Friday 30 October 2020

Blackness and Body Image

The Body Confidence Cards HoMe(dition)!

Whether you find value in awareness days and months, they certainly inspire discussion and sometimes reflection. October is the power house of awareness events for me - World Mental Health Day, Breast Cancer Awareness and Black History Month.

A focus on Breast Cancer was a big part of my journey to Body Confidence and Black History Month has been a massive focus for me in 2020 at work and with the cards. 

One of the things I was keen on with the deck was that it be as diverse as possible, in terms of the design eg the font's readability, the images (given what images I could find/afford!) and the language. So, the original deck represented a broad range of people and left space for others to tell a story. Also, the 'Facilitator' (teacher) guide has a section on how to use the cards to amplify a diversity discussion, however...

...As I was reflecting through BHM, I started to consider what it would mean to do a High on Melanin (HoM)edition of the cards - not for BHM alone but beyond. I considered the challenges associated with blackness and image/body confidence that I and others experience everyday. Some experiences are universal but others are more pointed to the black experience.

What is different in the body image space is that black bodies have largely been considered: 

  1. less valuable (eg in the US a black person was considered less than 1, 3/5th to be precise), 
  2. more resistant to mistreatment (beatings and brutality in general, historically: medical experiments on black women, currently: data on death in childbirth) and 
  3. less beautiful re our natural features - see the powerful video below.

There is already much written on the subjects above and how blackness underpins issues like fatness*, the need for a "Crown Act" and how black women were the founders of the Body Positivity movement (which has now been highjacked into the mainstream), and I wanted to reflect some of this in the cards. *see Sabrina Strings: "Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia".

With this in mind, the HoMe(dition) features all black and brown bodies, shows different hair and skintones (though more could be done I know), has three different alphabet cards on our hair, lookism and the Western ideal and sets out to challenge a few stereotypes such as showing a softer side to black men. 

Once again, the exercise highlighted an issue with access to images (, and I don't claim to have represented everyone, but I do hope the new deck starts a conversation about specific issues. 

The cards will be printed soon and I can't wait to hold the new deck and be part of the discussion beyond Black History Month 2020.
Message on SM or Email me at to pre-order!

I see you!
Denise 💞💞💞

I: bodyconfidencecards_db
T: @_BodyConfidence
F: Body Confidence Card Club

Thursday 1 October 2020

Hair, part one!

Hair there? A poem - of sorts!  

Last month was #NationalAlopeciaMonth but I wasn't ready. Today, is #National PoetryDay. It's given me a nudge to share this - it's part of a bigger story and has been sitting on my phone for a bit.

Here goes...

Could it be?
There's something coming through
Where smooth and empty once was.
No, don't begin to believe Denise.
We've been here before.
The not really promises.
But the maybes 'this product will work'
There'll be some growth
There is some growth
But, sigh. Oh no,
Then and again, it was a brief, false hope
No real change, not for long anyway
Back undercover - a new wig or piece
And then, a new place
Heard a new maybe 
Not really a promise but a confident "you'll see"
That where there once was liitle or no growth
There might possibly be some
Where there was nothing
There might now be something
Progress, could it be?
Shoots, like stubble
Not getting too excited, but a quiet yippee
Some hair, my hair
Covering where the bald patch used to be.
It seems true, it seems real,
Maybe. This time. Just maybe.
Maybe it will grow
Really grow
Into a crown
Recreate the beauty that society sees
We're beautiful with or without it right?
But how most of us long to be, 
with A full head of hair
Flowing or big
Eyelashes, eyebrows, hair - our own
Not that it should matter, but it does
Either way, we're beautiful
Aren't we?
It shouldn't define me.
Whatever happens, hair today or none tomorrow
I won't let it define me, I'll be. I am.

Hair all lost, hidden, all yours, I see you!
Denise 💞💞💞