Stereotypes of Black Female Actresses

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Since the beginning, black female actresses have been afflicted by the stereotypical roles that they play in television shows, short films, and films that made it to the big screen black actresses have been portrayed as being overdramatic, irrational, violent, and unreliable as well as often being either unemployed or working hard labor jobs that are more often than not degrading to the black female character. Black actresses play these roles in television and movies because they are viewed as always struggling and having problems whether that be emotionally and/or financially compared to the roles white women play because they are deemed to be perfect and have everything going for them.

There are many movies where African American actresses played different types of roles that frequently put black women in a negative light. For instance black women play many roles in movies that involve domestic violence where they are helpless in their current situation. Through the course of the films they are usually beaten by their boyfriends, husbands, thugs, etc. Movies and TV shows like these don't just subject stereotypes of black women on their black female actresses but black men as well on how they treat their women. They also have women play roles as single mothers struggling to take care of their children and themselves.

However depending on the storyline of the movie or show sometimes these roles can help prove how strong black women are and that they are indeed capable of taking care of her family and herself without a partner. In other movies they've shown black actresses playing the roles of prostitutes, to uphold the idea that some men think less of black women because they are willing to expose their bodies to anybody for money in return. There are also films that display black women as educated and having successful careers, though those films are in the minority compared to stereotypical films of black women. These roles in films show that not all black women are the same and that there are black women in the world who are successful and educated. Movies like The Help, Diary of a Mad Black Women, The Color Purple, and Why Did I Get Married show the different roles black women represent in films and in real life.

My paper will have a focus on the different roles black women play in films, as well as providing a detailed analysis of the different movies that a black women play in. These movies will give you a new impression of black women and the different stereotypes that they portray. I will discuss some examples from the articles and movies that I have. During my research I will focus on one particular point in each movie so that as a reader you will have a more defined understanding of my topic. There are also other sources that I've used during my research to back up on my topic. Nowadays in society stereotypes in movies have altered a lot due to many people disagreeing and hating the way these stereotypes have shaped the opinions and impressions of black women.

To begin with black women shouldn't to be treated unequally from white women, because whatever a white women can do a color women can do. I believe this because the color of your skin does not dictate what you can accomplish.
This book shows that black women will make sacrifices and do anything for her family. Mammies No More, tells a story of how a black women worked more for the white family rather than her own. In the book it mentions that the mammy is a black women who focuses her time love, devotion..on white particularly her adopted white family, rather than her own (Anderson). This quote demonstrates that black women aren't unreliable but instead are willing to make sacrifices that she deems necessary for the wellbeing of her family even if she's required to spend all their time on their work and less time with their family.

Black women are stereotypically looked at negatively. Our society uses different names to describe them, which I believe shouldn't have any part of stereotyping women of color. Black Women Stereotypes in the Media, is a YouTube video that shows the many views of how black women are stereotyped in the media as, violent, argumentative, loud, less than a man, an object or possession, and having no self-control. The video encourages that black women should always be proud of who they are and have pride in the color of their skin regardless of what people think of them and not pay attention to the negative stereotypes that some people in our society have about them.

In the article Black Women on Screen as Future Text, the author Nina Cartier describes how the impression of black women can change simply by her name regardless of her physical appearance. In Cartier's article she stated that new perspectives on black women's representations in the form of Kerry Washington who plays the role of Olivia Pope from Scandal and Nicki Minaj who is often called and described as black Barbie. With the changing in representation of black women within our society we eliminate some stereotypes while at the same time creating new ones.

For instance we have Madea an older violent yet righteous black women who holds family and respect to the highest of expectations. This character was created and played by Tyler Perry, people prefer him to play the role as Madea because of what the character believes in and how she behaves no matter how misguided or misunderstood she can be. And although the name Madea isn't a traditional name it doesn't come across and ghetto to give the character a negative first impression based off the black name stereotype. An opposing example of stereotyping by name is a television show called Martin. Where the main character Martin also plays the character of his female neighbor, Shanaynay. She is what would be the stereotypical outlandish ghetto person who has what would be considered as a ghetto name.

Some black women in our society were not raised by their mother, and were not taught how to appropriately conduct themselves. African Americans are judged on a day to day basis by the way in which they carry themselves in public and the media. It would be just to believe that women carry themselves in a manner on how they want to live.
In the article Mentoring and Mothering Black Femininity the author focuses on black women and how they are judged by their body, voice and images.

Society's stereotype of African American women exploits problems that anybody could have and applies them to black women, almost singling them out as the only people to have those problems which is indeed not the case. The movie Precious is about a 16 year old girl who was raped by her father and had two kids. The film goes further into her life and how her mother thinks that getting an education is pointless and won't do anything for her. What this film is doing is revealing the hardships some young women live in, in this case the life of living in a bad neighborhood while being a single teenage mother without a support system.

In the world that we live in today there are indeed black women who don't have a job and live off welfare to survive. The stereotype in society is that black women account for the greatest percentage of people who are on welfare, but in all actuality white people make up the greatest percentage of people who receive welfare. But because the media subjects our society to black people being ghetto, living in the hood, and poor African Americans are the ones who receive the negative stereotypes and assumptions.

I think the movie the The Color Purple reveals the many of the stereotypes black women face. The movie is about a black woman living down south who faces adversity on a regular basis. She goes through abuse and as if that isn't enough the problems that she encounters in her life only goes from bad to worse.

Yet the film manages to shed a positive light on the character as a strong determined black women, as she perseveres her dream of one day being able to meet her sister again. Black women face and overcome adversities that others may not understand and comprehend but some people in our modern culture will still manage to avoid looking at the good side of African American women and instead continue to stereotype and discriminate African American women.

In our society today the value of a black women isn't equivalent to the value of a white women, and as irrational as that idea is it is proven that there are people who believe such a thought is true. As if what a white woman has to offer is any more valuable than what a black women has to offer especially if that women of color comes has the same background if not better as that of a white women.

The Help, is about a southern college girl who dreamed of being a writer and decided to interview the black women in a town located in Mississippi during the 1960's who had spent their lives taking care of white families. What this movie shows is the stereotype and the belief that white women hold more value than that of an African American women. Because the girl who wishes to be a writer is interviewing black women who take care of white families and why a white woman at the time wouldn't be doing the things that they do which ultimately lead them to do better things and change their lives. In the movie Dairy of a Mad Black Woman Charles an abusive husband announces to his wife Helen that he was ending their marriage.

And through a lot of rage and emotion Helen's reaction was to destroy some of his stuff. That in itself is one of the stereotypes that is placed upon all black women is that they are loud, irrational, and out of control. In many of the films that cast black women they have them play loud emotionally charged characters that aren't taken as seriously because of their witty banter and outlandish antics. And to put it in comparison there aren't as many films that cast black actresses who play more serious roles as well as successful roles.

There are many stereotypical roles that are given to and played by black actresses in movies which have shaped the perception of public about black women in our culture. Our black women in our society who are just as equal to anyone else and who encounter the same trials in everyday life are much more than maids, prostitutes, and struggling mothers. Which is exactly how the media projects them to their audience whether that's through movies, television shows, and advertisements. Many people despise these stereotypes needless to say the black female population being the greatest population of those who believe these stereotypes are unfairly projected on those who they don't apply. And only through actively trying to get society to realize that these stereotypes are inaccurate, unfair, and in some cases hurtful will the current stereotypes that exist begin to be eliminated.

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Stereotypes Of Black Female Actresses. (2019, Apr 12). Retrieved July 12, 2024 , from

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