Fulfilling expectations

Monday, November 4, 2019 - 6:30pm

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Courtesy of Glodi Miessi via Unsplash

In the era of Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B, it can be easy to assume that Black women want to learn how to dance like them. I’ll admit, it can be fun learning the newest dance to a hit song in the comfort and privacy of your home with your friends. However, the situation that I am about to describe serves a reminder of how stereotyping that all Black women can dance a certain way can be debilitating.

Recently I attended a party with one of my friends who is also an African American young woman. Although it didn’t bother me, we were the only visibly Black women in the room. When we arrived at the party we befriended two girls who are not Black which was fun at first, but then the party got boring. As soon as the party began to die down, the two girls who were supposed to be our new friends kept pressuring us to “shake our a**.” At first I thought it was funny, but when they continued to do it, I felt peer pressure to actually dance in a way that I don’t feel very comfortable with. After that I felt very compelled to leave the party.

It is known by my friends that I am not comfortable dancing like that, and luckily my friend that I was with took over and stole the attention away from me. I was able to stay at the party until it got shut down, but the situation that occurred never escaped my mind. What if I was there by myself and someone pressured me to dance like that? I think that I probably would have done it. There aren’t any words to describe what goes through your mind when you are being pressured in that way. It’s like you lose the ability to say “no” or “I don’t want to.” It was an experience that I hope to never have again. I think that if Black women weren’t held to stereotypes such as being able to twerk, we would be able to feel more comfortable admitting that we listen to certain types of music or actually enjoy certain things that are considered outside of the “norm.”