Usually, I try to make posts that have some basis in research, but in this instance I will do something that the Something Screwed Crew does regularly. That would be to address a point that is based mostly on perception and observation (with the SSC, I would add "alleged perception" and "alleged observation"). The point of this article is to address something that I have discussed with other black men regarding their observations and experiences with black women; that something being the greater tendency to embrace sassiness and the tendency for such sassiness to shove sweetness to the side. Hence, "Sweetness vs Sassiness".
I use these two terms because they are often used together. The phrase, "sweet and sassy" is a familiar phrase that has been used to positively describe women, notably black women, in the past. And I stress "positive" because together, "sweet" and "sassy" can produce something that is actually rather appealing. The problem is that in today's time, sassiness has expanded at the expense of sweetness among our sistas. This is in no way shape nor form to say that there are not sweet black women, for that would be a total falsehood. I have met many of them and the young ladies who participate in this blog circle impress me as being quite sweet among other good things. But I would say that sweetness is disproportionately lacking among African American women.
Now I think that it is important to look at the definitions of "sweet" and "sassy". At The Free Dictionary, "sassy", as related to attitude, is defined as:
Now, definition #1 has a negative connotation while definition #2 would probably overwhelmingly be viewed as positive. I believe that there is a fine line between the two definitions and that there is something that plays a large role as to whether the line is crossed to definition #1 or crossed to definition #2. That thing is the presence of sweetness.
I believe that sassiness without the balance of sweetness becomes something unpleasant. On the other hand, sweetness without sassiness remains something pleasant, albeit with possibly less of a thrill. Lets look at the definition of "sweet" as it relates to attitude:
As you can see, there is no negative connotation in the definition of "sweet". Thus, sassiness is not needed to keep sweetness positive. I think that this is one of the reasons why certain groups of women who lack the "sexy sassiness" that is common with black women tend more to have long lasting relationships and are more likely to marry than black women.
And yes, sassiness can be sexy. Unfortunately, many women seem to have trouble differentiating between the attention garnered from arrousing a man's loins as opposed to arrousing his heart. Wearing hoochie clothing is sexy. Booty claps are sexy. Wet t-shirts are sexy. But none of these are things that win a man's heart. Sassiness needs to be tempered by sweetness, otherwise you have a person who may be desirable, yet not very likeable.
This brings to mind something that I have noticed throughout the years. Being a boxing fan, I have tuned in to many fights both on television and in person. Quite often, the fights are attended by the spouses, fiances or girlfriends of the fighters. These women are black, white, Latino, Asian, etc. There are some trends that I have noticed with regard to how these women respond to their men being in a squared circle punching it out. With the black women, the overwhelming response is heavy cheering. Often the cheering is accompanied by a lot of bragging and sh*t talking. Yes, these women are fully supporting their men and are strongly rooting them on. Yet, if their men are the fan favorites, they are doing no more than what most of the people in the arena are doing.
On the other hand, a common response by the white wives, girlfriends, fiances, etc. is to have a look of worry. Some often have their eyes covered or look like they are close to tears. They have a look that says that they are more worried about their men's well being than they are about his performance in the fight. They have a look on their faces that is not shared by hardly anyone else in the arena.
This example exemplifies the differences between sweetness and sassiness; the difference between caring and being "lively and spirited; jaunty".