Busta’s Person of the Week: Local author draws attention to the effects of stereotyping beautiful women

Busta’s Person of the Week: Local author draws attention to the effects of stereotyping beautiful women
January 19
07:07 2024

By Busta Brown

As a child, Tasha Crews experienced cruelty and ridicule because of her dark skin and natural hair. As an adult, the North Carolina native learned firsthand how beautiful women are often stereotyped, misunderstood, mistreated, and distrusted. In her book, “Pretty Ain’t so Pritty,” the mother of two takes us on that journey. Let’s go!

What inspired you to write this book?

I had wondered if women had the same experiences that I had and wanted to offer a different perspective to help shape the world’s view on superficiality.

Take us through some trials you’ve overcome as a child and adult as they relate to your looks and confidence.

Though my mother instilled confidence in me by virtue of how she loves me, as you read in the book, my mom kept me in front of cameras. Outside of my mom making sure I felt beautiful, I remember being picked on as a child by schoolmates. So, I joined in the jokes and cracked back. I remember being called a football head because I had a large forehead. I used to hide it with bangs. By high school, I decided to embrace it and wear my hair back at times for me to get used to me. I started accepting myself. I’m sure children can relate, and their self-esteem can be affected by such ridicule. 

In chapter 1 in your book “Pretty Ain’t so Pritty,” you talk about being ostracized, made fun of, and picked on. Share some examples as a child and an adult of an experience you had to overcome to get where you are today.

By 17 I developed a relationship with God. I became different, I spoke as a person of wisdom. I started seeing myself as God saw me. I would be a person that people would consult with instead of pick on. I became respected because of my relationship with God. I overcame all things because of reading my Bible and believing in God and myself.

I did an interview with a female celebrity about who she thought was attractive. At the time, one of the hottest R&B singers was what most would consider overweight. She said, “I’m a big girl, and I don’t do big men like him. I like a man to be built fine and sexy.” Women called my radio show and they agreed with her and then went on and on about the men they thought were fine and sexy. Denzel, Morris Chestnut, Boris Kodjoe, and other men in that category were mentioned. Yet men are demonized when we openly admire the bodies and looks of Halle Berry and other women who look like her. Why is that?

I’m not sure. I look at the face but more so the personality, character, and abilities. Those men mentioned I have never doted over. I love Denzel because I think he has a beautiful brain. He also openly shares his love for God. Like me, God plays a big role in our lives, and we acknowledge that. I think everyone should be honest about what they like and what they find attractive.

In chapter 3, “I am not my hair.” I loved the comment, “Our hair is magical, can do so many creative things. That itself is a beautiful thing.” You also shared how insecure most little Black girls were about their natural hair and they couldn’t wait to stretch their hair pattern for Easter Sunday. Talk about where that stems from, as well as how many Black women have overcome this. 

Black women have surely evolved and as a cosmetologist by trade, I am so happy about it. I would venture to say self-hate existed in some ways and sometimes we did not know that that was what it is. It was hard to accept ourselves culturally if we saw that no one on TV looked like us. White with straight hair was almost the measuring ruler for beauty. After all, they were plastered on TV all day. Black people did not have many images that were in the limelight to relate to as whites or white children (saw on TV). That creates a stigma and inferior mindset for Black children at the time. Now, we see ourselves as glorious as God our creator fashioned us. I love that we are accepting and loving ourselves more. We truly have sparked a movement, and I am all for it.

In Chapter 4, “The skin I’m in,” you talked about a dark skinned person who was mistreated because of it. Who in this day and age feels inferior around lighter skinned women? How can women and little girls who are going through the same issues overcome this?

You are speaking of colorism. Unfortunately, the ‘brown paper bag’ theory has plagued our communities of color. That was a system that was enforced upon us in slavery that our communities adopted and unfortunately, still perpetuate. Some are beholden to it because of the effect it has on them. Children should always receive reassurance from their parents. Parents’ words are very powerful in the ears of children. So, choose them wisely. We all have a universal responsibility to affirm each other in a positive way. The world has to change. We overcome by speaking well of each other.

“You’re too pretty to be smart” and “I’m having a dumb blonde moment” are just a few derogatory comments we’ve heard. I agree with the comment you shared, “mind your thoughts so your words won’t offend.” Share some of the stereotypes about pretty women and what they go through.

I have heard from males themselves that ‘pretty girls are easy to sleep with’ and they are ‘trophies.’ I’ve also heard we are meant to be seen and not really taken seriously. We are sometimes painted as ‘city girls’ or ‘fun girls.’ I do not subscribe to any of these statements. … I subscribe to I am a human being who deserves kindness, respect, love and genuine relationships. That is what I give.

Talk about the chapter “I don’t want your man. I want my own.”

I have had women in various situations appear and demonstrate their disdain for their mates hugging or near me, leading to them watching me closely or avoiding speaking to me. Some women are insecure due to their internal and environmental factors. They assume that you want what they have. I don’t envy relationships at all. All relationships are unique.

At 26, you became a homeowner, in 2013 you opened your salon, and you never looked back. You shared, “I have a tendency of not looking back unless I need to remember a very important lesson.” I dig that! Share some of the ingredients that molded you into a true go-getter.

Poverty and health disparity is a molding factor for me. I don’t want either. The key ingredient for me is knowing what you don’t want. From there, you have to have a vision. In that vision you must create or find strategies that help you reach any aspirations that you have. Also, I do not like to depend on any system to take care of me.  If one does, they can handicap themselves and always find themselves dependent. Interdependence may be of better use because it’s somewhat reciprocal.

In chapter 12, “Beautifully Embraced,” you talk about having a father who stuck by you and how wonderful it was that he took responsibility for you. Share with us in more detail the importance of a woman having a great support system.

It is important that all children feel supported. It certainly shapes their self-esteem and self-awareness, which can affect the trajectory of their lives. As people read in entirety, though, my mother was the firm foundation of love for me. My father was a support to my mother raising me, honestly. It was good that I saw a father involved in my life.  It is very important for men to be involved in their children’s lives.

In chapter 13, “Pretty Wholeness,” you said something empowering: “The one thing you should always consider is empathy. Even though another person’s issue is not your own, perhaps you can be openly compassionate toward them.” Share a bit more about that chapter that will instill wholeness in other women.

Wholeness comes from having a relationship with God and constantly cultivating a healthy esteem within self. That is each individual’s responsibility first. Surrounding ourselves with nontoxic people who are of like minds can facilitate wholeness. Having and knowing your purpose keeps you going in life. It’s not easy to give up when you know why you’re here. Understanding what gives us peace and in turn offering it to others can cultivate a holistic life. How you consciously are aware of what we put in our bodies that affect our mood, that in turn affects how we interact with others, helps women and all people promote wholeness within our lives.

Do you have a favorite scripture or quote that gives you strength to keep pushing forward? 

Matthew 28:20: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

How can we contact you and purchase your book? 

Contact me by phone or text at 336-965-2400. All books are on Amazon.

My phenomenal Person of the Week is Tasha Crews. “I want women to genuinely look beyond the surface to get to know each other, not to investigate, but to build each other up.”

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