This post was initially entitled, “I Don’t See anything wrong with what Ayesha said.” At the time that I had written it, I wanted to respond to the backlash to a comment that she made on Red Table Talk:
“Something that really bothers me and has honestly, given me a little bit of an insecurity is like ‘Yeah, there are all these women throwing themselves [at Steph] but me, the past ten years, I don’t have any of that. It sounds weird but I have zero male attention. Then I internalize it and I’m like is there something wrong with me? I don’t want it. But it would be nice to know that someone’s looking.”
But I’ve been super busy as of late — moving, starting a new job, getting ultrasounds for my thyroid and abdomen, you know, life — so I haven’t been doing as much writing as I would have liked and thus missed the trending window for when my initial post would have been relevant.
As luck would have it, today Ayesha Curry is trending again, and I now realize that my original focus was too narrow. I finally realize that it was never about what Ayesha said or what she does.
People stay hating on Ayesha because y’all are just jealous and miserable.
I think back to when she tweeted this one time:
The Internet lost its collective sh*t. Homegirl was talking about HERSELF and HER CHOICES but all of Twitter got their knickers into a knot. People felt like she was judging other people — like she was judging them. I never knew that talking about oneself counted as a judgment against all others but it’s a new day in 2019.
The fact is, people seem to embrace the barely-there look nowadays. The advent of the ‘gram has made it worse. But Ayesha didn’t say that anything is wrong with this trend of being scantily clad. She only said that she has decided differently for herself. And I agree. People can wear whatever they want, but I too would rather give viewing (and visitation) access to my intimate partner only.
I’m of the opinion that only hit dogs holler, or, said a little less crassly, if something someone says doesn’t apply to you, keep scrolling. You do you. She wasn’t shaming anyone.
The take-away should have been: homegirl lives her life differently.
Then Ayesha went on Red Table Talk (recap for those of you who have been living under a rock):
People lost their minds again. People watched this and saw it as a plea for attention. I, on the other hand, don’t even see the big deal about what Ayesha Curry said.
Homegirl gets invited on Red Table Talk — a show where people go to have vulnerable, transparent, real talk with Jada Pinkett-Smith, her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris and her daughter Willow Smith — and again she gets lampooned for voicing her insecurity about herself.
When I first heard about the hubbub, I went back to search for the alleged Red Table Talk episode so that I could hear the thing for myself. I have learned that context is key. It’s not even like her words, standing alone, are problematic. And, unsurprisingly, the context shed light on where she was coming from.
Objectively speaking and according to conventional beauty standards, Ayesha Curry is gorgeous. I would be surprised if she was not on the receiving end of male attention growing up. She is used to being noticed, and I can imagine that only someone who had been receiving that attention pretty regularly and now sees that attention dry up would make the comment that she did.
And can we really blame her? Which woman among us has never wondered if they’re still attractive and if they still got it?
When you stop attracting men, or when you don’t attract men, when you don’t get hit on as often as you used to, when you suddenly become invisible, it does make you wonder what happened or what changed.
(Quick tangent because I really wanted to drive this point home in my initial post:)
If I’m the only person who believes that and tells myself that I am beautiful, am I still technically beautiful? If only my husband thinks that I’m beautiful, am I actually beautiful? If only my husband is attracted to me, am I actually attractive? If a flower only ever attracts one bee and that’s it, can we honestly actually say that that flower is attractive? If you’re pretty and nobody says you are, are you really even pretty? If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, did it even fall? How do you know?
Most women want to be found attractive — perhaps by not the whole world, but at least by a good few. The thing is, we don’t see ourselves. We are blind to our own beauty. So we rely on social cues to know if we are attractive and/or beautiful. (That’s why we exist in community and we need community, like Red Table Talk. We need community to remind us of who we are, what we do well, and that yes, we’ve still got it.)
Part of the definition of beauty depends on and is still very heavily wrapped up in external validation. It’s often not enough to stare in the mirror and recite affirmations.
Adrienne Bailon once said on The Real that she never really gets hit on, but that doesn’t mean that she’s not pretty. On the contrary, she too is gorgeous. But I also realize that sometimes some things are so obvious to other people but so not obvious to us that people take it for granted that we know these things about ourselves. Would you ever walk up to Cindy Crawford or Megan Fox or Charlize Theron or Tyra Banks and tell them, “Gosh, I think you’re really pretty.” No. Why? Because it’s kind of a given; they’re models after all. And you assume that they already know this and have received enough public affirmation to that effect. It’s like telling Dwayne Johnson (bae) “Gosh. You’re really strong.”
That’s not to say though that Cindy may not harbour some latent insecurities about her beauty, or that Dwayne may not wonder if he is deezed enough. Often, the most beautiful people are the most insecure.
I have learned that people are too often thinking things about us that they, again, too often — out of politeness or decency or shyness– keep to themselves.
But of course, Ayesha Curry catches major flack whenever she opens her mouth. Again, people stay hating on Ayesha. It’s like she’s damned if she does and she’s damned if she don’t.
Today Ayesha was trending for doing the Milly Rock:
I thought that she was pretty good. And she was being silly and having fun, and yet people were still hating on her. Finally, a light-bulb went off because I recognize this pattern. I recognize this pattern from grade-school.
People are jealous. That’s it.
Ayesha is a young, attractive, light-skinned Christian woman with a best-selling cookbook, cooking show, and culinary brand, married for the past eight years to one of the top basketball players in the league (who also happens to be light-skinned) and has a big house with three cute, light-skinned, curly-haired children, one of whom is known for her quips and authenticity.
Of course she’s hated. Of course people are jealous. Of course she’s misunderstood.
When you are in the public spotlight, you can often do no right. Ayesha’s brand necessitates that she is out there doing stuff. She is a public figure after all. And even if in the off case that one’s actions are cries for attention and relevance, what is wrong with that?
Most of the people who have an opinion are also users of social media outlets which are, at their core, a platform to share oneself and garner attention. Social media is ubiquitous and has taken our world by storm partly because we all, at some basic level, crave attention. We want to share our lives (or at least the carefully curated versions of them). We all want to be seen.
While I try to give as little attention to the thought as possible, I too sometimes wonder if people think (what with the frequent posting of my life and thoughts on social media) that I am putting out a desperate plea to be seen, that I’m searching for attention or doing it for likes. But the truth is, not really. If no one comments, if no one shares, if no one “likes” or “retweets” I’m fine. I’m an oversharer by nature. I don’t just do things for “attention.” I’m just being myself.
Though I’ve never met her, I believe Ayesha is no different.
So we can stop clowning her, stop pouncing on her whenever she so much as breathes, and instead, perhaps, mind our own business and live our best lives just as Ayesha is living hers. We can instead pay attention to our own path set before us, especially since for some of us, our lives are in more need of attention than Ayesha’s.