Are white Brazilian women “blackfishing”? What’s the deal with them suddenly rocking braids, kinky hair and African face paint?

Are white Brazilian women also "blackfishing"?
Brancas blackfishing
Are white Brazilian women also “blackfishing”?

Note from BW of Brazil: WTF?!! I just became familiar with the term “blackfishing” a few days ago. Doing a little investigation and I find that it is defines the practice of people using various techniques, such applying darker makeup, wearing cornrow braids or hairstyles associated with person of African descent, or even undergoing surgeries that enhance their figures, all, apparently in an attempt to look like black women. The debate over cultural appropriation has been going on in Brazil for a minute now, as have discussions over the usage of blackface. While the latter is outright absurd and should be prohibited given its racist history, the second is a little deeper. Why would people from a race that is considered the global standard for beauty want to adapt the physical traits of the people considered the least attractive on the global scale? Black people have been ridiculed for centuries for having dark skin, kinky hair, wide noses, thick lips and in the case of black women, more curvaceous physiques.

While the people, mostly women, who are adapting the styles and techniques are quick to argue that they have the right to experiment with any look as they please, the question remains, why do you want the look but have no desire to recognize your ability to flirt with the “exotic” and attract compliments for these looks when said characteristics attract insults for the people who have don’t have the option of putting on or taking off blackness? Why don’t you recognize the struggle and exclusion of people who often face discriminatory practices for naturally having the features that you apparently admire?

I got another question for those who think black characteristics are so cool as the “flavor of the month”: If you decided to maintain your infatuation with “coisas do negro” (black things), would you keep rockin’ these looks if the establishment started excluding you, making disparaging remarks about your new look and your social status started to decline? You know, the sort of treatment that black folks have ALWAYS had to deal with. Love to hear a response to that, but in the meantime…Check out Ana Carolina Pinheiro’s take on this issue below.

The wave of white women blackfishing and wanting to be black in the summer

Cultural appropriation among women is an example of lack of sorority.

By Ana Carolina Pinheiro

In summer, there is always a trend, be it a sport, a different ice cream or even a chewing gum song. But this year a ‘fashion’ that has been going on for some time has gained momentum and moved the social networks: white celebrities appropriating features and elements that are part of black ethnicity and culture.

Quite tanned skin, pouty lips and/or afro hairstyle. These were some of the bets that models and influencers used to make the feed with the face of summer. And you see that this trend even has a name, did you see it? It’s blackfishing, which happens when non-black people take over Afro-culture items, using social networks to self-benefit and even pretend they are miscigenadas (mixed).

Resultado de imagem para munik nunes "bem africaninha"
Munik Nunes writes that her facial art is ‘quite African’

Former BBB (Big Brother Brasil, Globo TV reality show) Munik Nunes posted a selfie of her face with ethnic face paint and wrote: “bem africaninha” (‘quite African’). The actress Gabi Lopes and blogger Bianca Andrade decided to wear the box braid style and, coincidentally, improved on the saturation of the photos with the new look, leaving their skins a few shades darker.

Resultado de imagem para "tranças"  Isabella Santoni e a Gabi LopesResultado de imagem para "tranças"  Isabella Santoni e a Gabi Lopes

Actress Gabi Lopes and blogger Bianca Andrade

Both Gabi and Boca Rosa had worn African hairstyles before, and several web surfers, mostly blacks, warned in their profiles that this was cultural appropriation, which happens when a dominant group uses elements of a culture different from its own and usually oppressed by society. It seems that they didn’t understand or didn’t want to understand.

Resultado de imagem para "Bianca Andrade" antes depois cabelo crespo
Bianca Andrade before and after giving her hair some kinks

Bianca Andrade even posted a photo of her voluminous hair after removing the braids, with the caption: “the freedom to be a thousand Biancas in one”. The discussion in the publication’s comments was inevitable, as several people, mostly women, felt uncomfortable with the blogger’s new attempt at appropriation. On the other hand, some followers also came out in defense of Bianca and also questioned the fact that some women are attacking another woman. But let’s face it: feminism teaches us about having empathy and creating non-violent or competitive relationships, but in this case, we cannot forget that the one who didn’t put herself in the shoes of women with different racial experiences was the YouTuber herself, who even wrote in a comment: “What I know is that I never cursed one of these people in my life! People get angry on their own” – as if the only way to offend a person was by cursing and not taking action, for example.

Now, you may be wondering, “But Gabi and Bianca shouldn’t have done this to pass themselves off as black, right? They just might think it’s beautiful…” Really, I don’t believe that their idea was to become black, really because giving up the ease of being a white person and to be accepted with whatever hair you want, no one wants. So, I see it as a convenient appropriation. That is, they choose some items from our ethnicity and culture, such as the braids and the tanned skin that is most wanted in the summer, only that they empty them of meaning and use them without suffering with the negative part, which is the prejudice. After all, they are protected by privileges, unlike blacks.

blackfishing
Comments – Jevajao: Prepare for criticism (But it was wonderful) (applause) official biancaandrade: @barbarbaraguedes I don’t know either. What I do know is that I have never cursed ONE of these people in my life! The people get angry alone.

