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The Sexualization&Dehumanization of Racialized Women

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Stephanie Chicoine

on 26 October 2013

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Transcript of The Sexualization&Dehumanization of Racialized Women

The Sexualization & Dehumanization of Racialized Women

The Readings...
Elizabeth Hadley Freydberg: Sapphires, Spitfires, Sluts and Superbitches
Myra MacDonald: Muslim Women and the Veil

Presented By:
Stephanie Chicoine Major Communication Minor Sociology
Maral Bahmanpour Major Communication
Katy Spring Major Communication
Chelsey Hugelshofer Major Communication
Chris Gallardo-Ganaban Major Communication
Muslim Women and the Veil
The Reading
Muslim Women and the Veil
Misunderstanding between cultures when it comes to dissecting the veil
The image of the veil continues to exercise discursive power over perceptions of Muslim women and what Islam preaches
The veil is considered to be incompatible with women’s agency in the construction of their own identities

Sapphires, Spitfires, Sluts and Superbitches: Stereotypes of Black and Latina Women

The Shifting
Roles of Black Women Throughout Time
Central Themes to Think About During the Presentation...
Black and Latina women considered naturally sexual
Muslim women are made sexual
Dehumanization is a tool of oppression maintained through stereotypes that depict Black women as slaves and lustful, Latina women as prostitutes or concubines, and the Veil as an object to be controlled in order to manipulate the subject underneath

Racial Stereotyping:

Western representations of women and race have been controlled by white patriarchs in power
Linking to Said's Orientialism, discourse that continues to inflict the language of "the west" and its images of itself in comparison to "the rest" creates a polarization between "us" and "them"
Fulfills a social function that allows the ruling majority to justify its maltreatment of people deemed inferior
Variety of media forms and examples
Veiling as unnatural and unveiling as natural
Rejection as liberation
Polarization between women
Polarization of the Muslim woman's body
Western & Muslim Perspectives
Through a Critical Lens
Invisible plurality that exists for Muslim women in their choice of dress which is concealed and flattened by Western media forms
Flattening simplifies the complex relationships that Muslim women have in relation to both their faith and self-agency .Misconceptions about the definition of how Muslim women dress and what each style represents
Representations of Muslim women’s dress aim to simplify not only the variety of clothing but also the context that is linked to the clothing
Muslim veil is positioned as an unnatural and oppressive form of dress that has entirely captured the attention of Westernized media
This unnaturalness is juxtapositioned with the inherent naturalness of Western women and their ability to be in society as unveiled
Muslim women’s dress becomes polarized against Western women's dress in a way that only links negative associations with Muslim women and positive connotations Western notions of sexuality and beauty
Fixation that exists
How Western media have framed Muslim women's dress
Allowed for the symbol of what is actually a niqab but consistently referred to as a burqa to act as a signifier for the oppression of women
Google It!
A polarization that occurs upon the actual body of the Muslim woman being that she represents oppression (she is oppression) and simultaneously symbolizes the the antonym of liberty (she is not freedom)
Invites an obsession for the need to liberate these women through the “rejection of their veil”
Applied to Muslim women as a rescue mission
Freedoms of white women are positioned as what should be the ultimate goal of not only Western liberators but Muslim women as well.
Positioned as concealing weapons or explosives
Feared while simultaneously representing a silencing or passivity
Western media imagines the Muslim woman as excluded from sexual freedom
It only with unveiling and the adoption of Western femininity that the Muslim woman can be liberated
Western Misconceptions
Sexualization and Controversy
Normalized Femininity
Media has perpetuated these stereotypes that exist to this very day
As stereotypes evolve some may vanish but new ones are developed
Latina Representations:

Latinas are viewed as “demoralized sex objects by White men” (266) and “conquered” people
Needed to be seen in a simplistic and negative manner in order to avoid “genetic pollution”

Latina vs. Hispanic
Hispanic refers to Spanish-speaking individuals, most often associated with Mexicans
Latino is more generally referring to people from South America

Types of Latina Depictions

The majority of Latina women are dark-skinned half-breed harlots
The dark lady is promiscuous, short tempered, bitchy, violent and jealous. She’s seen as emotionally unstable and wild or uncivilized
She will ‘curse, stab, or poison her love interest in a jealous rage’ (268)
A small group is light skinned, often mistaken for a white woman, and can play a virtuous role with depth to her character
She is still very sexual, but can control her desires and carefully plan them out
These women are most likely to ‘make it’ in Hollywood because their ‘exotic’ cultural background is dulled down or muted completely

Ugly Betty:
One step forward,
two steps backward

While one sister fits the stereotype,
one breaks away from it
Linking Latinas in Film to Reality

These stereotypes and racist views are not just seen on screen, but translate to our every day lives
In the Western world, we associate Latin American women as being naturally sexy, loud and sassy
They are also known for large families and with low income
Overgeneralization of these attributes to an entire cultural group

Sofia Vergara

A successful Hollywood actress from Colombia who is known for her loud, sassy personality and curvy, desirable body
Plays in to the spitfire stereotype rather than breaking the mold
She is short tempered and easily excitable

The Muslim veil is not only positioned as something women use to maintain their modesty but it has emerged as a sign of Islamic consciousness
In a sense, the term hijab encompasses more than a scarf and more than a dress code
It is a term that denotes modest dressing and modest behavior
This aura of maintaining purity and privacy is indicative of the great value Islam places upon women
Wearing the hijab or any type of head scarf becomes a very visible sign of Islam
The Quran does not specifically state that one must wear a headscarf or a hijab
It is implied that one should be modest and within the context of the time period when the Quran was written, it was common for women to be covering their body in some sort of way
Surah 24 of the Quran touches upon modesty and the idea of veiling oneself

Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Iran do enforce a dress code (but this is largely due to the presence of religious government)
For the majority of Muslim women around the world, to cover, or not to cover, is a freely made choice
Muslim women do not consider hijabs to be oppressive
Women who wear hijab often describe themselves as being “set free” from society’s unrealistic fashion culture

Black women had been
portrayed as slaves,
mammies or maids in
the first half of the
20th century
Throughout the Civil
Rights movements,
prominent black women

such as Rosa Parks and Autherine Lucy were fighting for integration, yet the “most publicized image of the African American woman on the movie screen was that of a whore by Dorothy Dandrige in Carmen Jones” (Carter and Steiner, 270)
Blaxploitation in Films

Film Genre in the 70s
Films that starred a dominantly African-American cast, produced by, written by, and directed by African-Americans
Influenced by the Black Empowerment Movement
By some, it was positive
However, representation of African-Americans remained problematic
The Superbitch
Stereotype that emerged from blaxploitation films
Dominating woman
Extremely sexualized
Some feminists believed it was a positive example of equitable casting
Reinforced and reshaped the stereotype of the "Superbitch" with African-American women
From Prada to Nada
Breaking Stereotypes: Kerry Washington as Olivia in Scandal

Instructions: Listen to how people speak to her and how she speaks to people
Lets Do Some Group Work!
Two media clips
We will set it up
Unpack it in small groups
Then come together for convergence

Is there anything else you would like to mention about either of the video clips in relation to polarization, the problematic nature of racialized satire, the idea of a single story or authorship?
Full transcript