Term Paper: Women the Impact of Slavery

Pages: 10 (3118 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Black Studies  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] (Molloy) The study found that African-American Women and Caucasian women have a different perception of what overweight means. The study found that African-American Women are quite often around people that are overweight which changes the perception of what overweight people look like. (Molloy)

Another article entitled, "Denying Diversity: Perceptions of Beauty and Social Comparison Processes among Latina, Black, and White Women," explains further the perception of body image that is projected by African-American Women. This particular article points to research that suggest that the African-American view of beauty is not only found in the way that a person looks but also in their personality. (Poran) The article describes the results of a study involving Black teenage girls and White teenage girls. This study found that,

Using an ethnographic method they found striking differences between African-American and European-American girls' conceptions and experiences of beauty. European-American adolescents' conceptions of beauty were much more rigid, fixed, and uniform than those of African-Americans, who were much more flexible and fluid in their notions of beauty. The African-American girls' perceptions of beauty focused on personality traits and a personal sense of style, rather than a certain "look." Over 63% of the African-American girls in the study believed that beauty meant having the right "attitude" and personality. In addition, the African-American participants were much more likely to be satisfied with their weight and appearance than were European-American participants: 70% of the African-American participants were satisfied with their weight, whereas 90% of the European participants were dissatisfied.(Poran)

The article also points to studies that suggest that the support that African-American women received from their community and other African-American community contributes to feeling of good self-esteem. Likewise, the compliments and feedback that fuller figured African-American Women received for their community and family members aids African-Americans in excepting their bodies and self-esteem. (Poran)Additionally the studies also found that African-American girls had more support from their peers than their white counterparts. (Poran)

All of this evidence suggests that slavery definitely impacted body image and the self-esteem of African-American females. The segregated conditions of slavery contributed to the development of a strong Black community. This community exists in parts (based on the region of the country) and as a whole entity within America. The African-American culture is vitally important to the Black woman's perception of self and the boy image that she has.

African-American Women in the Media

African-American Women are often betrayed in a negative manner by the media. She has often been viewed as being the mammy, domineering, rude and abrasive. An article in the Western Journal of Black studies explains that,

Black women are perceived negatively in this country. Media portrayals depicting black women as being unattractive, overhearing, loud, evil, spiteful and sexually promiscuous have successfully dominated the American psyche, making it extremely difficult for black women to develop and/or maintain positive self-concepts or respect from others."(Hamlet)

In this present day and age the negative portrayals of black women in the media still exists. The ironic thing is that many of these negative portrayals are propagated by the so called "Black Shows." Some of these shows have domineering characters or characters that appear to be intellectually inferior. On the other hand, some of these negative images are being balanced by more positive images of Black women.

Black women in the media not only pertain to television shows and the movies but also to magazines and other forms of print media. An article entitled, "Colorism of Black Women in News Editorial Photos," asserts that African-American models are less desirable to the media than Caucasian models. The article explains, "Most media studies that investigate the colorism phenomenon have focused on advertising content and have concluded that typically Eurocentric-looking black models are more popular than typically Afrocentric-looking black models." (Fears)

The author of the article suggests that this favoritism has been created by colorism. Colorism is the process by which people choose to only like Blacks that have light skin and more European features and tend to reject individuals with dark skinned with more Afro centric features. (Fears) Colorism and the Black woman are portrayed in a myriad of ways including the news media and advertisement campaigns. The article suggest that, "black women have been portrayed in advertisements mainly in one of two character extremes -- the gifted black woman, for example, seen as a singer or dancer; or as the dependable, faithful mother who usually is obese, matronly, and always serving her family in one or more domestic roles." (Fears)

Various studies also suggest that African-American Women that are seen in advertising campaigns usually have lighter complexions and European features. (Fears) They also suggest that when a black man and woman are in an advertisement together, the woman is always lighter than the man. (Fears)Dark skin on an African-American woman tends to be perceived as less attractive. (Fears)

Indeed the media has portrayed African-American women in a very negative light. Most often the manner in which African-American women are betrayed is based on the stereo types that people believe are true. Although some strides have been made in the elimination of these stereo types in the media, there is still a need to improve the image of the African-American' women in the media.

Conclusion and discussion

The purpose of this discussion was to explore how the experience of slavery shaped the development of African-American women's sexual identity and self-esteem. We found that slavery created a society in which men were promiscuous with their sexuality and women became more casual with their sexuality. In addition, we found that the constant rape of women during and after the middle passage attributed greatly to notions of sexuality among African-American Women.

Our investigation also asserted that the self-esteem of African-American women is higher than that of Caucasion women. Our investigation found that the systemic nature of slavery created an environment in which African-American slave created strong bonds and even stronger communities. These strong communities have created a strong sense of self and beauty amongst African-American women. We also pointed out that African-Americans teenage girls get more peer support than do their white counterparts.

Finally, we examined how the larger American public views and portrays black women in the media. Our investigation asserts that many African-American women are portrayed in a negative light on television. We also found that colorism is a major issue in the world of advertising.

Our research explains that most ads contain more women who are light skinned with European features as opposed to containing dark skinned women who have afro centric features. Lastly we concluded that the manner in which Black women are portrayed on television must be changed.

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Wilson, James Q. "Slavery and the Black Family." Public Interest… [END OF PREVIEW]

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