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Skin Deep: Portrayals of the Black Female Body
Transcript of Skin Deep: Portrayals of the Black Female Body
Never be ashamed of who you naturally are; no amount of changes you make to your skin color, eye color, hair color, hair texture or weight will ever fix your insecurity. That will only happen when you love who you are on the inside and out, the way you were born. by YouTube Member, TearsOfNoSubstance AFRICAN BEAUTY Saartjie Baartman Centre Web Site "Native Woman of Sofala." Daguerrotype. 1845. E. Thiesson. "From the first, practitioners of anthropology and medicine saw in photography a good opportunity to generate historical and research archives." Though most photographs of black women had subjects that were fully clothed, the troubling fact is that it was the black woman who was considered of so little value that her body could be exploited for science. It tended to be black women with darker skin who would be photographed "for science." Again, the more physical difference there was between the potential camera subject and the photographer, the easier it became for the photographer to take exploitative photographs. ANALYSIS SCIENTIFIC STUDY (Photography: A Cultural History, Page 35) "In 1896, the first photograph of a 'virginal vaginal outlet' was published [by] John Montgomery Baldy... He saved himself ... from charges of indecency by using a black woman model for the clinical pictures in the text. African-American women were assumed to be hypersexual and without normal feminine modesty." (The Body Project, Page 149) "African American women picking peas." 19th century. Published in Harper's Weekly "[Topsy] was one of the blackest of her race; and her round, shining eyes, glittering as glass beads, moved with quick and restless glances over everything in the room. ... Her wooly hair was braided in sundry little tails, which stuck out in every direction. ... Altogether, there was something odd and goblin-like about her appearance."" During the 19th century in the United States, the images of black women tended to depict them fully clothed, but the covered bodies did nothing to change the mentality that black women were Jezebels. At this point in U.S. history, black women's perceptions of their bodies had generally not reflected a need or desire to adapt to the white male ideals. This changed when black women found that "passing" could help them in the white world. ANALYSIS PRE- AND POST-SLAVERY (Uncle Tom's Cabin. Page 219.) As this video shows, the early twentieth century was when the representations of black women reflected a change in body image among the African-American female population. The popularity of movies and a new technology, television, presented certain characteristics that were considered beautiful: Slender bodies, stylish clothing, impeccable makeup, and sleek hair.
African-American women were embracing the white male ideal of beauty in order to gain mainstream success and acceptance in the media-rich United States. UNSUNG CLASSIC BLACK BEAUTIES OF THE 1930s AND 1940s EATING DISORDERS By 1994, black women suffering from eating disorders surpassed white women. Ten years later, this had changed, but black women still suffer from eating disorders at an alarmingly high rate.