mammy stereotype

anonymous asked:

My protagonist is asexual, and I would like to make them a POC, but I am am under the understanding that the combination is a harmful trope for certain races. Do you have any knowledge of which races this affects, or advice on how to avoid the character being similar to the stereotype, or am I completely misinformed? Thank you!

Asexual Characters of Color & Tropes

I’ve seen it affect East Asian men, because in media they’re often portrayed as the ‘beta male’ who either lose out or have no interest in sex, and if they’re not comic relief, they’re usually geeky retiring types. What you have to remember is that both East Asians and asexual people are both incredibly diverse groups and not a monolith, so do research on both (and how the trope is harmful), and have people from both groups look over your work.

Having said that, East Asian asexuals do exist, and since I’m allosexual, if any of the followers fall into the above category, they are more than welcome to chime in!

—mod Jess

Even if there’s a harmful trope in combination of poc + asexual, which i’m not sure which ones those might be, though the word you might mean is “desexualized” the thing is; there are asexual people in every race. And there’s nothing negative about that.

Now, in relation to Black women, there’s a lot of desexualization of Black women in media, fandom, and life that dates backs to slavery. Think your “mammy” type. Your “Strong Black woman who don’t need no man.” The mammy is a caricature of a Black woman who’s wholly devoted to the White family she cares for, with no sexuality or appeal to tempt the husband, making her the perfect fit. “Strong independent Black women” is another trope dating back to slavery, denying Black women their femininity.

Because women are frail things; how can one submit them to the hard work of a slave? Well, if Black women are something closer/interchangable with a man…then she’s not really a woman at all, thus the justification of Black female slave’s treatment.

How I see the desexualization of Black women played out today is when it’s always a Black women who has to be the “picture of femininity” and remain “strong” and alone while White and Non-Black women are loved, cared for, given a gentle touch. Yet nope, The strong black woman can care for everyone and herself (see how the mammy bleeds into this here) with no need for anyone to think or care for her.

So perhaps a completely “independent woman” is progressive for White women, but not so much Black women and several other WoC, who are often slapped with the friends, or just “bros” roles, and denied tender care or romance in the media we see.

That’s not to say independence is bad on any woman, Black or no, nor that it’s not a reality for some. It’s just a trap to be stuffed into this role every single time. Plus the opposite of independent doesn’t need to be dependent. I think interdependence is key.

I’m not sure what race your main character is, but asexual doesn’t equal incapable of love and friendship or in return being loved and befriended. I suggest staying away from making them a completely self-efficient character who is denied companionship and people who care for them.

Also I’d suggest researching asexuality, preferably pieces written by asexual poc, to get a feel more of how relationships might work out and the representation they’d like to see, as it’ll vary.

~Mod Colette

youtube

3 Black Female Stereotypes that Need to Die | MTV Decoded

Every notice how black women in media tend to looped into a few basic stereotypes? Like get portrayed as the sassy friend who has an instant comeback for everything, or the over-sexualized woman who wants it all the time, or the helpful black maid. Well these stereotypes don’t come from nowhere. And on this episode of Decoded where they come from and explain why they need to be buried good and deep. 

So…it’s really cool that there’s more content in the Rae Sloane tag after Empire’s End, and I get why people are interested in headcanons about her relationship with young Armitage Hux. But, in depicting a black woman taking care of a little white boy, it’s really important to be mindful about how you do that. 

Luckily, there are people on here who’ve spent time on providing some really great advice and resources to help with writing characters of colour and avoiding harmful stereotypes and tropes, such as the folks at writingwithcolor (a blog I’d recommend following if you’re not already!) A few posts that might be particularly relevant:

anonymous asked:

Bad post OP. You're missing the point entirely of the criticisms. While it is nice to go against the hyper femme ideal of Arab women, and it's absolutely wonderful when Fareeha is drawn as muscular and athletic. But there's also a point where drawing Fareeha as muscular crosses into caricature, and so many other P/M artists are guilty of that. The exaggerated hulk Pharah draws parallels with caricatures like the Mammy and Sambo, which are often used to disparage black and brown people.

(2/3) Also, it looks awfully suspicious when it’s the brown girl who always has to be the one who bucks the gender norms, but it’s never the white or pale girl who is depicted that way. It ties into the stereotype that black/brown women are manly and therefore, not worthy of love and admiration the same way white girls are. Don’t get me wrong, I love P/M, but you need to see where the woc who criticize this ship, are coming from on this.            

(3/3) Other than this, I agree with you on the toxic nature of the antis and agree that some of them go way too far and are looking to pick fights as well. But there are some legitimate criticisms within some of the arguments, and they are worth listening to, and examining in order to better improve the community of our ship and to make it welcoming for everyone who loves Phar/Mercy.            

