Killing Us Softly

I had to watch this video for my Gender & Sexuality class and I found it fitted into what we have discussed in class concerning the images of African American women depicted in the media.  Advertisements play a huge role in defining, for us, who we are supposed to be.  Most of the images that we see on commercials are of women who do not represent a majority of the women in our country as well as abroad.  We attempt to meet these unrealistic expectations and are controlled by what our eyes constantly see, whether we admit it to ourselves or not.  There is a part towards the end of this excerpt where we see how black women are often depicted as animals and, in effect, less than human.  Filmmaker Jean Kilbourne states that women of color are often “…dressed in leopard skin and animal prints over and over again; the real message is NOT FULLY HUMAN.”  She shines the light on gender stereotyping, of which, black women are no stranger to.  While looking at the full video, I was a bit disturbed at the images; when all grouped together and shown in this light, the reality of how damaging it is to the female psyche is clear.

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Posted on March 19, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I also wanted to address the “who” in what shapes our identity as African American women. Between the advertisers and the entertainers, we as intelligent women must decide we will not “buy” into their definition of beauty. Then, we must pass this on to the children in our lives, by word and example. I am also disturbed by the images of black women in animal prints and with bleached skin. More importantly, I am concerned with where is all of this going? Where will it end and how much more damage will it do? The primary source of what children believe about themselves should come from people who love them and want to give them a strong sense of self. As we saw with Pecola, and maybe experienced in our own lives, children can be cruel when it comes to accepting the differences in other children. Although it is 2012, it appears that in this area, we have not progressed very far in overcoming the negativity associated with being black in America.

  2. I also seen that movie for my Feminist Thought class last semester. But what struck me is in that whole entire film they failed to address all women and how the are portrayed. Like you stated the black women being dressed in animal prints or dressed in the bare minimums. They are trying to show that we are less than and that we are not human. In this patriarchal society women are only supposed to cook and keep house, they are not supposed to work and be independent. Then they go as low as to show women of color only obtaining domestic jobs and taking care or others children and not their own and depending on the government to care for their children. I can not stand even in 2012 that women are portrayed in this manner. Times have changed women are no longer blonde hair blue eyed and slim waist. The average woman is an independent woman a single mother and she is strong. There is no color to this woman and she is not just skinny she comes in all different shapes and sizes.

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