These are two things not easily or freely given to Black women and girls. Little Black girls especially don’t get to be little girls. They are immediately labeled “women”. When those little Black girls do grow into women, society doesn’t want to give them their womanhood.
For a lot of people, Black and woman don’t go together. For them Black refers to Black men and woman refers to white women. There’s also a nasty history that goes along with the “Black women aren’t real women” thing that I do not have the time or energy to get into today. If you’re interested, you can find it easily. Many people have researched it. Go look it up.
The “real woman” thing is bullshit, but it’s racist bullshit when you throw it at Black women.
On a different but related note, we can also look at the differences in how Black women and white women express their womanhood. White feminists are so ready to throw away anything they view as “girly” (e.g., heels, makeup, dresses) as inherently patriarchal and therefore not feminist. What they don’t consider is how different womanhood is for women of color, especially Black women.
Like I said before, we are granted the women or girl status right off the bat. We have to fight for that. We don’t get the delicate treatment as default. It’s a rare treat for someone to look at a Black woman as someone who needs protection. We have to claim our femininity. For us, being super femme, being girly, is revolutionary.
Having the long nails, makeup, dresses, and heels is a slap in the face to all the people who see Black women as hard, angry, or manly first. Bein able to do the traditional feminine things like getting married or being a stay-at-home mom is a rare treat for us.
If you look at history, you’d see there was a long period of time where Black people’s marriages meant nothing. That time may seem long ago to you, but it is still with us, so marriage and family is a big deal. (Not to say all Black women love marriage or want to get married. A lot of us don’t want that and that’s fine too.) Before you thow away anything girly as “not feminist”, consider how womanhood is different for Black women and women of color.
This is also why I really need white women to just stop critiquing, criticizing, parodying, or “paying tribute to” (I’m lookin dead at you Amy Schumer) Black womanhood. Our womanhood comes with a culture that you cannot begin to understand. In order to criticize us, you must understand the culture. Things work differently with us and different does not always mean patriarchal or sexist. It just means different.