——–

(background: anon is referring to this bad post)

First of all, let’s start at the last part. I would like to point out that is precisely the point I was trying to make. The criticisms do have validity and there are definitely discussions to be had, I just question the intent of some of those voicing them because they don’t seem to want, like you and I, to examine and improve the community but to tear it down. I know it makes me weary as hell and I haven’t ever been a direct target.

Onto your other notes, yes I do actually agree with you that some depictions do take it too far. For instance, giving her animal characteristics whilst Mercy often remains human holds a lot of unfortunate implications. I think the Hulk Pharah phenomenon becomes a problem when that’s all she is, like her personality, her sensitivity, and her passion is reduced to bumbling big non-verbal muscle. That’s just a case of people evaporating her character away for an aesthetic. Sometimes I feel that tumblr can get so caught up getting in on all that Diversity but lack substance so it comes across rather fetishising at times, like eerie empty faces smiling at you in an echo chamber of buzzwords. This is not specific to Pharah and Pharmercy though.

You will have to elaborate on the parallels to the Mammy and Sambo stereotypes for me because while I do know the former is like an often heavyset black woman non-character devoted to white people, I’m not too sure what constitutes the latter.

And yes, I do agree that Pharah does carry more of the burden to be Different. I don’t think it’s a good thing that Mercy does not have any though. Her’s is a different burden. I don’t like a majority of Mercy art because while even though they are technically good, the push to make her pretty and appealing can often take away from substance of character (kind of like the issue I take with Hulk Pharah but in a different direction). I don’t think it’s some kind of aspiration that we want Pharah to be subject to the same type of attention and objectification that Mercy gets. For example, my lovely experience the other day where I had to hear dudes talk about masturbating to her on team chat.

Which brings me to your last point and is the thing that I disagree the most with, of the stereotype of “black/brown women are manly and therefore, not worthy of love and admiration the same way white girls are”. I’ve already noted that I’m skeptical of the quality of the “love and admiration” Mercy gets for being the ow Hot Girl™. I also note in my original Bad Post is that I ofc don’t want this stereotype to be perpetuated - but you seem to have missed the part where I observe that this is not the message accompanied by a lot of these depictions. She is drawn “manly” but the artists often are painting this as something to be desired and admired.

It’s YOUR problem if you see a gender non-conforming woman and decide ah yes here is someone we must ridicule and find gross, this is a woman no one (*cough*no man*cough*) would want. And between you and me and the internet, I’ve had enough of that from my mum. Being a woc doesn’t exempt you from perpetuating patriarchal beauty standards.

I don’t think the most effective way to combat this stereotype is that we must never draw black/brown women as “manly” lest people think they are unlovable, but that we must break the idea that being a “manly” women is something unlovable. Also the idea that being “lovable” (which ngl in this context seems to be shorthand for “desirable by men” bc there’s no shortage of women in fandom lined up to swoon over Handsome Pharah) is something that a woman has to be in the first place.

Overall, I think the best way to move forward from here is to just give more thought to character, to substance, to society and it will show in your art. I don’t want people to shy away from gender non-conforming depictions of Pharah (bar yknow not crossing the line into racist caricature). I don’t think we tackle the restrictions woc have in their depictions by confining them to something else. Instead, I feel the burden should be on the Mercy depictions to become less generic so there isn’t such an undertone of otherness in their contrast.

You’re welcome to disagree with me, but I would appreciate that you posit other solutions to consider to these problems because there’s only so far just pointing out what’s wrong can go.

Subverting the Mammy and Tracing your Logic

Anonymous asked: My black female character raised most of my MCs but she’s beautiful, desirable, was happily married and has her own child who’s her #1 priority. She an aristocrat’s widow so she’s powerful. She’s not the only black woman, I have a few and they’re all different. Am I ok or is the character still offensive? Her being black makes most sense in the context of my world’s interracial relations and also that’s how I imagined her from the start, and I love her. Is it at all possible to subvert Mammy?

Part of the mammy trope is that she is undesirable, nonsexual (so as not to be a threat to the wife), and utterly devoted to the White family and the children she tends to, so you are in some ways subverting it.

I think this character is dynamic enough where she’s her own developed character and isn’t resting too heavily on stereotypes.

However, I’m still very curious why the Black woman ends up being the one to raise your characters. Why? Plus what are their races? 

This is a matter of asking yourself why you imagined the maternal, child-raising character as a Black woman. Black women can be maternal and raise children of course, but it’s wise to trace your logic as literary decisions have a root and you’ll want to be careful of not basing the characters’ race on traits you find “appropriate” due to said race.

