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Contribution to Book
Mammy, Jezebel, Sapphire and their homegirls: Developing an "oppositional gaze" toward the images of Black women
Lectures on the psychology of women (2008)
  • Carolyn M West, University of Washington
Abstract
First, I will discuss why the Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire images were created, why they persist, and how they evolved into contemporary images of, among others, the strong Black woman, freak, and gangsta girl. Second, researchers have documented a link between the internalization of negative stereotypes and chronic health problems, psychological distress, and low self-esteem. Accordingly, I will discuss how the Mammy image can contribute to role strain, which is the challenge of balancing multiple roles, and to concerns about physical features, including skin color, hair texture, and weight. Next, I will discuss how the Jezebel image shapes perceptions of Black women's sexuality and victimization. Finally, I will explore how Black women's expression of anger is shaped by the Sapphire image.
Keywords
  • sexualized media,
  • media images,
  • Mammy,
  • Sapphire,
  • Jezebel,
  • African American women
Publication Date
2008
Editor
J. Chrisler, C. Golden, & P. Rozee
Publisher
McGraw Hill
Citation Information
Carolyn M West. "Mammy, Jezebel, Sapphire and their homegirls: Developing an "oppositional gaze" toward the images of Black women" 4thNew YorkLectures on the psychology of women (2008) p. 286 - 299
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/DrCarolynWest/15/