Evident in most ‘Hip- hop’ music videos is the sudductive women in the background the ultimate rappers accesorry, the ‘big butt’ to Sir-Mix-alot fantasy and the inspiration to the dance craze called ‘twerk’. This idea is implemented by comporary artist black and white alike from Miley Cyrus’s to Sir-Mix-Alot the bubble butt concept has been around for a while.
It is only recently that there has been a shift from what Bates’ calls “the wanton-hussy stereotype”, and for the first time black American women can stop spending their times disavowing this stereotype and indulge in the newly formed ‘chocolate fantasies’, though it comes to question whether this is a step forward or two steps back. Historically men ruled the airwaves so it was well received amongst young African American girls when Barbara Streisand and Donna Summer took the mic, and soon after girl power began gaining legitimacy due to T.V shows like Wonder Woman, Charlie’s Angels and later Spice girls. However in Gail Elizabeth Wyatt’s new book ‘Stolen Women: Reclaiming our Sexuality, Taking Back Our Lives’ she states “black women were sold on auction blocks; and 500 years later, that’s still all people know about us. We’re a commodity. Expendable.”
The saying ‘sex sell’ works as you can observe in the image below, yet there seems to be a gravitation towards Bates’ definition as the image of Alicia Keys, Beyoncè, Rihanna and Nicki Minage (Image 1) revert back to what icons such Dianna Ross, Whitney Houston and Billie Holiday (Image 2) have worked so hard to fight. Okay not so much Tina Turner (Image 3) but you get my point.
So when I see Nicki Minage in one of her music videos parade around half naked and celebrating I think of a quote Denies Kefentse referenced which states “Our ancestors wept when they were paraded, naked, before strangers. These women are doing it with a smile.”
In 1986 Bandura introduced the idea of Social Cognitive Theory hypothesizes that people tend to learn from and imitate other people. The media a tool for sexual scripting of behaviours for adolescents and commonly used to “gain information about gender roles” (Chapin, 2000 , p. 803) usually found in popular music, movies, television and magazines. Another of Bandura’s theories that apply is Social Learning Theory which states that novel behaviours are modelled by others, observed and reproduced, so knowing this, correcting these stereotypes and views of black women should be altered as they educate the youths about not only their past but their possible future.
We should be focusing on the sacrifices early black actresses like Ethel Waters and Hattie McDaniels made with the only roles they could play were maids, while Dorothy Dandridge played a temptress. Years later their black sisters are able to play lawyers, teachers or even have reality television series showing their lives as doctors (Married to Medicine) and housewives (Real Housewives of Atlanta),
For a look at a campaign trying to educate people about breaking these stereotypes hit the link below.
Kefentse, D 2006, Why a Black Women Loves Barbara, Torstar Syndication Services, Toronto, Canada, p 1-3
Bates, K.G 1997, Let’s Not Indulge Society’s ‘Chocolate’ Fantasies, Tribune Publishing Company, Los Angeles, US, pp. 1-7
Chapin, J.R 2000, Adolescent sex and mass media: A developmental approach, Libra Publish incorporated, Roslyn Heights, US, pp.799- 811