~Mod Colette

For Betye Saar, there’s no dwelling on the past; the almost-90-year-old artist has too much future to think about

It began in 1972, with a breakthrough work titled “The Liberation of Aunt Jemima,” a small, shoe box-size assemblage in which she took a stereotypical mammy figurine — and armed her with a rifle and a grenade.

“It’s like they abolished slavery but they kept black people in the kitchen as mammy jars,” Saar says of what drove her to make the piece. “I had this Aunt Jemima, and I wanted to put a rifle and a grenade under her skirts. I wanted to empower her. I wanted to make her a warrior. I wanted people to know that black people wouldn’t be enslaved by that.”  

Over her career, Saar has quietly and firmly built a body of work that touches on the magical, the personal and the political — something she continues to do to this day.

RE: IS RU PAUL’S DRAG RACE RACIST?

So, some of ya’ll white gays are very upset with me and my latest True Tea Video where i answer the question about whether or not RuPaul’s editing/show is anti-black. Now despite the fact that I made a point of saying that I respect Ru for what he’s done and respect Ru for how he’s mainstreamed so many aspects of Gay culture, some of ya’ll are mad. Ya’ll act like I came into your house, slapped your mother and took your daddy into the other room and had loud sex with him with the door open and THEN I ate yo icecream.

So I figured that I would break this down for ya’ll since for some reason it isn’t as obvious to you as it is to me. 

Some of you people only know of RuPaul from Drag Race, and that’s cute for you, I guess. I don’t blame you. In reality, RuPaul didn’t have much cultural relevance at the time of Drag Race’s first season in 2009. So most of ya’ll missed the height of his career and popularity. RuPaul CERTAINLY blazed trails and  was part of the mainstream. However, part of being mainstream is appealing to majority groups and in America, that means engaging in Antiblackness. 

RuPaul is probably best known for his song “Looking Good and Feeling Gorgeous”, but many people might not have seen the music video- so allow me to give you a bit of a break down of it. 

The music video starts with RuPaul dressed in special FX makeup as a large black woman with wild hair, holding a bucket of fried chicken while eating a Banana. in this character, she rants about how she “goes at home at night and cries herself to sleep” because of how ugly she is. She speaks about how she wants to be pretty because she’s “pretty on the inside and wants to be pretty on the outside”. Harmless right? Then she goes on to say that she “wants her nose to look like a Jackson’s” she wants them to “lighten her skin” and to look like “Beyonce”. Now, to the average white consumer these things don’t really sound that out of line. However, within the black community, colorism is a huge issue because of how white supremacy has framed whiteness as a thing to aspire toward. In this segment, RuPaul is embodying a classic blackface stereotype, the Mammy. And RuPaul has a very interesting history with Blackface, but we’ll get to that later. 

In the next scene we see Ru on a Turn table as a dark skinned womanhaving all of her flaws pointed out. Notice her dark skin and her more noticeably natural hair texture. 

After a bit of surgery, Ru Reemerges. 

Instead of a large darkskinned woman, she has now transformed into a tinner woman with lighter skin and blonde hair. 

And her white doctor approves!

Now, this is really just a very light example of what I’m referring to when I discuss RuPaul’s anti-blackness. Yes, plenty of queens of come onto his show and snatched trophies and that’s all good and all, but there are endless examples of anti-blackness on the show. What’s interesting to me is that I’ve seen the show since it’s beginning. I gagged when they referred to season 1 as the “lost” season! I’ve seen the show shift and I’ve seen the show change and I still watch it now mostly out of habit. But as I grew as a person who became more passionate about social issues, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of anti-blackness on the show and more than on the show, within the fanbase. The original question that I received was about the fanbase and less about the show. The fanbase is extremely anti-black and I find that ironic because RuPaul is black. Let me show you a tweet that I saw just yesterday from a former crowned queen. 

In my video, I say that RuPaul feels to me, at times, like a white man in blackface. What do I mean by that? I mean that RuPaul seems to only connect to his blackness through the usage of stereotypes and the expectations that white society has of black people. RuPaul reminds me of that black friend we always hear about when a white people says something hella racist. They’ll never be offended by it or call it out because, after all, it’s just a joke and we should just “get over it bitch”. In this conversation, people are constantly telling me that RuPaul is black so how can he be anti-black. These people are usually white so it doesn’t surprise me how they may not have an insight into this: Anti-blackness among black people is rewarded by mainstream society. When a black celebrity has come out and attacked black movements like Black Lives Matter, how does white society respond? Do they criticize them? Do they argue against them? Do they tell them they’re being disrespectful? No. They CELEBRATE them. And further than that, they use them as tools against black people who are speaking up and fighting against their oppression. So black people can be, and often are, anti-black because it serves them. It’s a way that they can, even if just superficially, get ahead of the game. It allows them to be “not one of those black people”. To be completely transparent here, I know what this feels like because I was one of those people for a very long time in my life. I was a good black girl that wasn’t like the others and it made me feel special to be embraced by white society. And then I woke up and realized that I am a tool for them.

