On Psychological Oppression And Controlling Images - Philosophy Of Women - Essay

747 words - 3 pages

On Stereotypes

The articles On Psychological Oppression and Controlling Images both talk about negative
stereotypical representations of women. Both readings explain why stereotyping harms people
and why it is psychologically oppressive. These two articles argue that stereotyping is wrong as
it justifies the oppression and often makes the object of a stereotype believe in it. Also, both
Patricia Hill Collins and Sandra Lee Bartky discuss the problem of cultural domination and
woman's subordination.

In Controlling Images, Collins talks about how African-American women get oppressed by
being objects of stereotyping. Her critique on controlling images includes an analysis of the
mammy, matriarch, welfare mother, and jezebel. The "mammy image", Collins writes, is an
image of an asexual woman, a loyal, obedient servant to the white family. This stereotypical
image was created in order to hide the fact of economic exploitation of black women who work
for white families. The second image is one of a Black Matriarch. A Matriarch is a working
mother who failed to fulfill the traditional "womanly" duties. They are often abandoned by their
husbands and seem very aggressive and unfeminine. This stereotype also supports oppression as
it makes women feel guilty and punished them for being a "bad mammy." "The welfare mother"
is the third stereotype that Collins discusses in her article. This controlling image is a source of
oppression as it punishes women for being lazy and failing to work. Just like a matriarch, the
welfare mother is seen as a bad caretaker. This stereotype "shifts the angle of vision away from
structural sources of poverty and blames the victims themselves." (Collins, 80) The last one is
the image of "the Jezebel," who is seen as a sexually aggressive woman. It symbolizes black
female sexuality as authoritative and masculine. Collins says that this is at the heart of the
woman's oppression as it attempts to control Black women's sexuality and provides a strong
rationale for the sexual assaults. Collins says that "portraying African-American women as
stereotypical mammies, matriarchs, welfare recipients, and hot mommas helps justify U.S. Black
women's oppression.(Collins, 69) These images, Collins states, are used to make black women's
oppression seem natural and normal.

Bartky also contends that stereotyping is very oppressive. She belie...

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