On an average day in an average month, the presence of misogynoir, even if frequent, is little more than irritating. The typical manifestations—mainly incidents in which a man of virtually any racial background gives disparaging remarks about Black women à la Bill O’Reilly—often make for an interesting, yet brief, groupchat-worthy discussion chock full of eyerolls. But in the last three weeks, the violent displays of misogynoir have become overwhelming and fear-inducing.
I remember the first time I had my intelligence questioned by a peer like it was yesterday; I had just won the regional spelling bee when a classmate, a non-Black person of color, started a rumor that my accomplishments were simply a result of me smoking marijuana.
I was 14, and had never smoked a day in my life.
Black women in the limelight are not only scrutinzed by onlookers and consumers. They are often devalued, hypersexualized, and fetishized in ways that render them mere objects.
Last week, a research team from Johns Hopkins Medicine published a review of 19 studies titled “All Hairstyles Are Not Created Equal”, in which they analyzed the relationship between “scalp-pulling” hairstyles and hair loss among Black women. The takeaway, according to Dr. Crystal Aguh, is to offer both Black women patients and dermatologists tips for how to better prevent traction alopecia by avoiding high and moderate risk styles, like weaves, locs, tight ponytails, chemical treatments and braids.