RuPaul is a tool for every white gay person against any time they are ever called out for racism. It’s very telling that the fanbase is so incredibly racist, yet the show is hosted by a black man. Shouldn’t that seem off to you? Shouldn’t that seem strange to you? Do you know why it doesn’t? Because whatever little racism you express, you feel like RuPaul would sign off on it- when in reality he just isn’t calling it out or curving it. But even further, RuPaul has been, like many LGBT people of color, put into this position of feeling like he can only support either the gay community or the black community. Part of that is cosigning on the problematic shit white gays do. 


Meet Shirley Q Liquor

Shirley Q Liquor is one of many blackface characters played by a white man named Chuck Knipp. He has released several songs and you can hear one here. Ru Paul had the following to say about Shirley Q Liquor. 

“Critics who think that Shirley Q. Liquor is offensive are idiots. Listen, I’ve been discriminated against by everybody in the world: gay people, black people, whatever. I know discrimination, I know racism, I know it very intimately. She’s not racist, and if she were, she wouldn’t be on my new CD.”

When she says her CD, she’s referring to a remix of her song Supermodel, in which she has a verse on. Now, anyone who is even slightly aware can tell that Shirley Q Liquor is in black face, embodying an anti-black stereotype of a black woman and presenting it to mainstream gay audience which is usually mostly white. Here are members of Queer Eye For the Straight Guy posing with Shirely. 

Oh, but I know what you’re saying: these things all seem old. That outdated mid 2000s fashion is everywhere on this post! 

When I recorded that episode of True Tea, I had no real idea who was going to be on Season 8. I, of course, had my sources and knew already, but I wasn’t sure. So when I knew for sure that Bob The Drag Queen was on the show, I was reminded by a bit of a tiff we had a few years ago over the following picture. 

This was actually my introduction to Bob The Drag Queen and it bought up a lot of interesting questions. I wrote about it twice on my blog and Bob responded a few times via his blogs. Those blogs were hard to dig back up for some reason (probably deleted them because of the show), but his response essentially amounted to saying that black people upset or offended by his blackface act are insecure with their blackness. This is a very typical thing that blackface performers who perform for white audiences tend to say. That I am simply insecure with my blackness because he’s performing a blackface number for a white audience without critique. And the lack of critique, to me, is the issue. I can’t say I’m 100 percent against the idea of a black person reclaiming blackface. I think it’s been done and done really interestingly well by some artists. But the difference between those artists and Bob is that those artists utilized Blackface as a way of criticizing tropes, while Bob, Shirley and Ru all invite white audiences to laugh at stereotypes of Black Women. At the end of the day, each of them men can take these costumes off and go on about their lives, but they will never deal with the repercussions of stereotypes that are constructed to attack, demean, dehumanize and disrespect black women. While I don’t approve of Shirley Q Liquor, I understand why he, as a white man does it. White men have done this historically and gotten away with it. But Bob and Ru are both black men. Black men with black mothers. 

Now, everyone is entitled to like what they like and perform how they perform, but here’s my thing: When you’re black and you have an audience and you have a voice and you’re given opportunities that many aren’t- why not use that platform as a way of uplifting black people? What’s been very interesting about the response to my video and the very distinct divide between race on this issue. White gays are PISSED at me for this video, while a lot of black people who support the show agreed with me. And guess what? They’re the ones who actually have to live with anti-blackness. We’re the ones who actually have to deal with the repercussions of it all. So we feel it and even if we love Ru (as I do), we still recognize that there’s anti-blackness that is prevalent in the show and in Ru’s career. 

It’s saddening to me that so many gay people have so little resources that RuPaul is truly their end all be all. I am critical of Ru because, I suppose, there’s a part of me that believes that he can do better. Unfortunately though, I have learned time and time again that RuPaul only truly cares for maintaining himself and his own career. None of what I’ve said overrides any of his accomplishments nor his huge contribution to culture. But I think it’s worth criticizing and acknowledging. In reality, most mainstream black men have had to engage in anti-blackness in order to get where they are. That’s a part of operating within a white supremacist structure. To a non-black person RuPaul represents diversity and progress, but to many black people, he represents someone who has done great things, but has utilized anti-blackness so often that it’s hard to truly identify with him. RuPaul has blazed a lot of trails, but he hasn’t blazed mine. 

true story:

the calculated and deliberate seasons-long slow burn of richonne and its culmination SAVAGELY fucking dismantling the mammy stereotype breathes vitality into my very soul

and the salty tears of racists who legitimately can’t comprehend that michonne ISN’T the grimes’ mammy, but rick’s cherished wife and carl and judith’s beloved mom, will keep me young forever

(A)Sexuality and Gender Identities Round-Up!

