By Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant
The defining caliber of Black womanhood is power, states Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant in "Behind the masks of the robust Black Woman". yet, she argues, the assumption of power undermines its actual functionality: to guard and keep a stratified social order by means of obscuring Black women's reviews of discomfort, acts of desperation, and anger. This provocative e-book lays naked the typical conception that power is an exemplary or defining caliber of 'authentic' Black womanhood. the writer, a famous sociologist, interviews fifty eight Black girls approximately being robust and proud, to demonstrate their 'performance' of invulnerability. Beauboeuf-Lafontant explains how such habit ends up in severe signs for those ladies, lots of whom be afflicted by consuming issues and melancholy. Drawing on Black feminist scholarship, cultural reports, and women's background, "Behind the masks of the robust Black lady" lines the old and social affects of normative Black femininity, taking a look at how notions of self-image and energy create a distraction from broader forces of discrimination and gear.
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Extra resources for Behind the mask of the strong black woman: voice and the embodiment of a costly performance
3 For reasons I explore, Black women are more likely to register trauma, 52 / Chapter 2 powerlessness, and gender ambivalence through overeating rather than self-starvation and purging practices (Hesse-Biber 1997; Thompson 1994; Williamson 1998). Like other eating problems, overeating is a “transference process” through which women use their bodies to symbolically absorb and manage injustice in their lives (Thompson 1996). ” For Black women laboring under the burden of strength while immersed in social conditions that assault their minds, bodies, and spirits, bingeing allows them a temporary respite without disturbing their responsibilities to others.
Furthermore, as a strategy of gender upheld in Black communities, strength celebrates Black women’s heroic actions and deﬂects attention from their circumstances. In the process, the social interactions and conventions that create the deﬁning struggle and labor in Black women’s lives are rendered invisible. Strength, then, More Than “the Historical, the Monolithic Me” / 43 is a backward history of Black women, “written after the fact” of their subordination, abandonment, and protective self-silencing (Gilligan 2006, 62).
Embraced as a “powerful cultural signiﬁer,” strength is viewed as a “link to generations of Black women who have overcome adversity, slavery, and racism” (Edge and Rogers 2005, 22). It is therefore ﬁercely claimed by Black women, particularly in the face of perceived attempts to erase their cultural and experiential uniqueness through facile and often unfavorable comparisons to white women (Donovan and Williams 2002). ” Viewed in this way, strength appears to be a culturally generated measure for protecting Black women against a life structured against them.
Behind the mask of the strong black woman: voice and the embodiment of a costly performance by Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant
Categories: African American Studies