The Bodies of Black Sportswomen Will No Longer Remain ‘Quiet As It’s Kept’


Just look at her arms. Her legs. Her skin and hair.  

She’s too fast. Too strong and loud. She’s too aggressive. Too angry.

These are the refrains I have heard my whole life living in a Black girl’s body.

From a young age, I knew that being a Black girl in this world was not going to be easy. At 12, I discovered Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye in our school’s library and was immediately drawn in. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the phrase “quiet as it’s kept” would come to frame so much of my life, and the lives of millions of Black girls across the globe.

Even when Black girls are quiet, or “good”, we are made to feel as being anything but. Our bodies experience adultification in ways other little girls do not. Somehow the very nature of our bodies is a problem. A source of shame, something to keep hidden so that we aren’t associated with derogatory descriptions or dreaded categorizations such as a “fast tailed girl”.

Our bodies are sexualized early. Our athleticism is judged as too masculine.

As hard as we strive, Black girls can’t seem to win.

Recently, Black girls, women and femmes are finding ways to push back against the controlling images that have haunted us since the earliest ages of colonialism. We are more than hypersexualized jezebels and wanton sapphires. We are not asexual, grinning mammies, emasculating matriarchs or mannish amazons.

Continue reading over at First and Pen.

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