Confessions of a Bougie Black Woman

I have been growing more and more fascinated by the whole concept of "being bougie" and what that really means. In Caribbean parlance, bougie can become "stoosh/stush". I have been called both stoosh and bougie and guess what? I own my bougieness.

Bougie.- aspiring to be a higher class than one is; a hacked truncation of the word bourgeoisie, which refers to the middle class in Europe, but a more affluent class level in the United States; anything that is perceived to be "upscale" from a blue collar point of view.

And this bit irritates me -

Bougie - Characteristic applied to African American women who display snobbish traits; often used to describe African Americans who are accused of "selling out"

While I am Afro-Trini, the term "bougie" still seems to hold some negative connotations to it and I am here to debunk this negativity.

If bougie means wanting to be successful, self-reliant, awesome and aspiring to create a legacy my kids can be proud of and aspire to, then I am bougie

If bougie means not having my junk spilling out of too-short skirts and too-low cut blouses, and not making a spectacle of myself via my mode of dress, then I am bougie

If bougie means that I can walk away, risking the wrath of those who may call me a coward, because I choose not to "run up some girl's chest", pull her weave, cuss her mama etc, in the middle of town, over nonsense, like a man for example - cite me - I am bougie

If bougie means I avoid certain events because they cultivate the type of behaviour as described above, in favour of less volatile environments, then I am bougie

If bougie means I have an appreciation and love for culture, whether it is a ballet or a night at the theatre, as much as I do for a fete, then I am bougie

If bougie means I don't drop it like it's hot in a public forum, get drunk or pass out after a night out, then yeah, I am hella bougie

If bougie means that I am willing to sacrifice certain things, so I can be independent and not have to find a baby daddy to "mind me", then yeah, I am mega bougie

If bougie means I also like, not prefer, but also like, eating in a certain way, in certain places, and having certain types of food and beverages such as sushi and wine, then I guess I am indeed bougie

(Let me also say, I am not a great patron of street food, not because I am "bougie", but because I am anal about food preparation, and the flagrant neglect of public health regulations. That's not bougie. That's a bit neurotic and I confess in this case, I bloody well am! And in this case, I have cultivated a love for cooking to circumvent the risk of food poisoning. lol)

If bougie means I will, without batting an eye, dismiss a man who disrespects me verbally, physically, emotionally, either in public or in private moments, then hell yes, I am bougie

If bougie means I will appreciate a man who treats me well, respects where I am now and where I have come from to get there and supports me in going even further, and even if he is not black, then I guess I am bougie. (God forbid he is not black, then I have sold out in the worst way!)

And bougie does not mean one has to look down on anyone, or be a snob. It should be about empowerment. I am not only bougie but I am true to my bougieness and committed to being a bougie black woman. I own it.

9 comments:

  1. Wow. You have spoken the truth. Black women seem to want to keep other black women down with the monikers we give each other - always negative, seldom positive! Great post!

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  2. I had not previously heard the term, but after reading this I think we should all aspire to be bougie. I have never understood the way women put each other down. The thought of a racial group attempting to diminish anyone who rises further in societal strata is repulsive as well. Can't we all just appreciate our differences and let it be?!? I, for one, am glad you are debunking the myth and being who you truly want to be!!

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    1. Agreed. I am who I am. No apologies!

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  3. Well, from another bougie: Preach! You said, and I agree. I take pride in how I carry myself -- how I show myself to the world, to my family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, my support systems. You display yourself like crap, you will be looked at as such and treated as such. Now, there is one thing: I cannot get enough of New York City's amazing food trucks. Yep, street food, and quality street food to rival other big city rollers like L.A., San Fran, Miami. But, I'm a foodie who also loves experiencing the finest. I can transition from a food truck to having high tea as well as dinner at the Ritz in London. Yes, I've done both and I loved both. I don't care if it's bougie. I'm not about to put anyone down; but I am about lifting myself up. I don't care where you come from. Carrying yourself in a respectful manner has nothing to do with dollars and cents or pounds and pence. P.S. This bougie is looking forward to going to Rhode Island in August for a polo match. Wish you were here sit on the sidelines with the ladies. And yeah, I do go to the Ballet at Lincoln Center, and I have been to Shakespeare in the Park (Central Park) with very, very famous faces as part of the casts, and I've seen Dame Judi Dench on the stage in London, but I've also been to "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot" (yes, it does exist, and you have to bring your own chairs). So, again, I can have be on two different sides of the street, but no matter what, I'm always a lady.

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    1. Agreed. It is a state of mind and a choice - we choose how well we live and it has nothing to do with money cause for as long as I can remember - waaaaaay back in the day - I just knew the kind of woman I wanted to be and that my mother, aunts etc wanted me to be and that my future daughters would want me to be.

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  4. Wow! Thanks for such a thought-provoking article! you took me back to my.childhood years. I can remember being constantly teased and called stuck-up or bougie, because of the standards and values instilled within me by my parents and extended family. Although, peer pressure influenced rebellion at times... i never strayed too far from my foundation. So, If being bougie equates to having a strong sense of self pride, self respect and determination.... then I will proudly wear my "Bougie Badge" all day, every day! :).. Happy Friday!

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  5. Ok so I have no idea how I missed this...I ABSOLUTELY LOVE it!!! I am BOUGIE!!! You've said exactly what I've been thinking and feeling. "If Bougie means that while living in Boston, if I have kids, I will not be sending them to Boston Public Schools because I want better than what is being offered there, then yes I'm Bougie." It seems that we're accused of being bougie simplt for wanting better. I see kids being teased (here and at home) for being studious and actually paying attention in class and not wearing certain hairstyles...well guess what I will be raising my child to be bougie too...thanks Avi

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  6. Avi I have no idea how I missed this...I just want to say...My name is Shelly-Ann and I am Bougie!!!! LOL...I love it...seems as though ppl try to make us feel guilty for wanting to get ahead and enjoy the finer things and different things in life. Imagine I said to someone recently that I really want to take a Europe trip next year...the person looked at me askance and said why would I want to do that, I said why not? There's so much to see, do, enjoy and experience there...her response...that just sounds really stuck-up to say you want to go to Europe for vacation... well I guess that's just who I am...and I make NO APOLOGIES.

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  7. Apparently I am Bougie...and my clip Bougie too!!! My dog, Stush Bush, is Bougie too...No apologies!

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