Blogging the Theoretical

Gender

September 7, 2011 · 4 Comments

Categories: Erika · Group Two



4 responses so far ↓

  •   emseav09 // Sep 14th 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Thought describes how black women have been portrayed in various lights that confront the ideas of race, gender, and class oppression. Women, black women more specifically have been oppressed by the white patriarchal society and how this oppression and objectification has lead to black women’s experiences and life stories in some way to serve interest or benefit the elite white males. Throughout Black Feminist Thought, Collins discusses the oppression paradigms of race, class and gender to conceptualize domination and resistance. “Gender” comes to the forefront when Collins brings up the ideas of “controlling images”. Examples of controlling images around Black women include; “The Mammy- the maid/ housekeeper (Collins 80), the “Matriarch”- head bread winner of the household (Collins 83), the “Welfare Mother”- mother who spends too much time with her children (Collins 86), the “Jezebel”- the powerful and masculine women” (89), and the “Hootchie”- the slutty/ distasteful black women (Collins 90). All of these images are examples of gender exploitation and created in the eyes of white males. In my opinion these gendered images serve to coerce/ force black women into acting a certain way based on the image they have been associated with.
    Collins expressed how through Black Feminist Thought, black women are able to look past these controlling gendered images and share experiences/ ideas with other black women to provide them with a new angle to define themselves individually, as a community and within the society. These collective powers of black women allow them to find an outlet of the gendered patriarchal society.
    Nash also mentions “controlling images” in “Strange Bedfellows: Black Feminism and Anti-pornography Feminism”, which looks into the world of pornography and how black women are portrayed as objects in another “patriarchal tool” (Nash 62). Pornography as another patriarchal tool is where male power and inequality are “innocently” masqueraded as sex. Nash also talks about how even in the gendered division of pornography between mean and women; women are depicted differently even further when broken up into white women and black women. Men depict white women in porn as being “pillow- soft pussy willows” (Nash 54) and black women as “shit” (Nash 55). These male depicted views play a huge factor in how women are viewed/ seen in pornography. Nash explains “the treatment [views] of black women’s bodies in the 19th century Europe and U.S. may be the foundation upon which contemporary pornography as the representation of women’s objectification, domination, and control is based” (Nash 55); meaning to me that these gendered images of women depicted by men is what has led to the control and domination of women by men. Overall, Nash’s argument can be summed up in when Nash said: “anti-pornography feminism’s fingerprints smudge the lens through which black feminism examines sexuality, pornography, and pleasure” (Nash 52).
    Based on these readings it seems apparent that gender oppression is the oldest and possibly the most fundamental oppression in history in which other oppressions could be based on, due to the interlocking system of intersectionality. Nash provides the pillars to Collins in showing a visual representation in Collins’ Ideology that black women fall outside of white female sexuality and respectability.

  •   kaasel09 // Sep 18th 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Erika,
    I think you do an excellent job analyzing Collins’ argument about controlling images and you sight some very important examples. However, I am not sure you get to the heart of Nash’s argument, except in the case of your inclusion of the quote about smudging the lens. I would add a couple of sentences breaking down exactly what this quote means in the context of Nash’s article because you are right that it is her thesis but what does this idea mean to you? Though I think you include some very important data, Nash and Collins are arguing for very different perspectives (as far as the role of pornography is concerned) and I don’t know if that comes across strongly enough in your text. You have some really great information here, I would just love to see more of Nash’s argument for the possibility of Black women’s sexual pleasure in porn- it is such a good argument!
    -Kate

  •   bphess09 // Sep 18th 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Erika-

    You have some great textual support and analysis here regarding black women’s gender through the lens of controlling images. I enjoyed reading your viewpoints about gender exploitation and gendered division of pornography but seek to learn more!

    You are right to point out the power of the “gendered patriarchal society” but how are these structural conditions institutionalized and perpetuated over time? What parallel do they serve towards the gender identity of Black women?

    I hope to see even further analysis of why these controlling images are in existence (past vs present even?) and the role they play in gender exploitation.You have all of the information it’s a matter of getting under the surface to the nature of each authors argument. I hope my questions help you consider some ways to enhance your post.

    Brooke

  •   ogmcma08 // Sep 18th 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Ericka-

    You have great support for your argument concerning the gender representation through controlling images. I think you have a really great grasp on that material, but i wonder if you have not fully grasped Nash’s argument. Although you include Nash’s opinion towards the end of your post, I am confused what you are arguing previous to that. Although Nash gives light to Collins’s argument, she disagrees with her a a number of points. If you go back and reexamine that text I think your piece could be very strong! You’ve got a great start and I cant wait to read yours come Friday!

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