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you a stone freak in yo own skin: Missy Elliott's and Lil' Kim's Constructions of Black Womanhood
Unformatted Document Text:  Black Womanhood 15 release of Jones’ sophomore album, but in those four years, Jones managed to exploit her Lil’ Kim persona to the fullest. Essence. Essence is geared toward an older, middle class female audience. The photos of the Elliott and Jones tell very distinct stories of each woman. Elliott’s face is flawlessly made up and her eyes are closed, drawing attention to her long eyelashes. The first inside photo is a close-up, this time with Elliott playfully looking back at the camera with a slight smile. Her hair is over one eye. These photos appear to capture Elliott in a multi-dimensional light: she is a businesswoman, but she is also beautiful and sexy. Furthermore, her silver jewelry and diamonds are a testament to her financial success. The next three photos were not done exclusively for Essence, but they are essential to Elliott's image: These photos are takes from three of Elliott's music videos. Readers are made aware of Elliott's ability to become a chameleon, transforming herself for whatever the occasion calls. However, even though the author makes much of Elliott's "sensuously ample frame" none of the magazine's exclusive photos focus on Elliott's body. The most interesting aspect of Elliott's cover shot is that it attempts to move her away from her usually androgynous appearance and feminize (heterosexualize) her. It seems to play with the idea that Elliott is a businesswoman (in a blue shirt and purple tie), yet she is very feminine (she holds the tie in between two fingers with the edge of the tie between her teeth). It is still invisible. The photos are not very far removed from the traditional male gaze, but they still disembody her. Her “sensuously ample frame,” as described in the article, is still shunned as an object (pun intended) of beauty and sexual desire.

Authors: Brooks, TaKeshia.
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background image
Black Womanhood 15
release of Jones’ sophomore album, but in those four years, Jones managed to exploit her
Lil’ Kim persona to the fullest.
Essence. Essence is geared toward an older, middle class female audience. The photos
of the Elliott and Jones tell very distinct stories of each woman. Elliott’s face is
flawlessly made up and her eyes are closed, drawing attention to her long eyelashes. The
first inside photo is a close-up, this time with Elliott playfully looking back at the camera
with a slight smile. Her hair is over one eye. These photos appear to capture Elliott in a
multi-dimensional light: she is a businesswoman, but she is also beautiful and sexy.
Furthermore, her silver jewelry and diamonds are a testament to her financial success.
The next three photos were not done exclusively for Essence, but they are essential to
Elliott's image: These photos are takes from three of Elliott's music videos. Readers are
made aware of Elliott's ability to become a chameleon, transforming herself for whatever
the occasion calls. However, even though the author makes much of Elliott's "sensuously
ample frame" none of the magazine's exclusive photos focus on Elliott's body. The most
interesting aspect of Elliott's cover shot is that it attempts to move her away from her
usually androgynous appearance and feminize (heterosexualize) her. It seems to play
with the idea that Elliott is a businesswoman (in a blue shirt and purple tie), yet she is
very feminine (she holds the tie in between two fingers with the edge of the tie between
her teeth). It is still invisible. The photos are not very far removed from the traditional
male gaze, but they still disembody her. Her “sensuously ample frame,” as described in
the article, is still shunned as an object (pun intended) of beauty and sexual desire.


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