Racialized Images of Women: Femininity, Beauty, Maternity, and Sexuality
Racism is a factor that Americans have dealt with for a long time. The advent of the subject dates back to the slave trade period when whites visualized blacks as sub humans who did not have the right to own property or live a better life. They viewed blacks as those who belonged in the kitchen, gardens, and other places where heavy labor was required. This image has evolved as many people have tried to embrace human beings as being special irrespective of their races or origin. Currently there exist little talk about this subject and many people moving from Africa to the western world do not feel racialised as before. Nonetheless, there is a part of the society that still views blacks and their families from a different perspective. They believe that black women do not make the best parents, the lack maternity and parental aspect of life. To send the message to those who need it further, many films and documentaries have been made to show black women as sexually available, oversexed, and crass. These videos show African American mothers as irresponsible and non-maternal. This paper is an analysis of two films titled single ladies and for better or for worse as an example of films that have played a role in racialising black based on these lines.
In single women, African American women are portrayed as being sexually available. Taking a good look at the main three female characters who are apparently of African American origin, these women play the role of falling out of love with their boyfriends and it is completely an emotional rollercoaster. They sleep with every man who comes their way, the women seem not to have sexual boundaries and do not care who they end up in bed with. The film shows that these African American women view their single lives as the best thing and take advantage of it by sexually overt. The women in the film are very beautiful; they have their own business, and seem to be in control of their sexuality. They are also very feminine in every aspect of their lives and cannot seem to go for cheap staff. Apparently, in this film, none of the women is married or have children. It shows that they lack maternal instinct and capability to make them good mothers. On the other hand, none of them has the plan of settling in a marriage any sooner.
In the film Single ladies, the African women seem to be interested in flashy kind of life. They only go out with rich men who have lots of money. In order to satisfy her sexual and financial needs, one of the women went to the extent of sleeping with her former boyfriend. In this series, no woman hopes to get married someday. They keep a whirlwind of one romance after the other without caring what the future holds for them. One of the girls broke her engagement after she found out that her fiancée slept with another woman on the day of their engagement party. When she told her mother what happened, her mother explained to her that no man is perfect and that all men sleep around or cheat on their women at some point in their relationship. Her mother tried to talk sense to her and have her go back to her former fiancée but she could take none of it.
The second film, For better or for worse and is about a marriage of African Americans. The leading woman in the film is of African American origin and plays the role of a mother and a wife. In this film, the woman is very quarrelsome and does not have any respect for her husband. She is also very vulgar and does not have any morals towards those around her, as she seems to talk very negatively and gossip around with other fellow hairdressers. Just like women in the first film, she is financially stable and she runs her own business. This is a show of African American women being in control of their financial lives to a given extent. However, her children are equally vulgar and do not have any respect for anyone older or younger. This is a show of failed maternal practice; in this case, the film shows that this woman has failed as a mother, a wife and as a parent in general. At some point in the film, the woman becomes outrageous when she suspects that her husband is cheating on her. She goes to an extent of burning her husband’s clothes. As if this is not enough, the wife goes to the studio where the man works and also attacks him while he is on air with her colleagues. She shouts and calls him names without regard to the fact that her husband is at work with friends, colleagues and bosses.
The second film further portrays African American women as people who cannot hold and sustain relationships for long. They lack proper ethics to solve problems as they arise in relationship. On the parenting scene, the woman has problems living with her step daughters. The daughter insults her but she does not have the right words to speak to the girls. She is unable to exercise her maternal rights and reprimand the child upon committing a mistake. Instead, she goes to her husband and tells him to talk to his daughter or she will throw her out of the house. At some point in the film, she accuses he husband of cheating and she goes ahead to sleep with another man. This is an a formation of the view that African American women are sexually available and do not have boundaries when it comes to doing unethical things in the society.
Many of these films portray African American women as being crass and tactless. This is well brought out in the second film at the point when the woman decides to burn her husband’s cloths and attacks him at his place of work. The stupidity of these women is evident in the first film when the women decide to be single and sleep with any man who comes their way. They stop living the normal ethical life and set out to do things that culturally should not happen. The women in these films lack control over most parts of their lives that the society consider vital in any relationship. They have unethical behavior that according to many writers should be avoided with the aim of making marriages successful.
Despite the negative images painted in these films, there are also some positive aspects of the black American women that the films do point out. The parents in the film “single ladies” tend to advise their children to embrace marriage and should stand by their husbands no matter what they do. They tend to reason that every relationship and hence every marriage has pitfalls that must be considered carefully and solved amicable for understanding and longevity to exist in any marriage or relationships. These films over exaggerate the while scenario of black American women and their roles in the family setting. This cannot be compared to other films about white women and their parenting roles. A show such as sandal shows the president’s wife as being obedient and very in control of her family life. The white wife in scandal is obedient to her husband and does not create embarrassing scene, as is the case with the black women in the two films. In this movie, the white wife suffers in silence as she watches her husband cheat on her with another woman who is apparently of black American origin. The story shoes the president’s wife as having been there in their good and bad times. She even took a loan and educated her husband up to law school, campaigned for him during his election with the aim that he will win the elections and they would live a better life. Nowhere in this film or in the two movies about black women does a white woman appear crass? They also not sexually available and seem to be the best wives. In all the situations, the black women are bad but their white counterparts are the victims.