Jezebel and Mammy; The Mythology of Female Slavery

Jezebel and Mammy; The Mythology of Female Slavery

Jezebel and Mammy

Women complaining of sexual harassment or any sexually abusive act are attacked on the carelessness premise as being liable to exposing oneself to foreseen dangers. The discussion wrongly assumes that the victim is a willing participant in any unfolding events of sexual harassment. Jezebel and Mammy are figures used to symbolize the stereotypes attached to African American women, with Jezebel likened to the biblical evil woman. She is described as being alluring and sexually immoral with every of her actions ensuing from an aspect of lust. This portrays African American women as promiscuous.

A black woman is depicted as one with a ravenous thirst for sex that cannot be satisfied by black men. In the publication, it is argued that black women sought after white men therefore any claims of rape where nullified as she was branded as being a willful participant. This I believe is an erratic stand, obsolete from the observance of past successful black marriages devoid of any promiscuous behavior. It is quite sad to note that slave women who were sexually harassed in the past were never avenged as they were handled as property and not people who deserved dignity. As a mode payment, they were promised reduced labor in exchange with sexual favors to their masters. Slaves who declined their master’s sexual advances risked being beaten up, or sold elsewhere. Additionally, sexual advances by the whites were not viewed as rape against the vulnerable slaves.

From these preceding observances, I believe that traces of the same presently exist within the society as evidenced by violent relationships stemming from such inhuman viewpoints. For black women slaves to survive, they had to get into habits that gave the whites apparent chances to take advantage of their vulnerability bring about the idea that black women are naturally promiscuous. This stereotype continues to date as sexual abuse of African American women persists to increase especially in densely populated low income areas. The Europeans view of Africans as people of overwhelming lust is founded on the ground that their culture embraces polygamy. This is quite judgmental and unfair by the fact that the white populace does suffer form instances of promiscuity; the sexual partners may not be legal spouse but the idea of collective affairs is evidenced in both instances.

Slave Hair and African Culture

            Hair in the African culture was one of the most important features of an ideal beautiful woman. This was a source of identity and strength for African women and had a significant role in a woman’s self-acceptance. The Europeans quite aware of this always cut off a woman’s hair within the slaving period. This was intended to demoralize them and make them easy to control, especially in sexual associations. Slaves who were permitted to keep their hair were overworked in such a way that they had no time to tend to their beautiful hair. Embarrassed by their undone hair, they would settle into hiding by wrapping their heads in rags; a very dehumanizing factor indeed.

Presently, African American women have a high attachment to their hair with baldness being highly shunned amongst the populace. In fact, in a bid to patch the differences and prejudice that may have been picked within the given period with regard to the white populace, various hair weaves are presently available. I believe that this is in a bid to salvage a form of identity amongst longhaired populaces like the whites, perhaps due to the inferiority imparted within the past. Shaving off the slaves’ hair was the beginning of the abandonment of the African culture to embrace the new world’s culture. Human hair in every culture is very important and one has the right to have his or her own hair as they wish to. The fact that the slaves did not have this kind of freedom to manage their hair as they wished was a clear indication that they were not well thought-out as humans.

The result was that the African woman yearned to look like the whites. African Americans with black and kinky hair were therefore considered less attractive. Long and flowing hair became the standard good-looking hair, a prerequisite for major association and class. As the African common ways of maintaining their hair were abandoned, new methods had to be invented. The use of hot metal combs a French invention was established. There was also a range of hair care products and inventions that saw black women take care of their hair and make remarkable steps towards acquiring a white identity. This problem as earlier identified still surges presently with a woman’s hair remaining a high priority as far as beauty is a cause of concern.

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