Thick and Other Essays 1-6


The first essay starts with a story about Tessie Mcmillan Cottom and she discusses how a man had said to her “Your hair thick, your nose thick, your lips thick, the whole thing about just thick” (p. 7). She mentions how people have always made her feel as if she was too much and that she should have been a thing or have less of everything. She mentions how this more so happened with white people and for a long time she tried to change the way she looked. She then decided to stop changing how she looked, which she believed truly helped her express herself through her writing.

In the Name of Beauty:

In this essay, Mcmillan Cottom discusses what it means to be “beautiful.” She emphasizes on how black women are usually thought of less beautiful than white women. In this section of the book, she discusses beauty standards and how in sixth grade her white teacher told her, her breast were distracting (p. 41). She elaborates how white women have an advantage because society views their bodies and looks as ideal. She states “beauty isn’t actually what you look like; beauty is the preferences that produce the existing social” (p. 45). Mcmillan Cottom discusses how beauty is expressed through culture as well. She continues to mention and argue “when I say that I am unattractive or ugly, I am not internalizing the dominant culture’s assessment of me. I am naming what has been done to me. And signaling who did it” (p. 60). In addition, she argues how the desire to beautiful becomes a demand and a market. She argues it is a form of capital and white women control this capital. She argues that self-love and the desire to beautiful is a marketing tactic and way of marketing beauty as a product.

Dying to Be Competent:

            In this essay, Mcmillan Cottom discusses how people are not judged based on their earnings and or occupation. She argues that social class, gender, and race, are factors that people judge. She states, “For black women, racism, sexism, and classism have always made us structurally incompetent” (p. 81). She elaborates on pregnancy in the medical system invalidating her pain and feelings. Her story about her miscarriage really stood out to me. Many women who go into their doctor have their feelings dismissed and she emphasizes the problem with how the medical field invalidates neglect black women’s feelings. They told her they couldn’t do anything because she didn’t tell them she was in labor, but she kept telling them something was wrong. No one listened.

Know Your Whites:

            In this essay, she discusses how when she attended a fundraising event and how her mother told her “White people are crazy” and how she went to this event listening to how white people She mentions how knowing how white people think and react in certain situations. She discusses how there is a difference between white people believing in the idea of a white president and faith in Obama.

Black is over (Or, Special Black):

            This essay discusses the gap and unease between black people who are rich and the average working black individual. She discusses how there is a hierarchy within black communities. She states, “My social status necessitated that I perform or at least desire a different kind of blackness” (p. 146). She also states how when Obama left office “black was over” (p. 150).

The Price of Fabulousness:

            This essay discusses the stereotypes and stigma that poor black females experience and how black women from poor lifestyles and families experience discrimination more often and are treated differently than so-called higher-class black women. She discusses the societal belief and idea of poverty. She discusses no matter how smart or talented these black girls are they fail to be successful because of their backgrounds and their disadvantages. In this chapter, she talks about watching her grandmother helping others to make ends meet. She mentions how “status symbols..become keys to unlock these gates” (p. 168). Although this chapter is short, she elaborates on how black people from poor backgrounds experience hardships.

Overall, these chapters go into her personal experience as a black woman and an intellectual black women’s perspective. She experienced hardships that all women do face, but her feelings were invalidated by white women. She was treated differently for the way she looked and her thickness which influenced her perspectives on sexual abuse, beauty, and even politics.

My optional question for you all is when was a time when your feelings were invalidated by a man, or a doctor or when was a time when you have seen a black woman be treated differently or even heard a story when a black woman was treated less than by a white person?

This is a common issue and debate topic in society today. I believe her perspective gives white people an opportunity to hear from personal experience.

My other question, how do you feel about social status impacts your political beliefs?


This video was very insightful, and I thought I would share. It is a sit down with Tressie Mcmillian Cottom to discuss her book.

Feminist and Sociology Professor Tressie McMillan Cottom



The United States Supreme Court and Women

Brianna Reyes

According to an article provided by the ACLU, the United States Supreme Court made two decisions last week that proved an “alarming” disinterest in protecting women. The headline itself sounded alarming if you ask me. At first, I was expecting normal Supreme Court decisions, and although a sad article to read I thought it would be a good topic to focus on with the things we have discussed in class. Violence is one of the main issues Hooks discusses and the documentary as well. Although I believe violence is never ok, the story of Lisa Montgomery raised some red flags and questions in my eyes. The Supreme Court made one decision about a drug used for abortion and another on a person’s life.

The first action the court decided on was a drug used for abortion by medication and miscarriages. The drug is called Mifepristone; this medication is proven to be safe and effective and has been approved by the FDA for 20 years. The Supreme Court reinstated a policy that makes the patients travel to a health center to pick up the pill and sign a form, but during a pandemic.

This article states the problem with this policy is patients are traveling during Covid-19 and rather than allowing patients access to abortion care without putting their lives at risk, they decided to reinstate a policy during a time where we are supposed to reduce travel and stay home. I agree because I don’t understand the logic of putting more lives at risk and exposure to the virus by forcing them to travel to obtain a medication that has been proven to be safely effective.

Not only does this article state it could be deadly, but they also continue to talk about the second action the Supreme Court decided on. Lisa Montgomery. I honestly didn’t know who she was until I researched this article. She was sentenced to death for the murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett.

According to this article, the last woman that was executed by the federal government was Ethel Rosenberg, in 1953. Lisa Montgomery was abused and experienced traumatic “sexual violence and torture.” If you know Ethel Rosenberg, she was convicted of conspiring with the Soviets to give them U.S atomic secrets. Well, those two crimes are completely different, to me at least. Montgomery was abused and raped by her stepfather in her own home. Her mother “trafficked her to countless men to pay the bills.” This article continues to discuss the traumatic experiences Montgomery has gone through and I can’t express the worry and fear this article put in me.

With these experiences, she developed mental illnesses which were documented and reported over the years and she didn’t even understand why she was being executed at the time of her death. Her lawyers filed what is called a clemency petition, with Trump’s administration. The administration never responded. The petition stated to have her death sentence changed to life without parole. In my opinion, although wrong for her to kill her abuser, she was traumatized. That type of violence can take a toll on someone. Although our current president opposes the death penalty, and her execution was supposed to be put on hold to consider legal challenges; the Supreme Court decided to move forward.

This article continues to talk about how it is “unsurprising” that Trump’s administration disregarded the issue and women’s lives. The end of the article ends with the “the majority of the Court did not even bother to explain its decisions. But to women, its silence spoke volumes.”

As someone who wants to eventually work in the legal field and as a woman, this is disturbing to me. I would never tolerate or condone any violence. However, Montgomery’s lawyer’s petition and requests were not unreasonable. Executing her is. I strongly believe the court should have considered this alternative, rather than taking a woman’s life who was abused and tortured, not protected by her family. In addition, the decision made about abortion shows they would rather risk a person’s life to travel, rather than relying on scientific evidence and the FDA approval for a drug that has been deemed safe and effective. It goes to show how the court disregards important information when making decisions that impact people’s lives and have very serious consequences.

I know this was a little off-topic, but I wanted to see how you all felt about the Supreme Courts’ decisions last month and about the way the Trump administration ignored this issue but pardoned two rappers before he left office.

The issues that matter are being disregarded and although this one woman’s life, like the article, said their “silence” speaks volumes.

Here is the article!

Mar, Ria T. “ACLU News & Commentary.” American Civil Liberties Union, 19 Jan. 2021,