We all love a good laugh. We love to laugh at social media posts, films, TV, and each other. But when it comes to Black women, it seems that instead of laughing with us, a lot of people laugh at us. Humiliating black women has become common place in modern comedy. To make it worse, these false depictions usually come from Black men. What are Black women to say or do when even people within their own community devalue their image throughout the media.
In this article, we will discuss some of the most well-known stereotypical depictions of Black women that have gone on to hurt Black women as a collective by increasing prejudice against us.
Movies and TV
There are countless examples of humiliating Black female depictions in movies and TV. A recent example can be found in the 2019 Netflix movie Sextuplets. This movie stars Marlon Waynes in six different roles as six different siblings who reconnect in a wildly funny journey. The only thing is though that one of his characters is a Black woman who he dresses up to. This Black woman is all of the bad stereotypes surrounding Black women wrapped into one. She is violent, she is promiscuous, she is irresponsible, and she holds features that are typically seen as unattractive in Black women.
A multitude of television shows from the last several decades does this to Black women too. Shows like Martin, Key and Peele, and more have showcased Black women in the worst light possible to get a few laughs from both Black and non-Black audiences. I recall one episode specifically from Key and Peele where Kegan Michael Key dresses up as a Black woman at a yogurt shop. She is purposely overweight, which is another stereotype put on us to imply that we don’t know how to take care of our bodies.
This is not only humiliating, but it is dehumanizing to depict Black women the way they do. The worst part of it is that no one is doing anything about it either. But this is normal because there are countless other horrible things that aren’t called out such as the Netflix film Cuties, which is very controversial.
Vine And Social Media Platforms
Most young people today remember the app Vine and how influential it was on our generation. It was a social media app similar to TicToc today. On it, people could make short videos and post them to their page for them to gain views and followers. During that time, many male influencers rose to fame, specifically Black male influencers. You might have heard of some such as Blame it on Kway and Young Pappy. These were two prominent figures on Vine and on social media platforms who humiliated Black women. Today, they still dress as Black women to make fun of us all the while existing in the same race as us. To them, making fun of us is hilarious and millions of their followers agree. They encouraged the humiliation of this group for the audiences of other races and profited enormously off of it.
The Vines of yesteryear are the same Vines that have gone on to hurt thousands of Black women today. They perpetuate stereotypes such as us being violent, angry, lazy, and irresponsible.
Why Are These Stereotypes Dangerous?
Black women have historically been perceived as unfeminine. Throughout history, this has implicitly encouraged the maltreatment of Black women in comparison to other groups of people of the same gender. This causes people to view Black women as more masculine. This perception of masculinity has portrayed Black women as violent, irrational, and undeserving of things such as respect in the workplace and in public.
When we are seen like this it increases our chances of being criticized harshly as women.
This is because in people’s minds we already stray so far away from what a woman should be and how a woman should conduct herself. Today, Black women have to follow strict rules when existing in public because of these stereotypes.
In all honesty, there are just some things that other races of women can do that Black women cannot.
A good example is how all women wear hair extensions, wigs, and hairpieces. It is 2021, and that is just normal accessory women tend to use to enhance their looks some days. However, we constantly face criticism for wearing wigs, frontals, and sew-ins and society calls us less feminine for doing so because it isn’t a part of our natural feminine features. In the same breath, these people will criticize Black women for our natural hair as well. So, which is? Should we or should we not accessorize our hair? It’s basically a double-edged sword because we’ll receive backlash either way.
On the other hand, other races of women can wear hair extensions and not face condemnation at all while still being able to be what society considers feminine women with “natural beauty”. Pretty hypocritical, right?
Another example of rules that Black women have to follow that other races of people of the same gender don’t also extend to what clothes we wear.
Believe it or not, Black women face attacks for what we decide to put on our bodies.
If a Black woman were to wear a beautiful body-con dress that went to her knees, she would still be criticized for wearing something inappropriate because of how the dress may display her curves. If a non-Black woman were to do the same thing, she would be beautiful and elegant in other people’s minds.
This goes into a bigger problem of society policing Black women’s bodies. It just seems to me that whatever a Black woman may wear is not good enough unless it covers her completely as if to say our bodies are not appropriate and that it is dangerous for people to look at us. This is obviously a lie that society perpetuates every time a person criticizes a Black woman for wearing something very similar to her non-Black counterpart, but somehow gets backlash for it.
Humiliating Black Women Does Damage
These are just two examples of how humiliating Black women and perpetuate stereotypes that depict us as unfeminine creates stricter conditions in which we must exist to counter these stereotypes. This is not how anyone should live and people should be more mindful of the stereotypes they encourage by liking these social media clips or paying to see a movie. In these ways, you are perpetuating this behavior, which is not okay. It’s 2021 and we should all do better.
Do you want to learn more about what’s considered entertainment today?