black girls be cute?”

  1. Oscar Rivera says:

    So, you know I love you Tomi, but I don’t think I really agree with you. I mean, yes, it’s undeniable that the majority of black female celebrities would not be the archetypal ‘cute girl’, but can we really blame ‘pop culture’ for this?

    First, there are girls that could be considered cute: the Mowry twins, a few of the girls from the Cosby show (I forget their names), Garcelle Beauvais (to an extent), and Monae. There are black female celebrities that can be considered cute.

    More importantly, however, is the character that is inherent in many of the young black women today. You yourself admit that you do not like ‘cute’ and I think that this is the typical sentiment of most black women that I meet. While I really don’t care that you don’t like ‘cute’, you can’t really fault ‘pop culture’ for there not being more ‘cuteness’ amongst the black female celebrities when that is not the persona that they want to emulate. Typically, and I hope you’ll agree with me, most black women (especially those with any celebrity status) try to emulate confidence, strength, fortitude, etc., and these characteristics do not really coincide with ‘cute’. You can’t have it both ways.

    Now, to the real issue: Taylor Swift and Anne Hathaway just come off looking dumb….

    • tometome says:

      But the examples you choose prove my point. By the girls from The Cosby Show you mean Keisha Knight Pulliam and Raven, right? And you’re correct. They were cute. Adorable in fact. They were also children.

      Garcelle Beauvais? First of all that’s a random example considering how little she’s done since the Jamie Foxx show. And again, not cute. Pretty, yes, she got herself on the cover of Vibe. But she’s not cute. Not in a Zooey Deschanel or Taylor Swift kind of way. Same goes with the Mowry sisters. And how telling is it that the actresses you use are all at least ten years past their prime and pop cultural significance> (with the exception of Monae, who I think is cute, but I’d wager that her wardrobe alone makes her too idiosyncratic for some people).

      As to your second point, I don’t think that’s true either. There is no inherent character to young black women. We’re a diverse bunch. And like I said, I know black girls that fit the Zooey Deschanel mode of cuteness to a tee. You just never see them represented in the mainstream or –for that matter– ‘blackstream’ media and that can be frustrating.

      But overall, yes, what should be highlighted above all else is the jankness of both Taylor Swift and Anne Hathaway’s raps.

  2. Hello, I just read this and I was expected to be repulsed when I read the title, but I agree with you. I am a black girl (3/4 black)and I was always described as being “cute” which bugged me too much. But it wasn’t that I did “baby voices” or “batted my eyelashes” and I am a fan of Taylor, Ann, and Selena and I think that the media has portrayed the caucian female gender as being everyone’s idea of cute and it kinda annoyes me. I’m not trying to come off as racist because I’m not, I actually only date outside my race. Well, I like your post. Feel free to check out my blog.

  3. alex says:

    Please don’t erase Selena Gomez’s identity as a Chicana/Latina– a WOMAN OF COLOR– for the purposes of making your point here. That’s so disingenuous… not to mention disrespectful to all of the the little girls of color who look up to her as a role model.

    • tometome says:

      You’re right, she is a quarter Mexican, which I totally forgot. My mistake, it wasn’t intentional. But it is worth mentioning that I’m not talking about all women of color here, I’m talking about black women specifically.

  4. Tommy says:

    I disagree strongly. Black girls actually are cute. But little bit different way than whites and asians. They are cute in “gorgeous” way, not in barbie-way. One fine example was Orin Goode (Tyra Ferrell) in “Jungle Fever”. You propably remember the scenes sweet Orin in Paulie Carbone’s cafe? Boy she was beautiful and charming with sweet smile.

    • Hello again. Well, I think i should say thanks when you say black girls are cute. Yeah, I’ve never really seen as being a “barbie” no, that would be weird. I was always the shorter “Cute” girl with the uncommonly natural long hair. Ummmm I actually didn’t see Jungle Fever, but I heard a lot about it. Well, if you’re interested, check out my blog post “Mixed Race and Interracial Relationships Part 3”, i’ll be post either 10/12 or 10/14.

  5. absol says:

    What? Most of the black women I know are cute! And the black woman I love is very ‘cute’!
    This is coming from a white guy.

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