Social Implications, Black Female Sexual Stereotypes and their effects on young black women’s sexual decision-making

As a follow-up to our discussion on Social Implications and Black Female Stereotypes, I found this presentation that incorporated a few of the examples from our readings and talk. Please review and add your comments!

https://prezi.com/z7t9iaanznzs/the-black-female-sexual-stereotype-music-videos-and-their-effects-on-young-black-womens-sexual-decision-making/

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29 thoughts on “Social Implications, Black Female Sexual Stereotypes and their effects on young black women’s sexual decision-making

  1. First I must say that the documentary was disturbing to watch. I don’t know if we were supposed to watch it but I did and I was mortified. This presentation relates to the class discussion of social implications and black stereotypes because the media is keeping up with these stereotypes. Mainly in music videos. The music videos of rappers is keeping up with the stereotype of black women having “abnormal and primitive” buttocks. All these videos portray images of black women having the large butt and are oversexualized. This brings me to my next point. We have young women watching these videos and they think that this is the way women should act. This goes back to Lupe’s song “Bitch Bad.” The little girls watching these videos on the internet are seeing that the girls in the video are sexy and their behavior is acceptable because they are being praised by men. They are getting the wrong idea of what a women should act like and how a women should be treated causing them to make back decision as they become women themselves.

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    • Rebecca, you are right the video is very disturbing and scary. That just happened a few years ago and it has changed not only what happens at the Puerto Rican Day parade but many parades in NY. We take these images for granted but they have real consequences when they are in internalized but someone who sees those images for reality.

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  2. Hmmm. I think that overall this presentation was something that can be used an an eye opener to the women of color who do live their lives based on sexuality and who do play into these black female stereotypes. But at the same times, its like the same song playing in a different tune. At what point will we( as women and men of color) realize that by supporting these videos, movies and other forms of media that depict us as lesser, sexualized humans, we shall never be treated the way we need to be. Putting the focus more into the men, it is about 60% our fault that our women end of like this. When we look at women as if they are a piece and pay no attention to what they know, but rather how fat their ass is or how big their breast are, we then cause them to place more emphasis on the way they look and rather not what their brain capability is. Also that spoken word is one that I think every black women needs to hear. if they paid more attention to media of that sort rather than explicit music videos, I’m sure they would value themselves more than they are now.

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    • Korede, I completely agree with you. And I think there needs to be much more men of color who speak against these images and that type of behavior. We see that it has real consequences from the video in the presentation and in situations like the Ray Rice case. When we change how we represent ourselves we uplift everyone in the community.

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  3. Where scholarship is concerned in the sector of sociology, we often see how hard it is for women in general to survive in a worldwide patriarchal regime. Seldom do we get to see the intersectionality of the black female regarding this subject. I think the Prezi slideshow was spot on in assessing this topic because the curator conveyed that the plight of 19th century black women was not much different from the plight black women face today in the media. The story of Saartjie Baartman parallels well with the media depictions of black women in music videos and film. Today, black women are casted for roles that don’t show the overall multifaceted black woman. Whether it’s a new hip hop music video or a major role in a film, black women play a role that is not synonymous to femininity. Often black women and their body parts are analogous to being socially separate and “freaky” in media. Directors of both media sectors essentially create a more modern image of Baartman and feed it to us to regurgitate this new yet subtle racist ideal. But what I find interesting is that although this image and caricature comes with racist implications, it has permeated our culture in a way that this caricature represents a new form of beauty through the eyes of all patriarchy. That patriarchy unfortunately includes me. Personally as a heterosexual black man, I can’t say that I’m not sexually excited when I see women clothed in their bare skin and their buttocks and breasts are pictured in a way that is sexually appetizing. I honestly like it. As men we are socialized to enjoy these things about women. But it’s a slippery slope because behind this image is a subtle racist ideal that is being pitched to white men and the black man as well. Saartjie Baartman and the racist events like the “World’s Fair of 1889” have singlehandedly permeated our media culture and helped curate the views and social implications of the black woman. In recent news, Paper magazine released nude photos of Kim Kardashian last week that were shot in a way to represent Baartman. The photographer is widely known to take racy pictures in a racist way. In the 1980’s he took a picture of Grace Jones in a cage naked resembling a jaguar (LOL are you serious?). Kardashian’s picture focused on her buttocks and overall nakedness similar to these pictures but social media and news outlets portrayed this image as beautiful. I think this is a great example to see how these racist images have permeated media culture enough that it’s now seen as a standard of beauty.
    In regards to the women being harassed at the Puerto Rican Day Parade, those men need to be arrested. Personally I don’t see the problem with men trying to introduce themselves to a beautiful woman on the street but when speech is replaced with physical harassment that officially crosses the line. I think it’s sad some men don’t see what is wrong with pouring champagne on a woman when it’s unwarranted. But this only shows how entitled patriarchy is. They believe women are their inferiors and significantly remind them when they are in strong numbers. I think it’s sad and it only speaks to the hardships that women face on an everyday basis in this patriarchal ideal that we live in.

