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Springer's Article on African American Women - Essay Example

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The article by Kimberly Springer discusses the topic of African American Women within popular culture, post-feminist and post-civil rights. It explores how black women are viewed and portrayed within current society and media. Springer's examples include: divas, evil black bitches, and bitter black women…
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Springers Article on African American Women
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The article by Kimberly Springer discusses the topic of African American Women within popular culture, post-feminist and post-civil rights. It explores how black women are viewed and portrayed within current society and media. Springer's examples include: divas, evil black bitches, and bitter black women. These topics were explored in depth, using prominent black women as examples. The overriding themes of post feminist and post-civil rights are integrated into each topic, adding further detail.
Springer argues that feminism has become a commodity. Ethnic clothing, the big black booty (now referred to as 'junk in the trunk'), and the promotion of year round bronzed skin are ways in which feminism are marketed for consumption (252). She argues that feminism has lost its connection with empowerment. Women remain locked into a life of being there for everyone else while trying to maintain a sense of self.
The bitter black woman image perpetuates the loss of empowerment or loss of self. "For the films discussed in this essay, when black women leave work and become homemakers they lose themselves and their connection to being black" (272). This means that black women negate their freedom, and will be seen as lazy for not remaining in the workforce. Black women now have an important duty: to remain educated and uphold the race through continued achievements (272).
Through these achievements, black women are then viewed as divas or evil black bitches. The term diva formerly described lauded opera singers, but is currently defined as "a powerful and entertaining, if pushy and bitchy, woman" (255). The evil black bitches image has risen due to editing methods utilized on reality t.v. shows. These women are seen as villains, manipulate other persons and situations, and are hostile without reason. The power of editing making it possible.
According to Springer, the image that is portrayed within the play Diary of a Mad Black Woman is the bitter black woman. The leading female role is forced to undergo a change as her empowerment within her life is called into question due to unfortunate events. The character retreats to her old neighborhood in an attempt to put her life back together and in the process finding the meaning of love through spirituality. She is faced with two choices from influential persons in her life: fight back or seek God for assistance and forgiving those who have committed transgressions against her.
The play chronicles a woman named Helen, who has been married to a man named Charles for more than 18 years. Her world is shattered when he arrives home, kicks her out, and replaces her with his mistress. Going back to her roots, Helen moves in with her Grandmother Madea. Helen receives advice from both Madea and her mother, Myrtle.
Helen is forced into the task of redefining her sense of self and struggles to regain empowerment. She was a homemaker and felt comfortable within that role. She sacrificed self-definition for the sake of others. She was appropriately subservient toward her husband.
Although Helen commits acts of violence in her revenge toward Charles and his betrayal, Helen finds it within herself to forgive him. Helen does not go back to Charles, favoring her new relationship with a man named Orlando. Orlando, through Christian ways, has shown her what a true relationship between a man and woman can be.
Works Cited:
Diary of a Mad Black Woman: The Play. By Tyler Perry. Dir. Tyler Perry and Darren Grant. Perf. Tyler Perry, Steve Harris, Tamara Taylor, Cicely Tyson, and Kimberly Elise. DVD. Lions Gate, 2005.
Springer, Kimberly. "Divas, Evil Black Bitches, and Bitter Black Women: African American Women in Post-Feminist and Post-Civil-Rights Popular Culture". Interrogating Post Feminism: Gender and the Politics of Popular Culture. Eds. Tasker, Yvonne and Negra, Diane. Duke University, 2007. Read More
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