Stereotypes Of Black Women: Love & Hip Hop: New York Case Studies Example
Cinematograph has many stereotypes. Films show images of Black people that started to form since the Civil War or even earlier. These old stereotypes combine with new believes about African-Americans. The “Mammy” is the famous example of “ancient” images. This character was often presented as “maternal, obese, non threatening, deeply religious, unattractive woman” (Ngobili). The Mammy played a role of the mother or mentor for her white employers and often cared about them more than about herself or her own family. The Brash Women or Saphire is an opposite stereotype. This is a type of “rude, loud, malicious, stubborn, emasculating women” (Ngobili). They described as unhappy persons who want to criticize everyone, especially African American men. I think the reality TV show Love & Hip Hop: New York shows the version of this stereotype. This essay is based on episodes from the 6th season of the program.
Love & Hip Hop: New York demonstrates African-American women that are involved in the hip hop industry. Characters have different body constitutions, but most of them show similar traits and behavior. It looks like the common type of personality for this show is the “Angry Black Woman”.
Most characters look vulgarly and even scarily sometimes. In the first episode Rah Ali and Rammy Ma were presented as stereotypical African-American women. They have ample curves (implants, probably) and do not hesitate to demonstrate them. In the club both women wore clinging dresses with deep neckline. This outfit fitted the environment, but still looked a bit vulgarly in my opinion. Characters showed even stranger clothes during monologues. For example, Lexxy wore something purple and shiny in the first episode. The character from the second episode of the 6th season had the red wig that looked unnatural because of its artificiality and her skin color.
It looked like many characters modified their bodies with the help of surgery. They have big fake nails and eyelashes. Plush lips are common trait for this race, but it felt like some characters enlarged them by purpose. Women also often wear big round earrings.
The show represented African-American women as people without good taste in the traditional sense. Characters remind magpies – they like everything bright, shiny and colorful. It can be a common clothes for representatives of the hip hop music, but auditory often carry the impression over other spheres. Common African-American women wear similar clothes as their white counterparts. There is an example in the video with review of 3rd episode of the 6th season. Both female DJs have ordinary clothing (AfterBuzz TV). There is another example in the 4th episode. Rich’s daughter Ashley has casual appearance. However, she is not a main character.
Women in the Love & Hip Hop: New York are aggressive. They are ready to attack opponents. It looks like women could fight if security guards would not be there. Characters also behave like stereotypical hip hop performers. Their voices and movements help to imagine person in designer workout gear, big chain and rings, who crosses arms and speaks like “what’s up dudes”. Active gesticulation looks like a sing of covert aggression.
Characters have loud, sharp voices. They have mannered speech and gesticulating actively during the conversation. Women often swear even when they do not argue. For example, characters use the “b-word” during calm conversations.
It is possible to say the show represents black women as promiscuous females or Jezebel type. There is a support for this hypothesis at the beginning of the 3rd episode. Here Amina and Tara argued because the last girl slept with Amina’s husband. Ashley can be treated as another example of stereotypical accessibility. The 16-year-old girl mentioned she already lost virginity. However, there can be an opposite opinion. Amina and other character Yorma both worried about problems in their relations. This attitude show characters prefer monogamy. It was white girl Mariahlynn who said she does not care if her current boyfriend would meet with other women.
The show demonstrates two types of African-American women. First is party girl without high visible levels of manners or education. This type refers to most characters. They work hard in their sphere, and hip hop could affect their appearance and behavior. However, characters often do not switch from their “musical image” even in the everyday life. That is why women look like shallow, vulgar and aggressive persons. I can not call all of them promiscuous. In this case Love & Hip Hop shows the situation depends on woman’s personality, like in other races. However, the show creates the negative impression about African-Americans by showing them as a threat source. While women fought only with each other and had some reasons for aggression, their face expressions created a feeling they are ready to attack anyone who even would look in their direction. Characters also were a real source of the verbal abuse. While they used “b-word” as a kind of linker (show did not even bleep it), many people perceive it as an insult.
The second type is Ashley who can be called a “hidden rebel”. It looks like parents try to raise her right, but can not give an appropriate example. Some of her actions are similar to main characters’ behavior, but father can not accept it, even if he easily gets along with other women.
The media affects society’s attitude to different groups of people. Black people often presented as addicts, while statistics shows white youth takes more drugs than their African-American counterparts. Media forms opinion about groups’ or single persons’ behavior and does not often reflect the real situation. There are other examples of shows that create negative impression of African-American women. “Married to Medicine” is one of them. African-American female doctors asked to cancel it, because, due to their small percentage in the American workforce of physicians, “the depiction of black female doctors in media, on any scale, highly affects the public’s view on the character of all future and current African-American female doctors” (Nittle). They failed and the result showed the other side of stereotypes’ existence. The success of the show depends up consumers’ reaction. Love & Hip Hop and similar programs show people want to see stereotypical behavior. African-American women are not an exception. However, some studies and surveys demonstrated they would prefer to see more positive stereotypes, like community heroines or individualists. Stereotypes like hypersexuality or aggressiveness insult African-American women and representatives of other nations who fell under them. However, they will exist while they help to create successful shows and other works.
AfterBuzz TV. “Love & Hip Hop: New York Season 6 Episode 3 Review & After Show | AfterBuzz TV”. Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 28 Dec. 2015. 6 Jan. 2016.
NBA SPORT. “Love & Hip Hop: New York Season 6”. Online video clips. YouTube. YouTube, Dec. 2015 – Jan. 2016. 6 Jan. 2016
Ngobili, Hali Alexis Nneka. “The Stereotypical Roles of Black Women In Hollywood Films”. Storify.com. 2012. 6 Jan. 2016. <https://storify.com/Hali/the-stereotypical-roles-of-black-women-in-hollywoo>
Nittle, Nadra Kareem. “Five Common Black Stereotypes in TV and Film”. Racerelations.about.com. 15 Dec. 2014. 6 Jan. 2016. <http://racerelations.about.com/od/hollywood/a/Five-Common-Black-Stereotypes-In-Tv-And-Film.htm>