African American Women And Film Analysis

Superior Essays
African American women have been faced with severe discrimination and challenges when it comes to getting favorable roles on television shows and movies. In 2013, African Americans played in only 13 percent of roles in film (Crigger and Santhanam, 1). Women are fighting for representation on television and in movies every day, and it is rare to see an African American woman with a role that is not considered offensive. Men do not have a problem getting favorable roles for any type of film. Cheung stated that “negative imagery of black women appears twice as often as positive depictions, Essence reported in 2013” (1). African American women are getting more acting time in television shows and movies, but are being portrayed negatively compared …show more content…
Results showed that there was a significant relationship between gender and humiliation (Smith, 43). No matter what race a person may be, it is more likely that the women will be given the less desirable role, or none at all. African American women are usually only given opportunities to act or be a part of a show when the role requires being ruthless and rude. It is not unusual for women to work harder to receive more desirable roles, while men are just given desirable roles. This shows it is especially hard for African American women to fight for roles in movies and television alone, and even more difficult to acquire roles that are not offensive. Smith said that women are faced with stereotypes that are seen in characters such as The Mammy and The Sapphire (41). Some stereotypes about African American women in movies and television shows would include being loud, entitled, and angry as well as being portrayed as a servant. The Sapphire is known for her “loud and aggressive behavior”, which could easily be seen as “arrogance and meanness”, said Smith (42). The Mammy is depicted as a black character that is attending to and caring deeply for a white family, often times more than her own, but still knowing her role as strictly a servant (Ngobili, 1). Although The Mammy portrays a considerably caring woman, it is easy for a viewer to give any character their …show more content…
Squire reports that the publishing of the movie Stella was a breakthrough for all women, but in particular, African American women (1). In the film, Stella is a single mother caring for and providing all the opportunities possible for her daughter, which she never had. This movie allowed women to have their own story, rather than being the secondary part in a man’s story (Squire, 1). This shows a breakthrough for African American women because they are no longer shown as helpless, but are able to care for themselves and others. In more recent shows, that are fiction, such as Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, African American women are given roles that involve “vicious bickering” and other negative traits (Cheung, 1). When a scene where a white man and a black woman is shown, odds are the black woman will be the antagonist in the situation. It is quite unusual to see an African American woman with a role that has characteristics of a sweet, gentle, and forgiving person. Wood gives examples of movies in which women are viewed as “evil”, “cold” and “aggressive”, in specific, Alex in Fatal Attraction (33). On the other hand, men are portrayed as “active, adventurous, and powerful”, which is simply reinforcing gender

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