Blogging the Theoretical

Gender- Through the Eyes of Collins

September 16, 2011 · 4 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 who became surrounded with policies created by these dominant groups led 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, and class interlock with one another in regards to how inequality and oppression has affected African American women’s 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, and gender among African American women are individually different (Collins 25). The fact that these experiences are different allows black women to engage in negotiation and/or conversation 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 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 allow these negative ‘controlling images’ to pass on in society (Collins 7).

Categories: Group One · Jennifer M
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4 responses so far ↓

  •   ahvang08 // Sep 18th 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Awesome start! You really go into depth about Collin’s motives and feelings on Black Feminist Thought. I really like the bit on controlling images. I think it might help to start off with a concrete definition of Gender as explained by Collins just to make your blog a bit more fluid. Ultimately you touch on some great points and thought you did a pretty good job.

  •   rcrich09 // Sep 18th 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Great stuff so far, I would suggest an extra paragraph where you pull everything you’ve said together. You touch on all of the important points; however, I found myself having to read it multiple times to bring all of your points together.

  •   janico08 // Sep 19th 2011 at 10:01 am


    Great job! I agree with Rich in regards to having a closing paragraph that concludes your blog article.

    You talk about white elite males concerning the “controlling images” but it might be useful to add this idea/quote, too: “… the unfortunate current reality is that many Black men have internalized the controlling images applied to Black women” (Collins 160).

    You could also talk about how skin color can define gender. For example, Collins states “Black ‘whores’ make White ‘virgins’ possible” (157). I think this good vs bad/white vs black concept will be helpful when you define gender as suggested by Abby.


  •   degan // Sep 21st 2011 at 4:55 am

    Good job Jen! Overall, great ideas and details with supporting details. I do think you should tie your ideas together better at the end, Needs more of a closing to sum it all up. Also you sometimes had a tendency to jump from one idea to another. Otherwise you did a nice job using the text and supporting ideas.


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