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    • Excellent analysis Zach! Although, this discussion in geared towards Black women, we see this has an effect on women of all colors. The women from the PR parade were obviously Latina and those who internalize these stereotypes are men as well as women. The question is how do we combat this ongoing attack of stereotypes. It can’t be just a Lupe Fiasco song or a film like “Beyond the Lights” that looks at the hypersexualization of female singers of color. When we are able to attack this issue in the classroom, in the media and in the home, then we can really rage a war on the these stereotypes.

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  4. What I found most interesting about the presentation was the way in which false beliefs about the black female body have developed a cyclical relationship with the justification of racist acts. For example, images of the “Hottentot Venus”/Saartjie Baartman were used to justify the belief that black women are sexually uncontrollable and, therefore, primitive. These beliefs can be traced to the justification behind the desire to “tame” their “primitive” nature, which aided in the support of slavery.
    Another part of the presentation that I found extremely disturbing was the documentary of the Puerto Rican Day Parade and the Seattle Parade. Personally, I found it difficult to watch women being assaulted in broad daylight with seemingly no help from any bystanders or law enforcement. Additionally, though the woman in the photo from the Seattle Mardi Gras festival wasn’t named, it still seems like a violation of her privacy to not only display that photo, but to give the photographer an award. It’s important to make sexual assault known and highlight the heinousness of it, but not at the expense of taking away the victim’s privacy.

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    • Olivia, good point regarding the images of the “Hottentot Venus”/Saartjie Baartman. As oppose to a physical slavery, we as consumers of these images are experiencing a form of mental slavery. And yes, both videos were extremely disturbing and a better effort should have been made to protect the privacy of the victims.

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  5. It’s rather important of the knowledge of Sarah Baartman not only in college, but also in classes while being in high school and even lower ( middle school classes) I fail to see how this system is not teaching, truly over the knowledge of figures like this, who ultimately suffered in high consequence over the lack of knowledge over the more ‘dominant’ race. It infuriates me to see that this women, was mutilated, used and ultimately watched as a puppet for traits that today, people of our own culture praise and give it their love towards. I say that this is needed because it would truly show the face of how humanity despite it’s process, it shows the ugly truth that people who where different had to go through.

    Also, it was really interesting how he puts an image of Beyonce and adds ” Where is the line between owning your sexuality and letting others explore it” and in a sense, although I am all for Beyonce’s movement, I do see the connections of the usage of body exploitation, and how it has moved from one to the other. I want to ask to anyone else who might be posting in this post, what is your answer of such question, and how do we clear this out for future generations to see this pattern?

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    • Totally agree that “Hottentot Venus”/Saartjie Baartman should be taught in middle and high schools. It should be part of an expanding media literacy program taught to youth that starts with her and then to current stereotypes and challenging images.

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  6. Zachary, I really like and agree your comment especially the part about the media creating a modern image of Baartman, that previously held racist implications, and having it represented as a new form of beauty. I just find it interesting how Baartman’s physique, once ridiculed and put on display for its “abnormality”, has somehow become the desired features of many men and even women today. It’s like these qualities were not good until they were seen or placed on a non-black person. Overall, this presentation highlighted how much power and influence media and its representations have on people of society’s perceptions and moral values. In regards to parade video, I share similar sentiments as you all have expressed. I also agree that there needs to be more positive depictions of black women like the spoken word video in the presentation.

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    • Good point about how on Barrtman’s physiue is now valued and admired. Latesha, as a young black woman, how would like to be portrayed in the media? What images do you think best portray someone of your educational and professional aspirations. Do you feel like the media represents you at all?

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  7. As I read the information behind Sarah Baartman I was very disappointed and appalled at the fact that something as serious and important in African American history was never taught to me in high school. The same thing goes with Black Face. The Black community, still to date, has suffered so much throughout our history yet we don’t hear about concrete events and icons until we reach college which is a really sad realization. To know what this woman went through and then to have black women today show up in music videos stripped of their clothes and sending out messages to the younger generations of black women is just passing the insecurities and embarrassment from one point of history to another. The young black females who watch these videos realize that the do not have the kinds of bodies they see in these videos and they either begin to have low self-esteem or adjust their bodies in a way that makes them feel free to strip off their clothes as well and allow men to degrade them because that is exactly what the images in these videos show.
    I am bringing up a lessen taught to me in my Gender Studies class as a connection I made while watching the video of females being exploited in the Puerto Rican Day Parade and Mardi Gras. The photo of the woman being stripped and passed around in Mardi Gras was very disturbing for me to see and I ironically connected it to women in China. The beads we see being thrown at topless women in Mardi Gras were actually made in China by female factory workers and a few male factory workers who do the more strenuous work. These workers get payed at a rate of 10 cents an hour and the males and females sleep in separate compounds designed inside something that looks a lot like a concentration camp. The men and women are forbidden from having any contact or relations and these workers respect the rules because they rely on the money they make in order to survive and send to their families. So while this is happening back in China, women in Mardi Gras festivals are either stripping down for these beads, or are being sexually assaulted and stripped of not only their clothes, but they dignity.

