Wednesday, 21 March 2018

How hypersexualization of black girls affect black women’s sexual experience

Hypersexualization of black women is a problem-riddled with underlying racial tones. The sexualization of black women is the idea that black women are promiscuous and have an insatiable sexual desire. This is day and night contrast from the idea and stereotype that white women are pure and delicate. The reason black women are treated so harshly and judged when it comes to sexuality is that our sexuality was defined by white men who used it as an excuse to rape black women. Black women don’t get to erase their pasts, nor do they get to own their sexuality in ways white women do. When black girls twerk its cultural degradation. When white girls twerk it’s cool or deemed as “hip” in an overpriced excise class.

The idea of reclaiming and owning our bodies and sexuality are important, black girls. Our bodies have been brutalized so much throughout history from white supremacy. Black girls have endured years of conditioning to be ashamed of our bodies. Black women are known to sometimes “fill out” early, we have hips, butt, lips and breast. We are punished and shamed when clothes fit us differently. Black girls can wear the same thing their white friends wear but based on how they fill it out, it’s seen as being a “ho” and having low morals. People automatically assume we want that attention. Having comments thrown our way making us feel guilty or ashamed of what we have on when we aren’t actually showcasing anything.

I remember being shamed/sexualized in third grade by a friend. We were on the playground and she says in front of everyone with a disgusted face “Taylor your butt is really big.” I was so embarrassed with everyone looking at me, then at my butt. I wasn’t wearing anything bad. I had on those jeans with the flowers embroidered down the leg (what a TB) and my friend was wearing the same fitting type of jeans. The only difference was the way I filled mine out. I didn’t want that type of attention, but at the time I didn’t understand why. As I got older the comments continued and I hated any comment made about my butt. Once I got to middle school, my dad made me wear jeans that were a size or two bigger than my actual size so they would not hug my butt as much. I got made fun of in middle school for not being able to afford pants that fit. It was humiliating, but I felt like no matter what I wore I would still get called out for my body. 

The hypersexualization of black women goes back as far as the 1400’s when the Europeans enslaved the Africans. Slave owners created this myth that black women are enthusiastic and animalistic driven to any and all sexual advances. This justified the rape of a black woman as well as forcing them to reproduce with specific male slaves. This misconception stretched into the Jim crow era to today leading to the continued sexual abuse of black women.

Sexual abuse happens most to those whom society deems as disposable. The Me Too Movement has recently been getting some backlash because the hashtag was originally created by Tarana Burke. A black woman who experienced sexual abuse who also wanted to show how often women of colour are faced with sexual abuse, but it has been overshadowed by black dresses and white women making the focus on them instead of all women, not just the famous white ones whom society deems fragile enough to be a victim. Because society deems black women as having lesser value, we can’t get raped. We can’t be victims.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard men of all adult ages say in one situation or another “she 18 yet?” “Nah, she’s filling out nicely. She’s almost ready.” 

For black girls, puberty instantly turns into permission. Just simply being is permission once puberty hits and it’s disgusting. I’ve had comments like that made at me well before I was even thinking about sex. People use that as an excuse to abuse black girls and women because that treatment is refracted and subconsciously inherited through history into today.

Sarah, a woman who enjoys swinging and sex clubs said “You just have to talk to them and they’re shaking. I know as a black woman I will be fetishized to an extent- and the darker you are, the more you are. They think we are naturally sensual, all of us are Rihanna.”
In the porn industry black women are put in low budget videos with themes of “ghetto booty” and “In da hood.” 
Even in the adult entertainment industry, black women are shamed for their sexuality and seen as lesser value than the white porn stars. Black porn stars make half to three quarters what their white female counterparts make. They assume black women want sex more so why pay them for it. It’s sick and infuriating. You can also see this in the way the films with black porn stars are produced low-quality videos of black women who are expected to perform more extreme acts for less pay because of the color of their skin. Performing more extreme acts in porn industry creates another discourse for women in social or sexual settings. 
It just reassures society that we want it all the time and will do more when that is not necessarily true. The automatic assumption, especially in bed, puts us in uncomfortable situations. Here we are, again, being expected to perform crazy sexual acts we may not be comfortable with. It’s an automatic turn off to be with someone that expects you do something sexually that may embarrass you. Opening up to someone in such a vulnerable way only to feel anxious at the thought of humiliating yourself for the sexual satisfaction of a man in a way is the history of black women repeating itself.

This can bring on insecurity in our sexuality and confusion. What do I want? What does he want? Am I supposed to do that like that or am I allowed to tone it down? On season 2 of HBO’s Insecure, the main character, Issa, was giving a blow job to a friend. He ends up finishing on her face and she freaks out. On Twitter, people could not understand why she was so upset, but black women did. Fresh out of a break-up, she wanted to keep from feeling vulnerable. When he released on her it brought on a feeling of being degraded and shame which brought on embarrassment and anger. Which brings us back to the commodification of black women’s bodies throughout history.

 Sex is supposed to be fun and feel good. It’s supposed to bring you closer to that person you love. Sex is to be explored safely with people of age and whom you trust. Sex is a pleasure and I believe black girls and women should continue to fight these stereotypes that are so harmful to out psyche and personal development as minority women.

Twitter: Taychrist
Instagram: TayTay Christian
Taylor Christian is a Writer/Blogger from Atlanta, Ga, USA. Taylor focuses her writing on intersectional Feminism and Politics. She has a BA in Sociology with two minors in Gender Studies and General Biology. In her free time, she enjoys reading, shopping for skincare products and shoes. 

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