Chapters 3& 4 Mammies, Matriachs, and other Controlling Images

I found chapters three and four in Patricia Hill
Collins, Black Feminist Thought very interesting
especially chapter four because it put how society viewed black women in post-World
War II to today’s modern era. Collins argued and I quote, “Controlling images are
designed to make racism, sexism, poverty and other forms of social injustice appear
to be normal, and inevitable parts of everyday life” (77). I found this to be
true as Collin’s painted the history of how society viewed the black women, not
only then but even now. Collins spoke about five controlling images of the
black woman which were the Mammy, the Matriarch, the welfare mother or welfare
queen, the black lady, and finally the jezebel/hoochie. Collins indicated that portraying
African- American women as these stereotypes only help justify black women’s intersecting
oppression of race, class, gender and sexuality. For example the first controlling
image applied to black women was the mammy who was a faithful and obedient
servant whose image represents the status quo used to evaluate all black women
behavior or at least how whites would like black women to be. “The mammy image
is central to intersecting oppressions of race, gender, sexuality, and class. Regarding
racial oppression, controlling images like the mammy aim to influence Black
maternal behavior (Collins 80).”   (madamenoire.com).  I agree with Collins when she says in contemporary times the work performed by poor black women resembles duties long associated
with domestic service or duties like a mammy. Black women today still perform
similar task today as they did many years ago now just under a different setting
like in home care or a nanny. My next Controlling image I would like to speak
about that really struck a chord with me is the jezebel or the hoochie mama. I
feel out of all the controlling images that are out in the world “she” is the
most out there because she is mainstream in a lane all of her own on display
for the world to see. Collins states that the jezebel efforts to control the
black woman’s sexuality lie at the heart of the black women’s oppressions,
historical jezebels and contemporary hoochies represent a deviant Black female
sexuality. In today’s era there are thousands of jezebels in the media and I think
that the world view black women as a sex symbol. For example Nicki Minaj and
all the video vixens we see on tv. Those controlling images Collins speaks of
are still very much alive today. (filipspagnoli.wordpress.com)

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