Image Of African American Women Essay

1043 words - 5 pages

Image of African American Women
Despite the strong presence of the beautiful, powerful, black women in the media, such as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Beyoncé Knowles, African American females have been deemed unattractive in society’s eyes. These notions did not develop overnight, but remain as obstacles birthed from slavery. These stereotypes keep the black female incarcerated under the belief that they are not beautiful. However, black women have fought and are fighting these harmful perceptions in many different ways. My project will focus on two artists in particular, Maya Angelou and Kara Walker. I will look at three poems of Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Women, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Still I Rise while examining the artwork of Kara Walker to compare the different approaches to transform the unfavorable images of African American women.
An acquaintance of mine expressed to me that he found dark girls “hideous.” I was shocked upon hearing this because not only was his comment insensitive and racist, he was a black as well. This comment did not surprise me as it is popular belief that dark girls are not attractive. In Hey Girl, Am I More Than My Hair?: African American Women and Their Struggles with Beauty, Body Image, and Hair Tracey Owen Patton provides a historical review on the emergence of black stereotypes, elaborating on how black women earned the status of inferiority. Black women are held to the Eurocentric expectations, causing these adverse perceptions to evolve from the created principle that white women are the only defining archetypes of beauty (Patton 26). The societal practice of comparing black women to white women sheds a negative light on the black female community, leading to the manifestations of the oversexed jezebel, the tragic mulatto, and the mammy figure (Patton 27). Ruth Feldstein, author of The World was on Fire: Black Women Entertainers and Transnational Activism in the 1950s, also asserts that black women aren’t viewed positively and demonstrates how black female artists of the 1950s used fashion and hair in resistance to the stereotypes. Black female entertainers avoided form fitting gowns while performing in order to gain respect as African American women (Feldstein 27). They utilized their natural hair to confront and denounce the negative and false presumptions regarding the black image (Feldstein 27). Black female artists wanted their audience to recognize that they were black women in order to break the racially barriers, disassemble the erroneous portrayals, and reconstruct the black image (Feldstein 27). After review the past actions, I will assess the actions that are being taken currently. Tal Dekel’s, In Sex, Race, and Gender: Contemporary Women Artists of Color, the Case of Kara Walker, focuses on the black females’ sexuality and how an African American artist, Kara Walker, works to remodel the image of black women and the black community as a whole. Historically, back in 19th...

Find Another Essay On Image of African American Women

African-American Women: Understanding The Problems of Gender and Race

2328 words - 9 pages African-American Women: Gender and Race Introduction African-American women have often been an overlooked group with the larger context of American Society. Historically, oppression has been meted out to the African-American woman in two ways. Historically, everything afforded to African-American, from educational and employment opportunities to health care have been sub-par. As women they have been relegated even further in a patriarchal

Obesity in African American Women Essay

5703 words - 23 pages . E. (1988). Body image, attitudes to weight and misperception of figure preferences of the opposite sex: A comparison of men and women in two generations. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 97(3), 342-345.Rucker, C. E., & Cash, T. F. (1992). Body images, body size perceptions, and eating behaviors among African American and White college women. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 12(3), 291-299.Sampson, E. E. (1993). Identity politics

Author Eudora Welty Describes Unjust Treatment of African American Women

1895 words - 8 pages Author Eudora Welty Describes Unjust Treatment of African American Women On the fifteenth of September 1963, a white man was seen setting a box beneath the steps of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The contents of the box: 122 sticks of dynamite. Minutes later, the makeshift bomb exploded, killing four young African American girls and injuring twenty-three other people. The white man, Robert Chambliss, paid a one

African American Women And Sports

1190 words - 5 pages The Connection between African-American Women and Competitive Sports Marian Moawad 205382841 Assignment #1 Inquiry Paper AS/SC KINE 1000 4.0 Foundations Section B Dr. Greg Malszecki October 10, 2001 Recreation and sports comes off as leisure and entertainment in today's society. Efforts of Women Groups (such as the Women's Division of the Athletic Amateur Federation) and Colored Associations have struggled in the last century to bring about