Although WWC’s focus is on racial and ethnic diversity, we receive a lot of questions that focus on issues outside of race/ethnicity. We recognize the importance of  advocating for realistic and positive representation in regards to intersectionality, particularly when it comes to sexuality, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identities. (In fact, many of our mods have intersecting identities and would love to see more work that represent us as real, nuanced, fleshed-out characters!)

So here’s a roundup of all the questions we’ve answered (as of Monday, May 11, 2015) about LGBTQIA+/MOGAI issues!

Asexual/Aromantic

Bisexual/Gay/Lesbian/Queer

Trans (including Agender/Genderqueer)

Homophobia/Transphobia

laylavanhellsing  asked:

I have a black character whose sort of a fairy godmother and sort of god--as in she's very powerful. She uses her magic to help the white MC out of a bad situation by turning him into a dog and keeping him as her companion/pet. Does this fall into the "magical negroe" trope? I had her white first, but then I came up with a more interesting design as a black person. If it does fall into the trope, how can I fix it?

Black Magical Mammy

Congratulations, you have managed to create a Magical Mammy!

In all seriousness, check out Subverting the Mammy and Tracing your Logic.You said it would be more interesting to design this person as Black. Why did you come up with that conclusion in particular? Did you think this role more suited for a Black woman?

I’d also direct you to the tropes page, particularly the Mammy and Magical Negro tags for this character, but I will say this idea make me pretty uncomfortable regardless of subversion. She’s a “very powerful sort of god” but is in the more servile role of a fairy godmother, her powers devoted to others, and then goes that extra step to actually take care of this white MC as her pet.

I’m not the biggest fan of suggesting race changes of Characters of Color, but in this case, consider if there’s another equally important magical role you could place a Black woman in that doesn’t confine her to powerful godmother devoting her magic to white people. In the case of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella the fairy godmother was Black, but so was Cinderella, which created a whole other (more positive) dynamic.

Other considerations could be to make this woman a different sort of god whose magic is not primarily devoted to serving others, but simply feels compelled to help the MC in this one instance but is not in the business of such, doesn’t sacrifice much of anything to do so, and has her own life. Redefining what it means to be a fairy godmother might help as well. I’m going by the classical definition here of a fairy with magical powers who acts as a maternal guide “tasked with helping out the protagonist of a tale.” 

~Mod Colette

Potentially Homophobic Black Parents and Dispelling Black Woman Stereotypes

Hello! First of all, thank you for all the hard work you’ve all put in to WWC! I’ve found it very helpful and I truly appreciate all the effort you’ve put in to dissecting harmful ideas and stereotypes that mar contemporary media. Second of all, I’m so sorry: this is a long one, but I’ll try to be as concise as possible.

The MC of my work is a Black male in his mid-twenties; a respectable Detective Sergeant, recently promoted and transferred to another city on the other side of a fictional country. The story itself takes place “twenty minutes into the future”, fifteen years after a brutal war that introduced magic into the world. His father was a soldier in this war, and his mother (now a professor of international law) worked with sentencing war criminals. Both his parents are seen as terribly strong, strict, don’t-let-anyone-see-your-emotions sorts of people, but it’s outright stated in the narrative that this is just his impression of them. But, due to this strict upbringing, as well as his father’s somewhat old-fashioned mindset, he’s remained closeted as a gay man since he realised he fancied blokes. Neither of his parents have ever said anything straight-up homophobic, but he’s insecure and feels as if his homosexuality is a failing on his part as their son. Is there anything I should worry about in this set-up? Again, the parents aren’t homophobic, but they are emotionally distant perfectionists and my MC is projecting his fears on to them. 

The MC’s main love interest is a white man. I’ve looked through the tags and I don’t think I’ve seen anything about Black man/White man relationships – is there anything in particular I should look out for in this scenario? The LI is slightly older but is not in any position of authority over the MC and the romance develops naturally (I hope!) from their initial friendship.

