I’m back and more or less recovered from my show. It included some really good conversations about Women of Japan and some exciting jewelry commissions. I’ll be posting some new Women of Japan images later this week.
Before I left, we had our panelists’ phone conference. It made me particularly appreciative of Lainad’s reaction on BlogHer. She wrote a remarkably good post on “Black Women and body image” that she said was inspired by the original BlogHer and Body Image post.
She put it up while I was away. If I’d been home I’d have pointed at it a lot sooner.
She comments on the present and historical body image pressures on black women:
From slavery and colonialism to society’s pressure to conform to an archetypical notion of beauty, skin hue, hair texture and body shape have been used to either devalue and/or judge the content of a black woman’s character by comparing their features to a Eurocentric notion of beauty. … The problem, (besides, what compels an individual to perpetuate negative stereotypes?) is the tendency to lump black women as a monolithic entity, where the actions of one person represents the entire population.
And she later comments on community enforcement and re-enforcement of media stereotypes:
Because of the response to [Tyler Perry’s] show, there is a sense that within those who are offended [by his featuring fat black actresses] have bought into popular culture’s obsession with thinness – not being fit or healthy, but the outward appearance of being in shape. Anything that deviates from that – especially within media images – is an embarassment. I’ll argue – with a bit of generalizing, I might add – that because of racism, there is more concern within the black community than any other cultural/ethnic group on how we are perceived by the greater society. More often than not, there is probably a large amount of black people who have experienced being negatively judged based on the actions of someone that they do not know, and while shrugging it off is the most rational reaction to being stereotyped, internalizing and recognizing that it is and will continue to be a common occurrence, leads people to blame those whose images and behaviors are symbolic of what they want to avoid.
She’s really clear and cogent. Read her whole post. These are complex topics where this kind of clarity is helpful and impressive. I’m hoping for more body image conversation with her before BlogHer.