by April Taylor
In a recent Wellness & Empowerment article on Ebony.com, Daisy Jenkins discusses the role media and culture play in perpetuating demeaning stereotypes about black woman and girls and how people should choose to commit themselves to helping young black girls overcome these stereotypes. From an early age, girls are taught that the culturally accepted standard of beauty is one of whiteness – of light skin, and long, flowing, straight hair.
Media perpetuates and deepens these stereotypes by overly sexualizing black women and by portraying them as needy, subservient, and destitute. The fact that these stereotypes infiltrate the TV Shows, movies, and music videos that bombard children on a daily basis only serves to make it harder to counteract these stereotypes in a way that makes black girls feel empowered and strong in their own right without having to conform to the standards of whiteness that are peddled as the standard of legitimacy and beauty.
Something that is even more disconcerting than the media’s negative influence on young black girls self esteem is the fact that schools have recently joined with the media in making black girls feel as though blackness is a shameful thing by banning certain black hairstyles such as afros, afro puffs, and dreadlocks.
Jenkins discusses how an older woman from her church served as a role model who helped her find strength in her black heritage, and she also encourages us to not just condemn the negative stereotyping of black womanhood but to take a step of action and reach out to mentor young black girls who also need help finding strength and empowerment in their blackness. She suggests reaching out to local schools, churches, and non-profit organizations such as the United Way and Big Brothers, Big Sisters to help find young girls who can benefit most from having strong black mentors in their lives. Even if it is just an hour a week, we have the ability to be positive, empowering examples of what it means to be a strong, empowered, and proud black woman with positive contributions to make to society.
This article was originally published at Black Life Coaches
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.