The novel shows black people who are aware of the danger of conforming to Western standards of beauty. In the beginning of the novel, Claudia describes herself as indifferent; She realizes that she does not really hate Maureen but instead hated “the thing that made her beautiful” (Morrison, page 58). Claudia always asked herself “What was the secret? ...Why was it important? And so what?” (Morrison, page 57) It was the ideology of whiteness that made Maureen Paul beautiful.
This appears to be incontrovertibly an act of cowardice and submission to white dominance. Her first boyfriend, George, who is a rich African American, yet obviously subservient to Caucasian ways, will later comment that Beneatha “looks eccentric” (Hansberry 82), when he encounters Beneatha’s hair unstraightened and mutilated instead. This underlines how so many African Americans were fawning to Caucasian culture and even started to find it more attractive. Her early hairstyle symbolizes the loss of ethnic identity among the African American community, due to social oppression and racism. However, Hansberry hints early in the play that there maybe some so called brainwashed African Americans who retain strong, dormant, patriotic values.
At another level, the Wayanses effectively spoof the history of white America 's myth regarding black men and their alleged obsession with white women. Given that Latrell becomes obsessed with "Tiffany" (whom we know to be Marcus), there is a sense in which the taboo against miscegenation is not threatened. After all, Tiffany is not a real white woman and is thereby not in danger of being sexually "sullied." Nevertheless, the Wayanses creatively exploit Latrell 's interactions with "Tiffany" in ways that effectively delineate various subtle and not-so-subtle racist motifs. There are other moments that Latrell 's relationship with "real" white women speaks to deep fantasies and fears around the bountiful "sexual virility" of the black male body, even to the point of playing on the theme of the black male body 's sexuality as a site of sadism - and the aggressive sexual appetites of white women who actually desire to play in the dark Within the context of the film, white women 's desire for the black male body invokes the theme of masochism and the white man 's greatest fear.
In the section of endangered black men, Morgan is unsympathetic of the black woman’s attitude toward black men and believes they are no difference than a white racist by not seeing the black men’s beauty and worth. Furthermore, Joan theorizes black women in the hip-hop generation feel this way about black men because of their lack of a positive relationship with their father. The author uses her personal experience as an example of the poor relationship with her father and how she learned to accept him for who he was. Morgan concludes, black women have a hard time dealing with black men because they attract whom they reflect inside. Also, the mother’s feeling about men sends a dangerous message to her son raising him to be dependent on women and developing a sexist
The white images of beauty have become the ideal for everyone from Pecola’s community. They however cannot reach this ideal of blond hair, blue eyes and white skin. Therefore they are forced to feel inferior. This implies that they are taught to hate themselves. This is what the evil of colonialism has done to the African Americans in the name of “civilizing mission”.
This phenomenon has led to serious problematic implications for Black women. As Wallace claims, it is not beneficial for Black women to make them feel they are invincible and unsusceptible to the dangers of the world. It is an injustice rather, to perpetuate the stereotype as being weak is the key to becoming strong. Black Male/Female Relationships Wallace states that Black men have an affinity for White women, that has resulted out Wallace (1979) states that there has been a breakdown in Black male and female relationships due to a
Just remember that I wouldn't hurt you for nothing in this world” (78). Fonny knows that because Tish is a black woman, that she has been an object of sexual dominance by white men, so he tries to console her. When Fonnys tells Tish that he belongs to her and that he would not hurt her, he is telling Tish that he is not going to treat her the same way that white men have. Then, when Tish and Fonny are in the act of intercourse, Tish, “held him by his nappy hair” (79). The word “nappy” is used to describe the texture of the hair of black people.
From an ethnic point of view the standard of beauty is related to White race and it prevents African-Americans to recognize beauty in their own race, thus making them invisible. The message is not only aesthetic, it implies the superiority of one race over the other, Black means invisibility and White is power. Therefore, most of the people in the novel identify with this ideal in order to “be” noticed, to become someone. African-American women turn to the movies for role models to follow, the young girls with Shirley Temple who although being white, dances with “Bojangles” a black man. Their mothers also copy white movie stars hairstyle and makeup and turn to them seeking a role model of beauty and happy life.
Also, important to note that often the mainstream feminist movement has a bad habit of leaving behind this groups of women and their issues. The feminist movement has focused mostly on the issues of middle-class white females and this is leaving out a lot of women. How can a movement of women really be effective without talking about the needs of all women? That's why
Curley’s wife uses Crook’s skin color to her advantage because during that time, black people were oppressed. Although she projects power, it is only to hide her vulnerability. She explains why she is dissatisfied with her life to Lennie and why she is living the way she is now. “Coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes--all them nice clothes like they wear” (Steinbeck 97). Curley’s wife admits she doesn’t actually like Curley and married Curley because she didn’t want ruin her life.
Since the abolishment of slavery black women are no long being forced to alter their hair; however the underlying principle still remains as society indirectly forces black women to alter their hair in order to “fit in” as society says having straightened hair symbolizes femininity. Once again these standards exclude black women as their “kinky” hair does not fit into societal norms of feminine. Therefore they must alter their hair, may it be chemically or thermally, in order to come close to the dominant standard of beauty (Donald,year). In essence, among black women hair alteration is done because of outside pressures and as times process they began altering their hair as a means to feeling beautiful within themselves rather then self hatred.
Women in this time were expected to be pure and pias. Women also did not plage a huge role in how history was being written. Black women specifically were double oppressed due to the fact that they were a woman and black. Distinctions that Zinn cited between white and black female oppression were obviously the racial bias, and the class condition and class bias. Women have always been held behind men in society but as a black women you were extra behind.