latoya [1 of 2]

“Have I ever been ashamed of what I look like? Yes. When I was in high school a guy friend of mine pulled up my shirt when we were hanging out because he wanted to see a “black girls” breasts. I was mortified, and he ran around school telling everyone I had “African titties” because of my larger areolas. It was horrible! It was then that I began to compare my breasts to the women on television. Even the women I knew didn’t have breasts like mine and I began to hate them. It took a long time for me to get comfortable with showing my body intimately.

In addition, many years ago I decided to stop chemically straightening my hair. When I became fully natural, I hoped my hair would curl and blow in the wind. Instead, I was met with 4 c tightly coiled hair that shrunk and was difficult to detangle.

In the African-American community it’s no secret that hair “texturism” exists. Curls are generally preferred over coils and kinks and length over short styles. I could try and trace things back to slavery, but I’m not exactly sure why we continue to allow these standards to exist. Perhaps because it’s still rare to see celebrities with distinct African features or women praised for their beauty without a Euro-centric look? Maybe. I think it begins with the media, but we perpetuate the images with our own thoughts. I do see things changing, I just hope I’ll see a bigger change in perception soon.”

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LaToya Codner is a SAG-AFTRA actress from Upstate New York. She has a B.A. in Theater from Buffalo State College and a Masters in Acting from the University of South Carolina. She currently resides in Los Angeles, Ca. Check this amazing woman out at http://www.latoyacodner.com.

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