The braid, for example, was used by black women from various African countries to represent marital status and even region of origin. Today, these Afro hairstyles continue to serve as a source of identification, resistance, and connection between black people and their roots. But unlike whites, Afro-descendant women and men are still discriminated against for using something that is part of their history.

comments

Comments above

ingridbianca: It is funny that Taís Araújo has suffered offenses precisely because she has curly hair and she is being praised. How strange is that? Black things are cool, it’s just not cool to be black.

xxnocrybaby: The “feminists” themselves attacking a woman who is free to wearwhatever she wants.

itspriiferreira: I’ve been with you since the tide but this photo was too much! Really because the Saturation is at the limit. Only we know how hard it is to carry the color and the hair. Having only what is good about blacks is so good, wide hips, a big butt with a thin waist, a fleshy mouth, almond eyes…now hair without definition is not a question of being whoever you want it to be. You with this number of reach could leave another thought! NO, you can’t just throw things in the air because you are INFLUENCER and here it’s your network where women praise you and in my profile that I’m real like this and many other girls are rude!!!!

So the question goes beyond a non-black wearing braids, but rather that she understands the importance of the element she is wearing, besides the simple fact that she thinks it’s beautiful. It is worth remembering that when we are talking about a public figure that influences a lot of people, “demanding” common sense actions that don’t offend anyone is much bigger and necessary. After all, they must have responsibility for the impact of their publications. How many girls may have been left with shaken self-esteem and wondering, “Why can she braid and receive so much praise, while other black women are being offended for wearing the same hairstyle?” Or is it only important that they feel beautiful regardless of what it can generate in other people?

If we can draw a lesson from this story it is that when someone says they felt offended by something you did, stop and think about what needs to be done so as not to increase the discomfort of the other. To find that the problem lies in whoever “complains” and put their personal interests and desires above the ramifications of structural racism or another social problem is not the best way.

So, what’s your take on this? Do you know other cases of cultural appropriation and blackfishing? So, tell us in the comments or if you prefer you can send an email to anacarolipa16@gmail.com or send direct to Instagram, of which I would love to talk.

Kisses,

@Anacarolipa

Source: Capricho

About Marques Travae 2950 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

3 Comments

  1. PAPYRUS VOL 9 # 24-DEFINE AUTHENTIC AFRIKAN-8TH EDITION

    The purpose of this Note is to define what is an Authentic Afrikan from an Afrikan point of view. Our source: Cutural Misorientation By: Kambon; African-centered theses on mental health and a Nosology of black/African personality disorder By: D. A. Azibo;The Isis Papers:The keys to the colors By: F. Welsing;Falsification of Afrikan consciousness By: A. Wilson; Anthropometric differences between Black and White Children By: G. Owen and A. H. Owen.

    This Note is not for any anti Afrikan, flex Afrikan nor melanin recessive neonates nor those who assert that, ‘’WE ALL ARE AFRIKANS”, genetically!!
    We take the position that, all people are not Afrikan as defined below due to either their actions or inactions or both, or psychological mental disorder misorientation.
    To be an Authentic Afrikan the following must apply:

    A. One must have psychological correct cultural orientation (D. A. Azib ) plus
    B. One must have Genetic Pigmentation that is Melanin Dominant (D. A. Azibo) plus
    C. Correct cultural practices of deeds, actions, daily (one can not assert that we are all Afrikan and do not show correct actions or deeds towards the whole (Afrikan community) daily nor practice white supremacy in any forms or fashion nor seek to force false religion upon Melanin Dominant people who have the correct psychological correct cultural orientation ). Plus
    D. One can not be an Authentic Afrikan if they are Melanin recessive, plus
    E. Authentic Afrikan must wear Afrikan attire and not practice any forms of oppression, plus
    F. One must be Female or Male no gender mix up and not be married to the same sex or an Authentic Afrikan must be married to the same melanin dominant person to another same melanin dominant person in terms of skin pigmentation!
    It will never to be deemed to be an Authentic Afrikan if one is a Melanin recessive person which is a health problem long term and short term for the Afrikan Community!
    NOW, MELANIN RECESSIVE PEOPLE ARE SAYING THAT THEY ARE IN FACT AFRIKANS;

  2. I don’t know what’s going on here, maybe they see themselves as something else. Just like the black women wearing blonde weaves and colored contact lenses.

  3. On Skin Bleaching and Lightening as
    Psychological Misorientation Mental Disorder
    Daudi Ajani ya Azibo, Ph.D.
    Independent Scholar
    Daudi Ajani ya Azibo (azibod@yahoo.com) is an Independent Scholar who has taught at several
    American universities. He is a nationally recognized expert in African-centered (Black)
    Psychology. His “Azibo Nosology” (Journal of Black Psychology, Spring 1989) is the only
    diagnostic system of mental disorders directly linked to African-centered personality theory and is
    the 5th most cited article in the history of the Journal of Black Psychology (JPB). He has the
    singular distinction, based on content analysis of the JBP, to be the #1 contributor since 1988. JBP
    has devoted two issues to Dr. Azibo’s work: May 1998 (v. 24, no. 2) on the Azibo Nosology and
    1994 (v. 20, no. 3) on Azibo’s Black Liberation Theology and Liberation Psychology. Dr. Azibo
    has received national awards including the “Distinguished Psychologists” in 1993 and
    “Scholarship Award” in 1989.
    Abstract
    Skin bleaching and skin lightening behavior (SBSLB) is shown to be psychological
    misorientation mental disorder. The concepts of mental disorder and psychological
    misorientation are explained. SBSLB is integrated into the African-centered culturespecific
    Azibo Nosology of mental disorders (Azibo, 1989). Therapy of an Africancentered
    nature is recommended for persons afflicted with SBSLB disorder.
    Keywords: Azibo

