Many stories contain the Strong Black Woman trope. Whether she’s the main character or not. She is a strong, independent, and sassy Black woman who “don’t need no man”. Sometimes she is a strong character from the beginning. But sometimes, she starts off as a weaker-willed woman who becomes strong through some turn of events. Generally, after dealing with a man (who is horrible) she becomes, the strong, independent Black woman she was meant to be. Her reward for becoming stronger is often a good man. Even Black little girls in stories must be warriors, fight, and start revolutions. If she isn’t the main character, she’s the “Sassy Best Friend/the black best friend” trope. Using her strength to support the lead character. Even in stories written and directed by US, being a strong Black woman isn’t just what we are. But what we are expected to be, what we must be.
I want stories where black women are allowed to be soft. I would love stories that don’t expect Black women to fight and don’t ask them to.
Black women who expect to be protected, and are protected. Black female characters who don’t teach the main character a life lesson. Maybe we could be the ones who learn a lesson, sometimes, instead of always having to be the teacher. Or us being hurt or dying to help someone else grow.
How about stories in which we are fought over. In which a Black woman isn’t fighting for a man, but is solely being fought for by men.
For example: How about a story in which the main female character is a Black princess whose kidnapped. The whole story is just about rescuing this lovable soft princess who would never hurt a flea. Her whole kingdom weeps for her, and our hero must get our sweet princess back.
Or a delicate girl who only wears dresses and loves pink and french manicures. She oozes femininity and is kidnapped by the mob because they think she is someone else, and our main lead, our nerdy Black main character, must rescue her.
We need more dainty Black heroes and villains. What about a villain whose utterly feminine and uses her magic to get men to fight in her stead, and then our hero falls in love with her.
The fact that many people would just laugh at the descriptions I’ve just made. In their eyes, they can’t see an overly feminine Black female character as being realistic. Why, well, in the States we’ve never really been allowed to be soft. Black women have been forced to be hard and work since the moment we arrived on this continent, for survival.
It’s hard to be soft in a world trying its best to push you down. It’s hard to be cute and delicate in a society that doesn’t see you that way. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be.
As I look around, I’m noticing more and more Black women embracing softer styles. More Black women embracing things such as princess and cottage core, as well as other feminine styles. As an author, I am purposely writing these characters into my stories because we need these tropes.
Just like we need to see strong Black women, we need to see soft, Black female characters whose arc doesn’t make them hard but allows them to be delicate the whole story.
We can be and are soft. Even when the world seeks to firm us up. I need Black women and little girls to know that you can go through things, and still be soft and gentle soul after.