Lydia’s Library Books

The Bluest Eye

Today I read The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison.

What was the secret? What did we lack? Why was it important? And so what? Guileless and without vanity, we were still in love with ourselves then. We felt comfortable in our skins, enjoyed the news that our senses released to us, admired our dirt, cultivated our scars, and could not comprehend this unworthiness. Jealousy we understood and thought natural- a desireto have what somebody else had; but envy was a strange, new feeling for us. And all the time we knew that Maureen Peal was not the Enemy and not worthy of such intense hatred. The Thing to fear was the Thing that made her beautiful, and not us. (Pg 74)

This was a book about “racial self-loathing” and “how one learns that.” (Quote from Toni Morrison’s afterward). That’s something that white privilege prevents me from understanding truthfully, though I do hope and try to be an ally in solidarity. This book was sad and beautiful. The way I see it, negative body image is a powerfully harmful force that we inflict upon ourselves willingly, and this book showed me that it’s a far more destructive, lively and complicated force than I ever imagined, like a mass of poisonous and beating flesh inside of ourselves that we take care of. The Bluest Eye really sought to find these complications, and more importantly, find the humanity that nourishes them.

In equating physical beauty with virtue, she stripped her mind, bound it, and collected self contempt by the heap. (Pg. 122)

Read this book.