Essay on Image of African American Women

Good Essays

Image of African American Women Despite the strong presence of the beautiful, powerful, black women in the media, such as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Beyoncé Knowles, African American females have been deemed unattractive in society’s eyes. These notions did not develop overnight, but remain as obstacles birthed from slavery. These stereotypes keep the black female incarcerated under the belief that they are not beautiful. However, black women have fought and are fighting these harmful perceptions in many different ways. My project will focus on two artists in particular, Maya Angelou and Kara Walker. I will look at three poems of Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Women, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Still I Rise while examining …show more content…

Black female entertainers avoided form fitting gowns while performing in order to gain respect as African American women (Feldstein 27). They utilized their natural hair to confront and denounce the negative and false presumptions regarding the black image (Feldstein 27). Black female artists wanted their audience to recognize that they were black women in order to break the racially barriers, disassemble the erroneous portrayals, and reconstruct the black image (Feldstein 27). After review the past actions, I will assess the actions that are being taken currently. Tal Dekel’s, In Sex, Race, and Gender: Contemporary Women Artists of Color, the Case of Kara Walker, focuses on the black females’ sexuality and how an African American artist, Kara Walker, works to remodel the image of black women and the black community as a whole. Historically, back in 19th century colonialism, black women were depicted as overtly sexual shameless creatures, leading to the denial of their own sexuality and the distortion of the African American female image (Dekel 83). Kara Walker uses graphic images in her artwork to emphasize how African American women are wrongly eroticized into characters of sexual value only (Dekel 84). She recreates these stereotypes of the past and provides a visual image of the foundation of these stereotypes in order to break down that same foundation (Dekel 85). The writings of Patton and Dekel are all similar on their arguments

Get Access