African American Women and Music

1728 words - 7 pages The purpose of this report was for me to research and explore the connection between African American women and music. Since prior to the slave decades, music has been an integral part of African American society, and served as a form of social, economic, and emotional support in African American communities in the past and present. This paper will cover three different types of secular music that emerged during the slave days, through the civil

Body Image and Hair Politics in African American Culture

1559 words - 7 pages Introduction This essay is concerned with issues of identity, body image and the politics of hair within African American culture. It discusses the lived experiences of a number of African American women and is no way generalizable to all African American women. Nonetheless, body image and hair politics are prominent features in African American culture because they have deep historical roots and still feature in present day. Body image is

Image of Women in Advertisement

2429 words - 10 pages woman may even not to leave her home without rolling on a brand name deodorant. The image of beauty is conceived in everyone's eyes. Women such as Elizabeth Hurley, Nicole Kidman and Britney Spears are ideal image of perfection. Would there be any girl who does not want to look like them? Nevertheless, there are many, many girls and women are desired to be like them. In today's society, advertisers advocate everyone with models and celebrities with

African American Women in the Prison System

1769 words - 7 pages child's development. Minority women are classified as "troublemakers" and "deviants" and grow up fulfilling the duties of this classification that has been forced upon them. Women in the prison system are a growing concern in our society, and it is not difficult to see that the majority of women in the system are minority females, primarily African American women. This essay is written to uncover how our American society shapes African-American

African American Women in Upper Management

1359 words - 5 pages Within the upper echelons of upper management is scant room for African American women. This mini-proposal outlines a research project that focuses on the phenomena of the nominal amount of African American women are in positions of management or organizational leadership within the City of Philadelphia. Proposed Problem The issue necessitating this empirical study I the low representation of African American women in Philadelphia in positions

Comparing the Daily Lives of African American Women in the 1940s and Today

3815 words - 15 pages Comparing the Daily Lives of African American Women in the 1940s and Today For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in America, Black women were an after-thought in our nation's history. They were the mammies and maids, the cooks and caregivers, the universal shoulder to cry on in times of trouble. Often overlooked and undervalued, Black women were just ... there. African American women have come a long way. In the 1940s, women

African - American Women in the Workplace: The Interwoven Effects of Gender & Race Discrimination

3175 words - 13 pages national origin. In 1967, it was made illegal for employers to discriminate because of age and in 1990, Congress said employers could not discriminate because of ones disability. African Americans have suffered from workplace discrimination far more than any other demographic in the workforce; this can be attributed to negative socially constructed stereotypes that are deeply rooted in American ideology. Women have experienced much progress as a

Similar Essays

Body Image In African American Women

3061 words - 12 pages Body Image in African American Women Body image is an important facet in understanding the phenomenon of eating disorders. Body image concerns are important in the etiology and treatment of eating disorders and obesity (Smith, Thompson, Raczynski, and Hilner, 1997; Thompson, 1997). The construct of body image reflects the level of satisfaction one feels regarding his or her body. Body image is a multidimensional construct. It involves

Discrimination Of African American Women In Academics

1087 words - 5 pages Discrimination of African American Women in Academics Human history is long and filled with discrimination. People with the same color discriminate others. The most famous and obvious is that the White people discriminate colored people. In addition, people within the same race discriminated their own member by their gender, religious, political stands, etc. Women have been discriminated for decades. Before race is an issue, women in difference

Violence African American Women Essay

2133 words - 9 pages Intimate partner violence of African American women 1Running Head: INTIMATE PARTER VIOLENCE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMENIntimate Partner Violence, the causes and effects on African American WomenCaprisha RichmondLamar UniversityIntimate partner violence of African American women 2Domestic Violence covers a wide range of races and many areas of the globe. While violence is a horrendous act in any relationship, it often occurs in many of them. There

The Portrayal Of African American Women In Recent Films

1760 words - 8 pages silky hair, has resulted in the formation of an unattainable image of beauty. This reinforces the insecurity African American women face with their physical attractiveness due to perceived differences. The film ‘Precious’ (Daniels, 2009), shows the struggles of Claireece Precious Jones, who lives in a dysfunctional environment and has undergone years of physical, verbal and sexual abuse from her parents. The character Precious is a severely