Research Blog Assignment # 6.

Mowatt, Rasul A., Bryana H. French, and Dominique A. Malbranche. “Black/Female/Body Hypervisibility and Invisibility: A Black Feminist Augmentation of Feminist Leisure Research.”Journal of Leisure Research 45.5 (2013): 644-60. EBSCO Host. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

From the Journal of Leisure Research, this piece on “Black/Female/Body Hypervisibilty and Invisibility: A Black Feminist Augmentation of Feminist Leisure Research” by Mowatt, French, Malbranche, proposes two concepts for Black feminist analysis of visibility and hypervisbility; with hypervisibilty in body politics, black women are represented in stereotyped and commodified ways through-out leisure spaces and scholarship. (Mowatt, French, Malbranche, 645) The main focus of this assignment is centered around “Hypervisibility-The Body Politics of Black Women”. It provides the reader with explanations of stereotypical images that constrict Black womanhood alongside psychosocial implications of these stereotypical representations.

Beginning the explanation of  the section: “Context of Black Women’s Bodies” with reference to Sara Baartman, a South African woman who lived in the 1800’s, who was placed on display throughout London and Paris to expose the black female body, this became the pinpoint of historical context for Black Women’s bodies as “hypersexualized spectacles for consumption”. (Mowatt, French, Malbranche, 650) With reference to this historical representation, the authors then go onto highlight the three main stereotypes of black women in literature.

The first stereotype is Jezebel.  The hypersexualized, manipulative, animalistic, promiscuous black woman, who cannot be controlled. This representation includes light skin, long hair, shapely body who’s sexuality revolves to attain attention, love and material goods. (Mowatt, French, Malbranche, 650) This stereotype is used to “justify rape and sexual exploitation” and that she is always looking for, wanting and ready for sex. This also introduces the term (Commercialized Sexual Exploitation/CSE)…a pervasive form of sexual violence and exploitation for the black woman experience. (Mowatt, French, Malbranche, 650) CSE, promotes the racial-sexualization and stereotyping of black women, through the mainstream media as over-sexed and available for prostitution.

The second stereotype is The Mammy. Depicted as dark-skinned, large framed, asexual Black woman as a domestic servant for white slave owners/employers of the post-emancipation era. (Mowatt, French, Malbranche, 650) She is barely recognized as a woman, seen as non-threatening and always places the needs of others first before herself. This section also brings to the discussion of the body image self-identification of black women versus white women. That black women, with higher BMI are shown to have lower body satisfaction but greater satisfaction with particular body parts. (Mowatt, French, Malbranche, 651)

The third stereotype is The Angry Black Woman/ Sapphire. Depicted as unintelligent, aggressive, domineering, emasculating, behaving in loud and offensive ways. (Mowatt, French, Malbranche, 652) When this stereotype of a black woman voices their opinion about issues, these women are seen as trouble makers.

The projections and explanations of these three stereotypes is seen on a mass-scale of societal internalization for black women. Leading to lower levels of self-esteem and negative validation of their image.  Alongside, contributing to many anxiety-filled reactions towards the self. (Mowatt, French, Malbranche, 652)



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