Gold Diggers, Jezebels And Baby Mamas
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Politics and Activism

Gold Diggers, Jezebels And Baby Mamas

Portrayals of Black Women in the Media.

19
Gold Diggers, Jezebels And Baby Mamas
Wallpaper Cave

Author Junot Diaz states, "You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, 'Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?'"

Images of black women in the media still only seem to scratch the surface. Women, not just black women, have so much influence. It's our responsibility to change the narrative. Contrary to popular belief, we are not all basketball wives or aspiring female rappers. We are not the stereotypes that society has created to marginalize us. What does it take to create a sympathetic black female lead character? She has to be illiterate, or super poor , a product of her environment; essentially a victim... The classic cautionary tale and the answer to why we're so mad and defensive all the time.

In a recent study Essence Magazine surveyed 1,200 women about the images of black women in media and found that respondents felt the images were “overwhelmingly negative.” Elite performers such as ballet star Misty Copeland have broken ground in recent years, but even so, black roles are more often limited to one-dimensional stereotypes or eliminated from the picture altogether.

We have to ask ourselves how do we alter the images of black women in the media. We've sat around for far too long and been upset over the stereotypes we fall into, but we never do anything about it. We cannot continue to boost ratings of these "overwhelmingly negative" portrayals for the sake of entertainment purposes. After the shows end we often find ourselves chatting with our girls about how black woken simply do not act like in real life.

  1. Put black women behind the camera, this will change the images in front of the camera
  2. Write our own stories that accurately represent the diversity of the black girl or woman
  3. Demand image change: Hollywood keeps giving us this because we watch it. We feed into these overwhelmingly negative images of black women. As long as ratings remain high, so will these stereotypical portrayals of black women. Let's ask for less Mona Scott Young and more Shonda Rhimes.

We need more black writers, black artists ,black doctors, black actors, etc. Regardless of your pursuits, your craft is appreciated. Keep working.

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