Blogging the Theoretical

Gender- Through the Eyes of Collins

September 16th, 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).

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St. Lawrence University