It’s funny how I picked up the November issue of Ebony magazine (for us black folk) and this headline stared back at me: What Black Men Find Sexy. It intrigued me, being a black man, that this article can tell me exactly what I find sexy. So I read it. You know, because I wanted to know. It blew my mind. Here’s what it said in a nutshell. Black men like…
1. When the ladies “flash those pearly whites.”
2. Soft hands. “Soft hands are important. Unless she’s a construction worker, they shouldn’t be rough.”
3. The “barely there” look. When the ladies wear makeup that makes it look like they’re not wearing makeup.
4. When the ladies have fresh mouths. She can be hot to trot, but if her mouth is foul that’s a deal breaker.
5. Pretty eyes. They’re the windows to the soul or something.
I found it interesting that the article said nothing about anything below the waist (hands don’t count). Apparently the brothers don’t care about 36/24/36 like Sir Mix-a-Lot told me we did. Of course on the magazine cover there is a picture of five “fine” black ladies who all have straight hair and “rockin’ bods.” What does that tell me about the things black men find sexy?
I also find it odd that no space was given to non-physical attributes like personality, sense of humor, wordplay, or level of smartness. Black men must not be interested in a woman for her mind or conversational skills. Or, better yet, perhaps we do like those things but it’s just her body that’s sexy. What does that say about us?
It’s easy to generalize. Magazines do it all the time. What ladies like. How to get a guy to propose. What movies will bore you to death. How long you should wait before putting out. I’ve seen all of those titles attached to articles before, and every single one presupposes everyone in a particular group is exactly the same. Of course that isn’t the case, but they still continue to do it. And we continue to read about it so we can learn what all people of a particular group feel about a topic.
So why do they generalize so much? Who really cares what all black men like? And if you’re a black man like me and you could care less about the “barely there” look, does that mean there’s something wrong with you? Yet, black women are reading this magazine and thinking they know everything about black men now. Uh oh.
Of course it works both ways too. We read it so we perpetuate it even if we don’t believe in the generalization. Maybe we should write in to these magazines and express our thoughts. But wait until after next month because that’s when they’re going to tell me how best to style my hair so the ladies like it, and I don’t want to jeopardize that.