    The purposes of this article are to first establish skin bleaching and lightening
    behavior (SBSLB) as a mental disorder of the psychological misorientation type
    and second to integrate it into the Azibo Nosology of mental disorders peculiar to
    African descent persons (ADP).
    On Psychological Misorientation
    Historically introduced by Baldwin (1976), the psychological
    misorientation construct (Kambon, 1996) has received attention and great
    currency in the annals of culture-specific psychopathologies afflicting ADP from
    its promulgation in the Azibo Nosology (Anderson, 2003; Anderson & Stewart,
    2007; Atwell & Azibo, 1991; Azibo, 1989, 2006; Belgrave & Allison, 2006;
    Harrell, 1999; Schultz, 2003). Psychological misorientation refers to the overt
    and cognitive behavioral orientation to reality that derives from ideation itself
    when said ideation is based in Eurasian concepts, beliefs, and definitional
    systems. Literally, the body, pre-bleached of course, may be black, but the mind
    is not. Thus we may speak of ADP afflicted as “genetic Blackness minus
    psychological Blackness [psychological Africanity]” (Azibo, 1989, 183). Since
    people proceed as they perceive, so to speak, a cognitive definitional system
    comprised of or dominated by Eurasian elements can only orient ADP as if they
    were said Eurasians. ADP negotiating reality with a Eurasian-centered psyche is
    how orienteering to defend, develop, and maintain African life, culture, and
    phenotype is precluded and militated against. Simultaneously, ADP possessing a
    Eurasian-centered cognitive definitional system are oriented to reality in a manner
    that sustains, defends, and actualizes Eurasian socio-cultural behavior even if it is
    subtlely or blatantly anti-African. An example of such behavior is skin bleaching
    and lightening behavior (SBSLB). It is one upshot of psychological
    misorientation out of many. And, psychological misorientation is mental
    disorder.
    On Mental Disorder
    When interpreting or evaluating a given behavior as psychopathological or
    inappropriate or not, culture is the lynchpin. A given behavior may be seen as
    appropriate or inappropriate depending upon the cultural perspective employed.
    SBSLB is a case in point. In Eurasian cultures, SBSLB by ADP may be
    construed as nonpathological individualism. Also, since themes like “West
    best”, “White is right”, and “African is inferior and repulsing” pervade Eurasian
    cultures, any movement by ADP that approximates Eurasian orientation and gains
    distance from an African orientation is seen as normal or acceptable behavior
    from prevailing Eurasian-centered perspective.
    However, centered African culture (Azibo, 1992) stands on the two
    principles of universal mental health and organismic survival maintenance
    propensity (see Azibo, 1996). The former states that all life forms must tend to
    preserve themselves as a priority. The latter ascribes normalcy to ADP only when
    their behavior is maintaining of the “self” conceptualized Africentrically as
    “extended” to include the corporate collective of living ADP, yet-to-be-born
    progeny, and ancestors. This is a veritable vertical and horizontal self-extension.
    Perforce, behavior that under Africentric cultural interpretation is found not to
    reflect prioritization of the defense, development, and maintenance of African life
    and culture can only be interpreted as abnormalcy. Azibo’s analyses (Azibo,
    Johnson, & Robinson, 2007; Azibo & Robinson, 2004) revealed the paradox that
    quotidian African-U.S. racial identity development qualifies for this abnormalcy.
    It is not a paradox, however, that when mental health functioning as reflected by
    Africentric conceptualizing pervades African civilizations, they fare better
    (Azibo, 1999).
    The abnormalcy attribution for behavior of this sort is doubled when the
    behavior actually attacks African life and culture. I maintain that SBSLB is
    accurately interpreted as a profound attack on genetic blackness and by extension
    ADP. Removal, erasure, and making less ADP’s biogenetic blackness are
    behaviors that literally and essentially wipe it out phenotypically. Frankly, this
    means that psychologically the bleacher or lightener has deliberately eliminated,
    discarded, shed, and killed her or his genetic blackness. In gangster terms, genetic
    blackness is “rubbed out” (murdered) by SBSLB. Thus, SBSLB is equivalent to
    participation in own-race murder. As such, it qualifies as an attack on ADP.
    Since it is participating in own-race maintenance that is the sine qua non of
    mental health (Azibo, 1989, 1991, 1996), the profound own-race destruction and
    disparaging that underlies SBSLB qualifies it as mental disorder.
    Another justification for applying the abnormalcy attribution to SBSLB is
    the “harmful dysfunction analysis” which posits mental disorder

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