One of the major supporting characters is a Black woman, a forensic pathologist, in her forties. She takes on a sisterly role to the MC, though in a rather snarky sort of way. She has a dark sense of humour and favours glib remarks to lighten the mood. It’s revealed through the course of the story that she retrained as a pathologist after the war because working in A&E reminded her too much of the front lines and her mental health was suffering as a consequence. Confiding this in the MC marks a turning point in their relationship where they help and protect each other as equals, rather than have her only ever comfort and protect the younger man. She’s happily married to another Black woman. Am I running into any Strong Black Woman / Independent Black Woman / Mammy stereotypes here? 

Thank you so much for your time!

Closeted Gay Black Man With Strict Parents

There’s a stereotype that Black people are somehow more homophobic than others. Homophobia is indeed an issue in Black communities, but no different than it is in several other communities so it’s funny (but not) how we are spotlighted for somehow being more homophobic than others. So unless you’re working from personal experiences, I wouldn’t perpetuate that stereotype.

Though these parents are strict, it would be nice if it were revealed that they would/will accept their son for who he is. I’ve noticed fictional portrayals of well-off or professional Black people being strict and heartless so I suggest you avoid such a 2-D portrayal. Their professions provide somewhat of a reason for their nature, yes, but let them be more than what meets the eye, even if it takes some event to break that hard exterior.

Black Woman Pathologist, Strong and Independent  

As for this character, as long as you allow her to be soft, and get help for her mental illness, she should be fine. She’s in a relationship as well so that helps avoid your typical Strong Independent BW stereotypes.

...Confiding this in the MC marks a turning point in their relationship where they help and protect each other as equals, rather than have her only ever comfort and protect the younger man

Are you saying before she reveals her past, she’s only ever comforting and protecting the man? If so, that can be a problem. Please don’t go overboard with how much energy she exerts to care and protect him. Being a listening ear and good friend is one thing, but having his problems heaped on her lap and doing emotional labor to help keep him together all too often is a whole other deal. Avoid the latter.

~Mod Colette

Black Flight Commander, Mammy or Good Leader?

Anonymous asked:

So, I’m writing a story and one of my main characters is a sixteen-year-old black female. She’s a part of a cadet organization and she’s a flight commander. One of the main problems in the book is that a cadet (white female) goes missing. She was in the main character’s unit, so the main character is really worried about her. She spends a lot of time worrying about her and helping with the search, since she thinks that it is her responsibility to take care of her cadets. Is this a mammy stereotype, or is she just being a good leader? She has her own goals that are important in the novel, and she’s not the only one who cares. Her white male commander and Armenian male friend also do a lot to help with the search. 

It sounds pretty healthy and balanced to me. A black woman can care without being a mammy and I think it’s pretty obvious you’re not crossing that line.

~ Mod Brei

3

The desexualization of women of size, especially those of color, has been a part of American media for a long time. Her body is supposed to represent motherhood, but not sexual femininity, as if those things were not connected. Her size is a sign of her authority, so she is thought to be “masculine.” Though she holds authority, she is not to be seen as competition of the delicate white female. Her bosom is a place to rest not to caress. Her “excess” weight is supposedly an indication of her intelligence, adding a factor of ableism and sanism in the mix.

Curvy WoC are reclaming there bodies. They see neither thinness nor thickness as the definition of femininity or intellgence. Their bodies are rebelion against mainstream white culture. They embrace motherhood without questioning the existence of their sexuality.

IDK if I need to set my feminist analysis down, but would I be crazy to think that in Ryan Murphy’s new show Scream Queens, Niecy Nash (the security guard) plays a reinterpreted modern Mammy trope? The Mammy, of course, being the racialized stereotype of African women within western media that begun in the mid 1800’s. It romanticized the southern slave dynamic within white households, firstly and followed these tropes:
1) the mammy is a neutered/unloveable black woman whom is overweight
2) Although she projects a love of motherhood and taking care of children she does not take care of her own children, but loves to take care of her master’s children
3) she is warm hearted yet simple, and is often the joke of conversation

The more episodes I see of Scream Queens, I cannot help but see the correlations. I mean, in terms of who she chooses protects on the show as a security guard says it all. She chooses to protect all the white girls while neglecting the protection of Keke Palmer’s character Zeyday.

I mean, I’m not sure if it’s intentional – but if it is, I wouldn’t be surprised. Considering how problematic Ryan Murphy has been in the past in terms of writing characters that aren’t cis, able bodied, white characters.

Also, not being neither black nor a woman - I would like to add that I respect the input of others as I don’t want to tell others of what they should feel offended over. If you have other views, I respect your opinon.

@saturnineaqua have you watched the show?

anonymous asked:

Dumb question: How can Michonne dismantle the mammy stereotype when she never had anything in common with it to begin with? Isn't she really a dismantling of the stereotype that tough black women can't be gentle or desirable?

