The Curry family seems to be this year’s media darlings. Dad and NBA MVP Stephen Curry continues to mystify on the basketball courts. Daughter Riley continues to captivate us with her cuteness. And mother and wife Ayesha also throws herself in the public eye as an avid Twitter user and cooking enthusiast.
But after her December tweet, the public image of Ayesha Curry seemed to take an unexpected turn. She tweeted, “I’ll take classy over trendy.” She was likely referring to her preference not to wear revealing clothes, but the tweet instantly made Mrs. Curry the catalyst for debates over Black women’s marriageability. It seems like when it comes to Ayesha, people either love her or hate her. Her fans define her as “wifey goals” and point to her role as a domestic goddess who cooks (she even has a cookbook!), cleans (though we’re sure she has paid help) and holds it down for her husband whether he wins or loses. She is the consummate “good girl,” a blueprint for women to follow if they too, want a good man to see them as wife material.
The haters, on the other hand, are resisting the idea that they need to look, cook or write books like Ayesha to avoid being labeled a “slut” who will never get a man to call them “wifey.” These women are saying their “wifey” qualities shouldn’t be tied to how revealing they choose to dress or their domestic capabilities. In so many words, these women adamantly say, “I ain’t your Ayesha Curry,” and they have no intentions of ever becoming her!
With all of the clapbacks and shade throwing going on, I think we’re missing the real message. For generations, black women have been taught to look for role models of what it means to be a good woman and a good wife. Whether it was First Lady Michelle Obama, Claire Huxtable or the first lady of St. Paul Missionary Baptist church, we are supposed to look up to these respectable women and emulate the way they dressed, how they talked and how they carried themselves as though they were the ultimate standard of black womanhood.
And while it’s perfectly normal to be inspired by another woman’s life and relationship, we do a lot of harm to each other when we put another sister on a pedestal of perfection. I’ve personally watched married women use memes about Ayesha Curry to shame other women for what they wear. I’ve also heard men say they’re ” looking for an Ayesha Curry” when they talk about the kind of woman they want to marry. While these sound like compliments, I believe that by linking respectability and marriageability, we’re sending the message to black women that she doesn’t deserve love or marriage if she doesn’t measure up to some unofficial prototype of the ideal wife.
Let’s be clear: As a happily married woman and a dating coach who teaches women how to attract men who are husband material, I can tell you with authority that you don’t need to emulate Ayesha Curry or any other woman for that matter to get a husband. You don’t have to prove yourself or earn someone’s love. You don’t have to convince him that you’re worthy of a ring. You are worthy of love because you are alive. Period. All you need to do is become your best self: a woman who is authentic, open and vulnerable and who is able to receive the love a man gives.
So don’t compare yourself to someone who appears to have a sparkling public image, because as Iyanla Vanzant says, “comparison is an act of violence against the self.” When you try to live up to some unrealistic idea of who you “should” be, you open the door for shame to rule your life.
Instead of looking for some woman to imitate, let’s focus on why a woman like Ayesha Curry is inspiring. She lives her life with confidence and authenticity. She’s comfortable in the skin she’s in and she doesn’t think she needs to change who she is just because someone doesn’t approve of her. We can learn important lessons from Ayesha Curry, but we don’t need to become her.
Do you, girl. You are good enough!