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    • Stephanie, excellent connection of looking at the exploitation of women in the workforce and in our various local communities! In addition, we as Americans pretend to be more advanced and sophisticated and yet still treat women no better than women in a so-called third world nation.

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  8. I didn’t know until I read the presentation on primitive stereotype of black female body. I remember during my first year in high school, when my black female classmates were mocked as “sexy, hot, booty call” because they had large buttocks. I was new in high school so, I couldn’t rationalize the correlation between their physical attributes and sexuality. This article conclusively sums up how “Sarah Baartman” stereotype has been impacting the modern culture. Lot of this stereotype comes from the celebrities who are not setting up good example rather boosting the stereotype. For example, Kim Kardashian, who does not have good public image yet still has followers and succeeds to spark their sexuality through public medium. I believe, such display of physical sexuality sets a sex symbol for society without realizing that they are violating the black women’s private space as well.

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    • Sanam, I’m not surprised that the young women in your class were sterotyped in that manner. I think the stereotypes go way beyond celebrities. These images as you can see from “Hottentot Venus”/Saartjie Baartman were designed in the early history of this country to control and manage how Black women, in particular, were to be viewed and treated as sexual objects. When we look at the majority, if not all the women on the films we saw, had some sort of hypersexual or overt sexual behavior. These images have existed for over two hundred years and unfortunately not going anywhere anytime soon.

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  9. This presentation was very disheartening for me because I realized that sexualized images of black women DO affect how black women lead their sexual lives. With our high rates of STDs, teen pregnancy and out of wedlock births, I shouldn’t be surprised but it still came as a surprise. What really had me upset and disturbed was the video on the Puerto Rican Day Parade and how all these men were imitating that music video throwing water on the women and touching their bodies. Also the Seattle parade and all those men touching the naked woman’s body. What disturbed me most is that it was CLEAR that these women were not enjoying this treatment but the men continued to do what they did. While I am a big supporter of sexuality and sexual liberation, especially of that of the black female body, where can the line be drawn between sexual liberation and sexual exploitation and degradation? I agree that there should be more positive images of black women put out there for the sake of young black women and girls, but also for the sake of young black boys and men because they usually become a part of our sexual and romantic lives. How are they gonna see us as love objects, if the image they see of black women are usually sexual ones? And how are black girls and women suppose to know that they are more than their sexuality and physical attributes when we’ve internalized these images of ourselves? I think part of the solution is learning the history of black women such as Baartman and how that sexualized image of the black woman has evolved today. And also, when black men and women learn the true history of their ancestors before slavery and colonization, we will be able to see ourselves in a different light and realize that our history does NOT start at slavery, and that we are NOT what others say that we are.

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    • Chanell, I agree the video footage is very disturbing and shows there are very serious social implications to the stereotypes created by others and perpetrated women as well. I also agree that women of color need positive images but I think men need them too, maybe even more than women. Great comments

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  10. It is eye opening to see the long term effects black female stereotypes portrayed in the media have created.Such stereotypes affect the lives of many women as ones self perception is negatively molded. This affects ones sexual behavior, resulting in an increase in sexual transmitted diseases as well as other negative factors such as drug/alcohol abuse. The media which holds the power to create and enforce social standards within the relationship of women and men can positively change the patriarchal standard we live in today. This can be achieved as the presentation stated participation by individuals who can speak about issues and create a new norm.
    As far as the puerto rican parade video shown, this reflects the reality of not only what black female women are facing but women as a whole. To think that a mere parade can bring forth such brutal and disgusting acts is barbaric and immoral. Sexuality within the black and latino culture oppresses women as well as praises a hypersexualised standard figure.

