Blogging the Theoretical

Gender: Through the Eyes of Collins, Final

September 23, 2011 · No Comments

As a society, dominant groups classify gender in two different spheres, male and female. Society is the foundation in which we abide to and shapes our way of how we see the world. African American Women surrounded themselves with policies created by these dominant groups leading to the oppression and exploitation of their outer and inner sexuality for many years, even in contemporary culture. In Patricia Hill Collins “Black Feminist Thought”, she discusses a broader understanding of African American Women in the U.S. and how race, gender, sexuality, and class interlock with one another in regards to how inequality and oppression has affected their lives. According to Collins, “In order to capture the interconnections of race, gender, and social class in Black Women’s lives and their effect on Black feminist thought, I explicitly rejected grounding my analysis in any single theoretical tradition” (Collins Viii). Collins clearly depicts her motive of looking at this issue in a theoretical sense by looking at what really happened that has led up to the effect of black feminist thought on African American women. She looks into the situations that black women faced among dominant groups and toll in took in living this way. Collins furthers her dialectical approach on Black women feminism by noting that the experience of oppression, class, gender and sexuality among African American women are individually different (Collins 25). She also brings to our attention on how the political economy, segregation and controlling images have created a common experience in shaping black women’s experiences in the United States. The facts that these experiences are different, allow black women to engage in negotiation and/or conversations of resistance.

Patricia Hill Collins discusses the ‘controlling images’ that African American Women face developed by white dominant elites. Collins says, “From mammies, jezebels, and breeder women of slavery…ubiquitous Black prostitutes and ever-present welfare mothers of contemporary popular culture, negative stereotypes applied to African-American women have been fundamental to Black women’s oppression” (Collins 7). The negative stereotypes portrayed in Collins are an indication of how African-American women have become targets of oppression and sexual exploitation by white male elites. Elite white males also known as, ‘Dominant groups’ are constantly coming up with ideas to put African-American women from ever climbing up the social ladder. To keep black women from ever having any type of power allows these negative ‘controlling images’ to pass on in society (Collins 7).  Many of these controlling images of gender and sexually were used to promote inequality and discrimination among Black women. However, regardless of what they face, they would soon use their individual experiences to get together and construct their own perspective of what “Gender” really is living in a predominant society. The construct of what “Gender” is to be perceive and the knowledge of what it brings to African-American women would be taught to be passed down to younger generation.

 

Categories: Group One · Jennifer M



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