It’s not mutually exclusive. The entire idea (that many haters have directly and indirectly expressed) that Michonne should just be Rick’s sexless bff who looks after/protects his children and is his support system and shoulder to lean on and someone to do all the emotional labor for his family while having no emotional life of her own is the very essence of the Mammy. On the surface, Michonne absolutely had things in common with the stereotype.

Within the narrative itself Michonne wasn’t a Mammy because a) her relationship with the Grimes family was always as much about how they helped relieve her own grief and pain as it was about the ways she helped relieve theirs, b) they openly adored her instead of her contributions being treated as meaningless or just what was naturally due, c) there was always Something More there between her and Rick, including a very singular mutual respect and regard. However, people willfully ignored all of this and the very special and intimate nature of Rick and Michonne’s relationship to reduce her down to that stereotype. Obviously, If a white woman had Michonne’s arc with Rick and Carl and Judith there would be absolutely ZERO question in anyone’s mind that she was deliberately being set up to take the role of wife and mother in that family unit. But they didn’t see it because she’s a black woman, because it’s so ingrained in people that the only way a black woman CAN relate to white characters is as a Mammy, someone who gives and gives and gives and never receives anything back because why would she, sacrificing for white people is her purpose, right? 

So, in their minds, they relegated her to Carl’s little playmate and Rick’s buddy, no different than any other buddy, all while insisting that [Random White Woman] would clearly appear someday to be Rick’s One True Mate because they couldn’t see Michonne as a viable person for Rick to realize that he loved and cherished and wanted to spend his life with. When I talk about it taking apart the stereotype, I’m referring to it NOT taking the path all those people expected, which it could have and many stories have before, and instead following through to its natural conclusion.

LONG STORY SHORT: Michonne having an emotional life, with pain and vulnerabilities and struggles, immediately dismantled the Strong Black Woman stereotype.That emotional life being valued by the narrative and her needs and wants and desires actually being considered and then met, instead of her being eternally subsumed in service of white characters, dismantled the Mammy stereotype.

nepetafuckingleijon  asked:

1/2 I'm collabing with a friend on a RWBY team, and I'm worried that one of the characters is a Strong Black Woman or mammy stereotype. Her name is Venus, she's based on The True Bride. She's a trained fighter, raised by her military dad and (distant) stepmom, and has the most brute strength out of her group, but it's very controlled and acrobatic. She's also motherly, wanting to make up for her lack of a mother figure by being her friends' mother figure.

2/2 She’s protective of her team to the point where she’ll almost put herself in danger to save them, even if they don’t need the help. Her team eventually tells her it’s a problem, and she stops being so overbearing, but I’m still concerned her “mother bear” type persona could be considered stereotypical, even though my friend thinks she’s fine (he’s black, I’m white). Do you have any comments or suggestions for her? Thank you in advance!

Strong Mammy Black Woman Character

That is very much a mammy and although your friend is black, I’m guessing he’s male and therefore not an authority on mammys. 

She’s motherly to make up for her lack of her mother figure? Studies do show that that’s often the case for the “mom” of a friend group, but it’s not the only way to compensate for the lack of a mother. A more common route and also less offensive would be for her to seek out a mother figure instead of being the group’s mammy. Who takes care of her?

I’m also concerned with her brute strength aligning with the strong black woman stereotype. Also brute strength is on the opposite side of the fighting skill spectrum when it comes to flexibility so you might want to figure that out as well.

~ Mod Brei

This character seems over the top in how much she’s taking care of everyone and exerts all this energy for others. Not to mention she’s got Sacrificial Negro traits as she’ll put herself in danger to save people who, on top of that, don’t even need her help. I’m with Brei, who takes care of her

I would tone down these overexerting, protectiveness to the point of sacrificial traits. She could use a lot more self-preservation. Especially with her being the strongest of the group with “brute strength” i’m again agreeing with Brei that i’d much rather her seek out a mother figure then being the group mother bear. Even better if we moved away from the strongest-of-the-group trait altogether and kept her as the most aerobatic.We rarely see that in Black women characters, unlike with strength.

~Mod Colette

luffykun3695  asked:

Do you feel that interpreting Kala and Terk as black is racist? The comments seem really divided on the issue.

Cho (Korean/Chinese, American): This is my knee-jerk take and I will of course defer to my fellow mods Jocelyne and Didi since they can speak with more experience on this subject (especially if I’m wrong, please tell me so I learn something new), but off the cuff I’m going to say YES. YES IT IS RACIST.

1. There is a long, ugly, and painful history of explicitly equating black people to monkeys and gorillas in order to deny them basic rights and humanity. However fun and creative fandom can be, pretending that fandom creations are magically free of prejudice and bias is naive and foolhardy. Racism can and does sneak into fandom interpretations.

