Updated: Dec 16, 2022
Oftentimes I've been called the "strong Black woman" trope by people I know and those I don't. Every time I hear this phrase the light in my eyes grows a little bit dimmer.
This trope of how the ideal Black woman should act seeks to destroy the well-being of all Black woman. It feels like every waking second I am putting on this armor to portray this narrative.
We are told to keep our emotions under wraps, that crying is weakness, we don't have time for tears we must serve others and be the caretakers of our families.
Were told to be independent and throw our hands up in the air for paying our own bills, getting an education, and working twice as hard as our white counterparts.
The "Soft Life" hashtag is rejecting this notion of a hard life. A life of struggle and sacrifice.
Type in #softlife on social media and you will find countless TikToks and Reels of Black woman continuously pouring into themselves everyday.
The term “soft life” originated in the Nigerian influencer community as slang for living a life of comfort and low stress.
The "soft life" phenomenon focuses on taking care of one's mind and body and putting yourself first.
The term has also been characterized as building a stronger relationship with God, making yourself proud, and ultimately gives us the green light to know it's okay to spend energy on ourselves.
In this "Soft Life" era Black women are reminded that although life is hard it is not the only option. We are allowed to expand our dreams and horizons to live in a softer existence.
This is not the first time this concept of a "Soft Life" has surfaced. In 1999 Bell Hooks wrote a book called "All About Love: New Visions," where she explored how showing ourselves self-love, compassion, and acceptance is an act of softness.
This came during a Black Feminist movement for radical rest.
One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others.
~ Bell Hook
Photo courtesy of Brave & Kind Bookshop.
Joy as an Act of Resistance, 2018, by Nadine ljewere - shown at the Black Vanguard exhibition — is both soft and empowering in mood.
Photo courtesy of Vogue Magazine .
Kaya Nova, founder of Grown Mag, documents her "soft life" era on TikTok.
You know what’s funny? The more I allow myself to be soft the more I’m finally coming to terms with my hardness and making space for it. In softness, I’m accepting that as a Black woman I am both tough and gentle. And that is my true version of softness not just forced femininity
~ Kaya Nova
Photo courtesy of Twitter @kayanova
But many creators are painting a very opulent picture of the #softlife:
Photo courtesy of Kamie Crawford Instagram @kamiecrawford
Soft life, in the way that it’s portrayed on IG and TikTok, can often look more like luxury and true levels of enjoyment.
However, there is a reality to living a soft life, which is that discomfort is growth and growth is apart of this "soft life." People in the real world need to work to afford the life you dream of. Unfortunately life is not always roses.
So, I would challenge us to normalize living a soft lifestyle and not focusing so much on taking vacations to experience peace and luxury but instead we need to create it in our homes, our cars and outings.
Let's stay in a soft space to ask for help, admitting when you don't know how to do something, delegate hard tasks to others instead of putting too much on our plates.
Are you enjoying your "soft life" era!
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