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    • Very well said. You make some interesting observations about the connection to these images and negative sexual behavior. Again, it shows the depth of the social implication of these images which as we can see go beyond black women

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  11. I agree with all that was stated above and I totally agree that media is keeping up with these stereotypes but yet fail to realize how much it’s corrupting our brothers and sisters. I am very pleased to see that this power point incorporated Sara Baartman as well as the history of how Black Women developed the names “freaks, gold diggers, divas and baby mommas”. Sara Baartman was a representation of a freak Object. Even after her death her sexual Organs were displayed. While Media has a huge impact on society it also affects their decision making – Which shouldn’t be surprising. Nothing surprises me especially knowing that the rate for STD and STI’s are high in the ages of 14-18. While on your social media pages you see young females participating in sexual acts and being exposed. People would of course comment negatively but what about when a celebrity sex tape gets leaked? It’s a different feedback. The video Fantasy v Reality is my point exactly! In the Fantasy world men pouring liquor on women, slapping their butts, but the parade in Central park men were doing the same thing in the video but yet no one complains about the messages the video is sending to society. Media has misled males into thinking things like that are okay when in reality it’s not. Media creates this “fantasy world” where sexual harassment occurs, and sadly it’s over-look because it’s displayed EVERYDAY as something acceptable. Lastly, the video 10 Things I Want to Say to Black Women should be one of BET commercials! It talks about how uplifting you should feel about being Black.

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    • Shavonn, Karen made a similar observation about how these images have a direct connection to the increase of sexually transmitted diseases. You also made a good point about how these images and stereotypes create a false fantasy world where its okay to sexually harass women. You mentioned BET, which I think unfortunately helps contribute to these current negative stereotypes along with VH1. There appears to be no value for them to promote uplifting images although there are some moments of change.

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  12. The first thing I have to comment on is the history behind the way Black women were being showed as freaks. I believe that because of the empowerment of slavery any black female is seen as a freak or if not a freak then a sexual object. Black women being used as sex objects gives them the idea that if they are only seen as a sex object then why not enact in a life like this since it is all they know in the sense. I believe the past determines the future quite indeed 100%. I agree with everyone else in the true fact that the media determines how we see everything and determines the titles we should give everybody. For example, as Shavonn said we have multiple names for the black female and not even the black female but also the hispanic female. The video which i saw degraded all types of women because it shows that people do indeed act on what they see on television or videos, which to me is killing the sense we having and giving more strength to the stereotypes we know. The Puerto Rican women being sexually assaulted made me say that everybody is in this fantasy world with no limitations in disrespecting women. Music videos portray the black and hispanic female majority of the time as a jezebel or a video vixen which i believe is the only way rappers see women. In slavery times black women had to see the separation in race but now i think the separation of sex is the main problem in media. My comment to the video of men imitating the music videos is DON’T IMITATE EVERYTHING YOU SEE ON T.V.

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    • Maximo, glad you are reading other comments and noting what your classmates are saying. You made similiar comments that others have made but your thoughts on how slavery has played a role is important in understanding the long history of these images and they build into stereotypes that are common in media now.

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  13. I really took to the picture of Beyonce and it says where is the line between having agency and and being exploited. It has to be considered that Black women are displayed more physically then anything else. I think Maximo makes a good point with how they were treated during slavery. The thing about slavery is the lingering factors exhibited by black culture since the abolition of slavery. Alot of these hanging pieces dominate black culture such as men being barbaric creatures who lack human mannerism and black women constantly looked upon sexually more over. The constant reinforcement of these stereotypes are constantly in film. Black men displayed often as thugs and petty ones at that. Black women as prostitutes or welfare queens and who can use their body at point as if it holds a weight of power on a man. Therefore the are seen as unattractive, un-lady like and sexually deviant. I think about Halle Berry in Monsters Ball and that was clearly a matter of someone being exploited. And while we are on the subject of Halle Berry, i see her has a black celebrity that has consistantly been sexually exploited. Where as Beyonce on the other hand, i feel like at first she was exploited but i feel that she owns her own agency and i know many of you will disagree with me on cause it is easy to ignore the amount of control she does have when it comes to her career.

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    • Chris, you make a good observation that these images have a great impact on Black men as well as women. Also, great that you are incorporating the reading and class discussions as well into you’re posting. We dont’ think about it but when see these hypersexual images of women, they are viewed as unattractive and unfeminine .

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  14. Personally, I was sick watching that documentary and a agree with Korede. It feels like the same message being repeated over and over. Combined with Lupe’s video “Bad Bitch”, I feel that a lot of the issues we see with the sexualization of Black women’s bodies are being blamed on video culture. But the thing is that people are consuming this and that’s why they are producing these images. I personally believe that we need to actively dismantle the sexist thinking of adults for lack of a better word. I think this method will help in some aspects but we need to focus on the younger generation, like in Lupe’s message. It is the younger generation who will determine the norms and what’s acceptable. If we teach these young kids that they are worthy and do not need to pander to a male gaze, I do believe that we will see change. For now, people will continue to see the Black female body as sexaully aviable in no matter what she is doing. I can recall numerous times where I have been harassed when I was dressed in dirty bagging jeans, scuffed sneakers, cornrows and a mean face. They see any black body as sexually deviant and available.

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    • Good point about how we need to make sure we are training the next generation by teaching the necessary skills they need to read the media and understand healthy images versus bad images.

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