Well it’s pretty damn damaging trope considering the “strong, independent black woman” who don’t need no man, nor help, apparently is so imbedded in society that white people literally believe black people feel less pain and therefore are administered less pain medicine in need and are given less sympathy when experiencing pain because it’s assumed we’ve been hardened by this life and can “just take it.”
There’s a reason these tropes like “angry black woman” and “strong independent black women” exist, and it isn’t in our favor. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with being independent and I think it is a result of the life we’ve for the most part been forced to lead, but ya gotta realize if we’re subjected to just an independent black woman trope, always tough and always in control, then we’re the joke. We have no femininity. In fact, we’re interchangeable with Black men.
Plus I don’t see why being soft, which shouldn’t even be synonym to sub servant and helpless, is a regressive trait. Needing and relying on help does not make you weak; it makes you human. The fact that society likes to push us into this singular story of the strong and independent black woman with few other facades should make you wary as it perpetuates this idea that we’re in no need of sympathy. Empathy,
Therefore you can be a 19-year old teenage girl in need of help after a car accident, but i’m going to shot you in the back of the head because the idea of a Black woman actually needing help as opposed to being the Help is such a bizarre concept that my life feels threatened, right?
Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.
And I’d like to add this link, as it specifically regards young Black children and fantastical stories. The focus is on sci-fi, but the moral works here too, primarily the takeaway of:
and that’s totally your right!! I’m not here to tell anybody how they should feel about how their own people are represented. All I can tell you is that a lot of black women have written about how the strong, independent black woman trope is damaging and I take them at their word!
blogs like lookatthewords and jhenne-bean are both blogs ran by black women who have talked about Tiana in length before if you feel like talking about it with someone who has a foot in the door, so to speak 🙂
Realism has become a trap for black children and they realize it.
Clutch.com had a thinkpiece on the phrase (+ the internalization of “strong” being the superior and only way for us to operate) stripping away our humanity. BuzzFeed (bear with me) has one that dissects a few current Black women on television, which might help. Mikki Kendall (Karnythia) also has a Storify page housing some great tweets on the subject.
Lookatthewords already hit on the dangers of perpetuating the strong don’t-need-no-help Black woman as a trope, and it certainly helps no one to insist that it is the only portrayal of Black women illustrated in the media.
- Sometimes we want escapism and that is okay.
- Sometimes we want to be romanced and desired and that is okay.
- Sometimes we want to be the Princess right off the bat, without having to slave for our
restaurantcastle, and that is okay.
- Sometimes we just want to be saved, and that is okay.
There is nothing wrong with being soft, or being the princess, or needing help: you can be all those things and still recognized as a Black woman— as a person. Still be a good example.
Imo, it is better to imagine (and write, and portray) black women of all ages in multifaceted and rounded ways.
Very powerful article and truth b told here too.