The Matriarch Image Analysis

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The Matriarch is another damaging stereotype that emerged from slavery. In contrast to the Jezebel image, the Matriarch image was embraced and was perceived as not destructive to the Black woman. “If Black women could be attacked for being promiscuous, they certainly could not be attacked for being strong” (Harris, 110). During slavery, the role of the Black women as the head of the slave family was overemphasized. After slavery, a government report in the 1960s created the Matriarch image. The report stated that slavery destroyed Black families by reversing the roles for men and women (Donovan, 99). The Matriarch image describes a woman who is “overly aggressive, unfeminine, and who emasculates black men” (Gillium,3). Her primary role is depicted as emasculating Black men by verbally assaulting them in a “loud, animated, and verbose fashion” (Gillium,3). Not only does the Matriarch emasculate Black men verbally, but also by taking the leadership role in the family. The characteristics of this stereotypical image build the persona of the strong Black woman. As a form of resistance many…show more content…
Strength was the only quality that was available to black women and without the assistance of anything they only had their bodies and minds to protect them. Although their bodies and minds had been frequently and accessibly violated, this image of the Black woman serves more of traits than a stereotype. These traits are what have damaging effects on the Black women and their children. The assumed strength that Black women supposedly must possess is emotionally harmful to Black women, especially ones whose bodies were sexually violated (Harris, 111). Therefore, it is assumed that Black women are inherently strong and resilient, which is destructive for Black rape survivors because they are perceived as less traumatized than other victims (Donovan,
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