Jul 7, 2013


The web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, is a popular series that undoubtedly introduced us to its creator, Issa Rae, and catapulted her career.  I have watched several of the webisodes and found the series to be rather entertaining.  It held my attention but I can't say that I totally relate. However after Issa Rae's appearance on the Melissa Harris Perry Show this past weekend, I began to wonder am I an awkward black girl?






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Awkward is not a word that I would have used to describe myself before.  I am definitely an introvert and therefore more quiet but not socially awkward.  I consider myself to be fairly intelligent.  I would tell people that I would rather be called ugly than not smart.  I don't particularly want to be called ugly either.  I think I am fairly attractive.  But if you were to ask me to pick activities that appeal more to my intellect versus activities that appeal more to my appearance, I would rather appeal to my intellect.  Although I don't have an official Bucket List, I would like to be a contestant on Jeopardy one day.

I downplay my looks.  Not just to be taken seriously (though I am highly insulted when I am not taken seriously), but because being sexy and glamorous, as they discussed on the show, is not all that important to me.  I've included my favorite picture of me.  I was just relaxed and feeling good in what is quintessential Jo, chillin' in baseball cap and sweats.  Day in and day out for work, I prefer a more smart/academic look.  I'm very thankful that I work on a college campus and my preferred look is fitting.  Overall, I want to look appropriate for the occasion.  In accordance with that, I can have some semblance of fun getting myself together for whatever is going on but if I had my way, I would rather not go through all of the trouble.   I truly am a low-maintenance chick.  I would rather unwrap my hair and go instead of spending an extra 15 minutes with hot rollers in my hair in order to conform with an image.  I would rather put on my glasses than hassle everyday with contacts that dry out my eyes.  Makeup wise, I make sure my brows are right, brush on some powder, rub some Chapstick (occasionally lip gloss) on my lips and call it a day.

People, particularly women, would say, "but Johanna you're so pretty..."  They say it like it's shameful or that I actually don't think I am.  I never questioned that but I do not esteem it above some of my other traits/strengths.  I find it exhausting to live up to the images society has set up for us.  We have to be "beautiful" before anything else about us receives any consideration, if at all. The images that we have to digest...it just ain't right.  Thank God for Issa Rae. 

Before I get on my soapbox, I will close this out by saying if relating more to my introversion and intellect than glamor makes me awkward, then I guess I am an awkward black girl.  Are you?

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