Citation

The ‘Strong Black Woman:’ African American Women’s Answer To Denigrating Images Of African American Womanhood?

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Abstract:

African American women have contended with multiple denigrating portrayals of African American womanhood in the media (Abdullah, 1998; Mitchell & Herring, 1998; West, 1995). In response to these persistent disparaging representations, media outlets, like Essence Magazine, began showcasing favorable images of ‘strong’ African American women. The ‘Strong Black Woman’ (SBW) cultural symbol has been adopted as a positive image that affirms African American women’s ability to endure and combat historical, political, and societal oppression (Beauboeuf-Lafontant, 2007).
Although the SBW cultural symbol elicits feelings of empowerment among African American women, its internalization promotes attitudes of self-reliance and self-silence as a response to stressors and life demands (Beauboeuf-Lafontant 2007; Black & Peacock, 2011; Woods-Giscombe, 2010). As a result, research has begun to demonstrate that the internalization of the SBW cultural symbol can have deleterious effects on African American women’s health, including emotional inhibition, delayed preventive care, and underutilization of mental health services (Beauboeuf-Lafontant 2007; Woods-Giscombe, 2010; Watson & Hunter, 2012). In turn, these harmful health behaviors may contribute to African American women’s disproportionate experience of cardiovascular disease (Thom et al., 2006), obesity (Wang & Beydoun, 2007), and untreated psychological conditions, like depression and anxiety (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2009). Thus, the SBW creates a double bind for African American women in that they are forced to choose between a positive representation of their African American womanhood and their overall physical and psychological health.
This presentation will discuss how, despite being heralded as a much needed response to denigrating images of African American womanhood, the SBW creates a new stereotype that has deleterious consequences for African American women’s health. This presentation will also discuss qualitative findings regarding the ways in which the SBW ideology is enacted in response to African American women’s social location within various layers of oppression.
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Association:
Name: SCRA Biennial Meeting
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http://www.scra27.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p653133_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Watson, Natalie. "The ‘Strong Black Woman:’ African American Women’s Answer To Denigrating Images Of African American Womanhood?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the SCRA Biennial Meeting, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, <Not Available>. 2014-12-11 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p653133_index.html>

APA Citation:

Watson, N. "The ‘Strong Black Woman:’ African American Women’s Answer To Denigrating Images Of African American Womanhood?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the SCRA Biennial Meeting, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida <Not Available>. 2014-12-11 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p653133_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: African American women have contended with multiple denigrating portrayals of African American womanhood in the media (Abdullah, 1998; Mitchell & Herring, 1998; West, 1995). In response to these persistent disparaging representations, media outlets, like Essence Magazine, began showcasing favorable images of ‘strong’ African American women. The ‘Strong Black Woman’ (SBW) cultural symbol has been adopted as a positive image that affirms African American women’s ability to endure and combat historical, political, and societal oppression (Beauboeuf-Lafontant, 2007).
Although the SBW cultural symbol elicits feelings of empowerment among African American women, its internalization promotes attitudes of self-reliance and self-silence as a response to stressors and life demands (Beauboeuf-Lafontant 2007; Black & Peacock, 2011; Woods-Giscombe, 2010). As a result, research has begun to demonstrate that the internalization of the SBW cultural symbol can have deleterious effects on African American women’s health, including emotional inhibition, delayed preventive care, and underutilization of mental health services (Beauboeuf-Lafontant 2007; Woods-Giscombe, 2010; Watson & Hunter, 2012). In turn, these harmful health behaviors may contribute to African American women’s disproportionate experience of cardiovascular disease (Thom et al., 2006), obesity (Wang & Beydoun, 2007), and untreated psychological conditions, like depression and anxiety (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2009). Thus, the SBW creates a double bind for African American women in that they are forced to choose between a positive representation of their African American womanhood and their overall physical and psychological health.
This presentation will discuss how, despite being heralded as a much needed response to denigrating images of African American womanhood, the SBW creates a new stereotype that has deleterious consequences for African American women’s health. This presentation will also discuss qualitative findings regarding the ways in which the SBW ideology is enacted in response to African American women’s social location within various layers of oppression.


Similar Titles:
African-American Middle-Class Mothers’ Work and Family Perspectives: Negotiating the Welfare Queen and the Strong Black Woman


 
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