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The Sexualization of Black Women

Ever since the American days of slavery, black women have been portraited as sexual objects in the eyes of every single human being who wants to pay attention.

Over the decades and along with the appearance of media, women of color have been gradually over-sexualized. Although this has been an issue that they have to battle with almost every day, within the past few years, this process of objectifying has slowly decreased, meaning only that it is not as bad as it was in the times when women, in general, had no rights.

The media, however, has given people full freedom to do whatever they want, one of those many things being literally sexualizing and harassing black women who are just as normal as every other person who lives on this planet.

Now, I think we can all agree that this whole perception doesn’t necessarily come just from men. I bet we’ve all lived through the scenario where a girl has told us something meaningful about the way we looked on a certain day or about the way we talk or the way we dress.

It didn’t matter if it was a statement or a question like: “Why do you have that mark on your hand? Why don’t you shave your legs?”, they all hurt when they were spoken directly in our faces by someone who, if we think about it in retrospect, was just insecure about themselves.

It so happened that the researchers with the Initiative on Gender Justice and Opportunity at Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality have spoken directly to black girls about this problem and they found out that they are simply “forced to deal with harmful perceptions — like that black girls are more mature and less in need of protection than other students — from a young age.

A bunch of countries all around the world would meet the scenario of seeing a girl/women of color on the street and out of the blue just feeling the need to harass, abuse or simply just insult and offend her with words; and if you’d ask them why they did that they would say that because it’s in their blood or because it was just a joke.

A great interpretation of multiple sides of this situation has been given to us in 2018 when the official release of the movie The Hate U Give has been announced. Director and producer George Tillman Jr., told the story of a girl who goes to a predominately white school and has a privileged life while returning from school every day in her predominantly black neighborhood where she felt safe.

The point of the screening was to enhance the idea that we don’t have to categorize people by their skin color. It is known as often one of the easiest ways to do it, but people have become so used to this sort of difference that they made unhealthy habits out of them, leading to objectifying.

The girls interviewed for the Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality have also confirmed that “by and large, the women and girls in the focus groups said that they had a “well, of course” reaction to the 2017 report, confirming that they were often treated more harshly than their white peers and were often accused of having “attitudes” and being “aggressive” when they attempted to defend themselves or explain their points of view to authority figures.”

Often seen as even different body structures, girls and women of color don’t get the same physical and emotional support as white girls do. They are perceived as they would have no need for help and that they can do everything on their own; and while for the white girls the extreme is at the opposite pole, where they are seen as “not strong enough” and in need of severe help, the black girls don’t get enough of it.

On the other hand, even if these actions come and attack the girls at very young ages and affect their mental health and future, black women seem to mediatize it even more by actually doing the job by themselves.

A writer for the Black feminism blog reported that “Black women rappers use their lyrics to promote sexual agency, promote women’s economic independence, and challenge sexual violence. Black women rappers also articulate how structural forces of sexism and racism oppress Black people.”

While the music culture is definitely promoting sexualization in the Black community, it is also telling you a deepened story that you might not look at if a certain part wasn’t uncovered.

You don’t have to go out of your powers to help this overly sexualized situation go away, you just have to comprehend it and learn how to make the people around you that are in it, feel like there is nothing wrong with them or their loved ones.


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