2. Also within the context of the movie we then have the “civilized modern” white people alternately insulting and studying Tarzan’s family, and this becomes really inappropriate if they are interpreted as black people. It is the worst of all those anthropological studies where people go gawk at “primitives” going about their lives, particularly when they get captured and put into cages with the intention of being sold later. It’s not like there’s a lack of stories about black people being stolen and sold like objects, so why the heck would it be necessary in any way, shape, or form to create an interpretation where it happens again?

2a. And by extension of previous point, we then have Tarzan, the white man raised by “black people”, who becomes the hero and leader of his family group when he does what none of the others can? Mighty whitey up the wazoo, no thank you. (Of course, Tarzan becoming the male lead of the family group of gorillas has its own set of problems but I ain’t touching that mess of biology with a ten foot pole).

3. The Mammy stereotype and the extensive history of black women raising the children of others at the expense of their own makes me just NOPE on outta interpreting Kala as black. 

4. Black women being seen as undesirable love interests (hello Sleepy Hollow, which killed off one of their main characters rather than pair her with the white male lead) is already such a common thing, and if one interprets Terk as a black female (because Terk is a girl), then it’s just one more black girl being sidelined for the white one.

It’s just a nasty, nasty mess from where I’m standing, one that can be totally avoided if Kala and Terk are interpreted as gorillas only.

Iris West is almost every anti-black woman stereotype, and she’s so important

As I was perusing through The Flash tags, it occurred to me that The CW might actually be showing one of the most progressive representations of a black woman on television right now. I didn’t watch The Flash as it aired live last season, but when I caught up with it this summer, I was genuinely shocked to realize that Iris West wasn’t universally beloved within the fandom online. Learning that she had a Defense Squad was super surprising because I didn’t realize there was anything to defend. She is CLEARLY the shit, and I fail to see how it’s close. My experience watching the show without a social media audience has probably influenced my positive perception of her character coupled with the fact that I’m a newbie to the comic book genre. The most common criticisms of Iris is that she is annoying, nosy, and oblivious to Barry’s affection, all of which seem like straight balderdash and nitpicky as fuck. But if I’ve learned nothing about fangirls from befriending them and fanboys from dating them, it’s that they’re pedantic and nitpicky. I could spend a lot of time refuting all of these points, but I won’t because it’s been done in many places probably better than I could. And also because if you can’t see the many great characteristics of Iris West then I don’t think you’re looking hard enough, and I certainly don’t think you’re paying attention to the ways she embodies a three dimensional, honest representation of a young black woman. 

Increasingly, I’ve noticed that within mainstream television criticism that critics and recappers very frequently divorce race from their critiques of characters and plot lines, which is interesting to me because this is not always the case when comes to gender. The ways that characters embody sexist or misogynistic tropes and stereotypes are almost always recognized. A female character in the role of a damsel in distress, or in a damsel in distress-esk scenario, has become a cardinal sin in within the comic genre. Whenever a woman needs rescuing, no matter how much agency she has in the scene, people are alerted. While I recognize how and why this is a problematic trope in particular and think that it’s a good thing that people are sensitive to it, I often think that it’s a pretty moot point and an invalid criticism when you consider that in a genre where some people have supernatural abilities and others don’t, it’s inevitable that women as well as men will need saving. That’s just a basic fact. We’ve seen men just as much as women, maybe even more times than women, need the help of the Flash. Joe West has probably needed the help of the flash just as much or more times than any female character on the show. This doesn’t mean that he’s helpless and it doesn’t mean that he’s not trying or perpetually a victim. It just means that, as a normal human, in a situation where someone has superhuman characteristics he’s going need a little help from time to time. This is also true of the women of The Flash. And I think the writers do a really good job of not of perpetuating the myth that women are victims or not as strong as men and always need rescuing. Every single woman on the show has gotten themselves out a sticky situation without the help of a male hero. But even if they didn’t. That’s okay too. Because a woman needing rescuing is not inherently problematic, especially if that woman is a person of color. 

A trope for a black woman is simply not the same for a white woman. A fictionalized portrayal of a white woman domestic will never be categorized as inherently negative like the mammy stereotype. A white woman depicted as irate or indignant, whether it’s justified or not,  will never have to worry about falling into the stock character category. A fictionalized portrayal of a white woman who chooses to abstain from sex or does not have a romantic relationship will likely never prompt questions or criticisms of asexuality. However, black women in these roles absolutely do. So I find it actively bizarre the way many critics ignore or look past or apply the same standards of what constitutes as a stereotype without regard to race, especially when that’s not the case for gender. 

Keep reading