Images highlighted and reflected in the media have the power to teach and show us many different things. In a subtle way of corse, certain media portrayals of people or groups of people seen in films, television, and print have permeating effect within society and over time can mold the way we think about people.
In the past 60 years African-Americans have become more visible in contemporary media, however black women especially, seem to have fallen into certain type casts that are consistently revisited and grossly over represented as portrayals of black women.
Named after an evil queen in the bible, is a loose woman with constant sexual desires. Uses sex to get what she wants, often for money. Many refer to Halle Berry’s role in “Monster’s Ball” as a prime example of this. Reality tv relies heavily on this type of portrayal.
The Sapphire type always seem to have her hands on her hips, while she’s running her mouth. She can be over-bearing, hard, and undesirable. A memorable version of this character, Tichina Arnold who played Pam from Martin who played the same type role in Everybody Hates Chris. Statefarm Commercial.
The mammy stereotype is the longest running type cast for black women. Dating back to the 1800s, the Mammy type is a black woman depicted as rotund, homely and matronly. Middle-aged and undesirable, Often portraying a domestic servant. A old film example would be “Mammy” from Gone with the Wind.
1. Why are these symbolic and material representations of black women so common? Do you think any other group of people is type casted in this manner?
2. Despite the obvious racial connotations of these images, how or why do they work? (Madea/Tyler Perry is very popular. Aunt Jemima still thriving. Reality TV. Popeyes ads. etc.)