Controlling Images of Black Womanhood

621 WordsFeb 19, 20182 Pages
In Patricia Hill Collins’ “Mammies, Matriarchs, and Other Controlling Images,” she illustrates four main stereotypes that Black women face. The first controlling image applied to African American women is “The Mammy.” The mammy is the faithful, obedient servant to the white family and the stereotype attempts to hide the fact that black women who work for white families are being exploited. By loving and caring for her white “children” more than her own, the mammy symbolizes the dominant group’s perceptions of the ideal black female relationship to elite white male power. The smiling mammy signals her agreement with the situation, seemingly accepting her subordination (Collins, 71). Next is the image of the Black matriarch (Collins, 73). According to the stereotype, they spend too much time away from home, are overly aggressive and unfeminine, and allegedly emasculate their lovers and husbands. This stereotype attempts to control conduct by punishing black women for assertiveness and hides the oppression by making it seem that black women are naturally this way (Collins, 74-75). The third controlling image of Black womanhood is that of the welfare mother, which is linked to Black women’s increasing dependence on the welfare state (Collins, 76). This time, the punishment is for failing to work. Rather than being a bad mother for deserting the children, now the concern is being with the children too much and not working. Again, by pinpointing the Welfare Mother as the cause,
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