black women

The pressure to be perfect feels heightened to me as a black woman.

As a child I felt pressure to be a certain kind of perfect, so I wanted to look pretty and nice while my male cousins were running riot, that sort of nonsense. I wanted to marry a man and get a job. Now I am an adult my
aspirations have changed and I am a lot more confident about who I am. I’ve broken out of those narrow expectations, but I still feel a lot of pressure in terms of my career.

I am one of few black working-class women in my industry, which is dominated by white men. Most of the black women I see in the arts are personal assistants; none of them are working in a position that gives
them autonomy – although they usually end up running a lot of things anyway.

I definitely have impostor syndrome; that’s defined as self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that overrides any feelings of success. I didn’t have this so much before, when I was working in call centres, but I feel it now in a predominantly upper-middle- class environment. It’s weird being the only person of colour or the only one with a certain accent – it makes you feel as though you shouldn’t be there. I sometimes suffer so
much anxiety about sending an email, worrying about whether I will phrase it correctly. It’s silly because I’ve done well and proven myself, I have my own flat and a good job, yet that doesn’t feel good enough.

The pressure to be perfect feels heightened to me as a black woman because my mum always told me I would have to work harder than a white person to get ahead. It is true but it’s a self-defeating aspiration.

Perfection, or what society deems perfect, is not attainable for everyone, but it feels even further away for a woman of colour. The image of perfection is a certain physical type: a skinny woman with blond hair etc.
Those things are not even half attainable to you, and you sometimes feel you were born imperfect.

Chardine Taylor

Chardine Taylor

Chardine Taylor Stone is an award winning cultural producer, writer and feminist activist. Her work is inspired by her experiences as a Black British working class woman having found her voice through alternative subcultures like Punk and Rockabilly. She was featured in The Voice newspaper as one of the Women Who Rocked the World in 2015, Diva Magazine’s LGBT Power List 2016 and Buzzfeed’s ‘The Most Inspiring British LGBT People Of 2016

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