Recently I was asked a question in light of the new year, "What can Black women do to be more womanly?" I thought for a second because truthfully the question sounded kind of strange. I'm not a fashion expert nor do I dabble in makeup artistry so my advice wasn't going to dwell on those points. Then it hit me like a Mac truck. (Get it? Mac? No? Okay.) The one thing Black women can do to be better in general is to be themselves.
Now hold on. This isn't going to be corny, I swear. As many people have already complained, everyone wants to be a barbie now. With the newly found fame of Nicki Minaj, young Black women seem to have found a new leader and model for success. Because of her nicknames of Nicki Minaj and Nicki the Harajuku Barbie, there has been a massive surge of name changes across the world.
No, the DMV hasn't been ambushed, I'm talking about on social networking sites. Those with Facebooks, MySpaces, or Twitters can attest to this. How many Jane Minaj's do you know? How many people do you follow with the word 'Barbie' in their name? That's not to say that men aren't being equally as insane with the Joseph WakaFlaka Smiths' out there. But this is focused on the women. I say all that to say, my answer to that question was be yourself because we can't be feeding into the gross stereotypes of the past. What stereotypes are those you ask?
Patricia Hill-Collins wrote about the four main stereotypes or controlling images for Black women. These stereotypes are the Mammy, the Matriarch, the Welfare Mother, and finally the Jezebel or the Whore. According to Hill-Collins, these are images that were used to oppress black women. According to Hazel Carby, these images are used "not to reflect or represent a reality but to function as a disguise, or mystification, of objective social relations."
In other words, they don't reflect the true nature of Black women and simply classify them, it instead makes it appear as...