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But I want to do this in a manner that is true to scholarly brevity, while paying particular attention to the nuance of representation of African female bodies (emphasis on want, I’ll inevitably fail at both, this I’m sure of).
So please don’t respond with ‘It’s not only Somali women, women from Burundi also have soft hair and long noses’. I want to discuss the issue of East African women and the way their bodies are fetishised by internal and external communities (the internal part needs a dissertation and critical theory).Are we allowed to occupy spaces because our features legitimize anti-black narratives? Are you consistently complimented on your ‘features’ and how often do you hear remarks like ‘East African women are so gorgeous’ (they are indeed; but all African women are stuff of dreams, but that reality can exist while challenging the roots of the paradigms that legitimize that narrative) 2) Non-East African black women, do you consider us one of your own? Apparently my facial features and the texture of my hair were enough to dismiss my Somali peers and I as ‘mixed-chicks’ or ‘probably Indian or some shit’ 3) We’re not mixed.Rewriting the histories of people/cultures is not an effective tool to dissect the political/cultural implications of valuing Horn of African beauty above other African women. w=350" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-2478" title="Adam and Eve painting from Abreha wa Atsbeha" src="https://billygambelaafroasiaticanthropology.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/adam-and-eve-painting-from-abreha-wa-atsbeha.jpg?The Atbara then flows northwest through Sudan until it meets the Nile at the town of Atbarah, Sudan.I will not be binded by code of ethnic solidarity that makes use of oppressive language used to demonize our African brothers and sisters, while simultaneously effective in distancing ourselves from any perceived kinship with other Africans/blackness. Also, while challenging european ideals as a member of the diaspora, I’m often reminded that white supremacist paradigms grow strongly in the petri dish that is the minds of my own community.
Now, I know this cultural ‘place’ I’m trying to unpackage is rife with problematic language and narratives.We can challenge anti-black rhetoric without reducing our continent to one phenotype; setting it as the standard, and dismissing everything else as something perverse and diluted. But we’re also suspicious of your need to single us out(the few that do). 7) East-African women, sit down and shut up once in awhile.6) Non-East-African men who tell us we’re beautiful, please stop. The texture of our hair is as ancient as cave paintings in Las Gaal( shoutouts to Somaliland), but I’m also aware of the cultural climate that allows you to value mine above a sister who has tightly coiled curls. Be present to how your looks can replicate oppressive ideals of what blackness looks like. Infact, pick a book, and be more than this high-fashion model caricature. 8) Somalis, if I hear the sentence ‘Oh I didn’t know he/she was Somali, they don’t look it’, I’ll sentence you to the invasive enhanced pat down and a lifetime without Diana skin lightning cream.And if you’re so inclined, do me a favour, grab a Kuwaiti women and a brother from Benin, and if they can produce a child that looks Somali, I’ll concede.Till then, keep your Arabs out of my family lineage please.This city of Atbarah is located on the Southeast corner of the big bend of the Nile (i.e. Remember Indigenous peoples “ used the phrase CATARACT that was a European invention to divide the Family of Africa.