The Misrepresentation of Black Women


During the last few months in my women's studies class (s/o to Dr.Evans) we were asked to pick a topic that felt close to home. The topic I picked you're probably wondering why it's The misrepresentation of Black women in the media. Although we've done so much and have progressed so far, we still have many obstacles to face in front of us. To MISREPRESENT means you're giving or misleading account of something.

Here are a few of the most notable ways that black women have misrepresented:

1) Music videos / video vixen / over-sexualized


Y'all remember back in the early 2000s when video vixens were a major music video element? Well, those concepts still play a role today. Black women are plagued with the idea that we aren't good for anything besides our curves, never our actual appearance. Black Women are belittled or compared quite often with quotes like "white girls evolving, bye black girls". We are taught through misogynistic thoughts in lyrics and video presentations. For example: let's take the video Tip Drill by Nelly. I remember watching this video on MTV after dark because it was so raunchy, a video with nothing but oiled up black Women being touched on, even credit cards getting swiped in places the sun don't shine ( not even kidding watch the video). 

2) White feminist lack of understanding 

Y'all remember the women's match article I wrote a while back? Well, we're back on it. When it comes to misrepresenting black Women, Caucasians sure take the cake. In a match used to represent the empowerment of women of all colors, shapes, and sizes... the white feminist down the block did not play their role... some even took pictures with police officers who were mocking the entire event. As long as white women issues get fixed, black feminist issues stay the same because they're complacent, now check that. In a quote from professor Brittany Cooper, " Many white people feel that this term [racism] is used too haphazardly and that being called racist is a silencing tactic deployed by hypersensitive people of color who don't want to move on from the past", in other words...if it's not affecting me, I don't give a damn.

3) Movies

The concept of us being misrepresented in movies is not a new concept, it stems back to the days of the "Mamie/nanny role". That role also relates to the "it must be your a** cause it ain't your face" concept but it also does much more. Why are black people included in movies only to be the comic relief character? How come in a movie based in Egypt, kings, and queens are played by Caucasians while black people are played as slaves? Hell, why aren't black movies based on history not coming out UNLESS we're slaves? The industry doesn't want to witness talented black creators, they want us to sit on our bubble and be quiet, something I can no longer stand for because this is the industry I hope to enter.

4) Angry / Ghetto 

There is a constant stereotype that black Women are always angry, loud or ghetto, this is something I dealt with coming from Ashburn, Virginia especially. When a black woman speaks her mind, she's angry, when she argues with a man she's repulsive. Latina women ( for example ) however, are viewed as sexy if they argue in Spanish. A black woman can't even clap her hands together without someone assuming something bad is about to happen.

5)Product placement 

In the early 1940s, Kenneth and Mamie Clark conducted the doll test, an experiment used in the segregation error to see how the effects of the time period subliminally played a role with children. In 2012, the experiment was recreated (you can actually find it on YouTube). The video depicts a group of children that have a white and black toy doll in front of them, most of the children chose the white doll, and here were some of the responses when asked: "Why did you choose that doll?"

  • - the white doll is clean
  • - the white doll has prettier hair
  • - the black doll is dirty
  • - the black doll looks angry
  • - the white doll looks happy 

[ A link to the doll test video: ]

In Conclusion...

In what ways can we help correct this issue after reading such an article?

It begins with you, it begins with expressing the results of black misrepresentation, it begins at your University. While it may seem like this is an issue that isn't going to be fixed even if you do play a role in it, one small step can lead to an entire crowd. As a non-woman of color reading this article [if that happens], I'm sure you're wondering what you can do to fix this issue on your end. Well to begin, don't stand by while your fellow women are being dragged, know how to care for more problematic situations other than your own. As a musical artist, take into account that your words have an impact, it is common that in this generation women are called out of their names as if it's acceptable. While your song may be catchy, understand the long-lasting effects of your words. Parents, teach your daughters to love themselves, teach your daughter that she has more value outside of her body and that she is beautiful regardless. Teach yourself to not be afraid of being "loud/ghetto", black women are the original carefree girls, own that. Overall...

 Love yourself, own yourself in whatever ways that may be.