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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 19 nudity. An inside photo is nearly the same except Elliott’s tongue protrudes from her mouth in a sensual fashion. Almost like Essence, VIBE makes an attempt to (hetero)sexualize Elliott. The other two full-page photos feature Elliott in her trademark androgynous style. Interestingly, her body language is reflective of the masculine concept of "cool pose." She looks to be in a state of braggadocio. These masculine poses are a complete turn around from the sexualized images found on the cover and contents pages of the magazine. Two additional photos show Elliott in one of her first televised appearances and on the set of one of her video shoots. In both photos, she appears with other people. They are not altogether insignificant as they illustrate the evolution of Elliott’s image. However, it is interesting how the magazine invokes the male gaze on the cover then turns this gaze around with the inside photos. Jones’ photos are even more surreal and blatantly sexualized. The cover shot shows Jones scantily clad on all fours in colorful makeup. Fittingly, the words "Sex Kitten Lil' Kim Is Ready to Roar" accompany this image. Everything about the image suggests sex or sexuality. The first photo of the story is most surreal. Jones lies prone in a mass of water wearing only a silver bikini and plastic shoes--she is a "ghetto mermaid." The next photo is an extreme close-up of Jones’ face. Her hair is in ponytails and her mouth is opened in a wide "O." Her bare shoulders imply nudity. Overall, this photo implies the madonna-whore dichotomy for which she is famous. The next photo is interesting in its symbolism. Jones is a police officer wielding a nightstick. She only wears the uniforms hat and shirt, which is wide opened, revealing a black leather bikini. Furthermore, her legs are opened, reminiscent of the now infamous promotional poster for her first album. She is an authority figure, displaying that which has made her famous

Authors: Brooks, TaKeshia.
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background image
Black Womanhood 19
nudity. An inside photo is nearly the same except Elliott’s tongue protrudes from her
mouth in a sensual fashion. Almost like Essence, VIBE makes an attempt to
(hetero)sexualize Elliott. The other two full-page photos feature Elliott in her trademark
androgynous style. Interestingly, her body language is reflective of the masculine
concept of "cool pose." She looks to be in a state of braggadocio. These masculine poses
are a complete turn around from the sexualized images found on the cover and contents
pages of the magazine. Two additional photos show Elliott in one of her first televised
appearances and on the set of one of her video shoots. In both photos, she appears with
other people. They are not altogether insignificant as they illustrate the evolution of
Elliott’s image. However, it is interesting how the magazine invokes the male gaze on the
cover then turns this gaze around with the inside photos.
Jones’ photos are even more surreal and blatantly sexualized. The cover shot
shows Jones scantily clad on all fours in colorful makeup. Fittingly, the words "Sex
Kitten Lil' Kim Is Ready to Roar" accompany this image. Everything about the image
suggests sex or sexuality. The first photo of the story is most surreal. Jones lies prone in
a mass of water wearing only a silver bikini and plastic shoes--she is a "ghetto mermaid."
The next photo is an extreme close-up of Jones’ face. Her hair is in ponytails and her
mouth is opened in a wide "O." Her bare shoulders imply nudity. Overall, this photo
implies the madonna-whore dichotomy for which she is famous. The next photo is
interesting in its symbolism. Jones is a police officer wielding a nightstick. She only
wears the uniforms hat and shirt, which is wide opened, revealing a black leather bikini.
Furthermore, her legs are opened, reminiscent of the now infamous promotional poster
for her first album. She is an authority figure, displaying that which has made her famous


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