8 Nov

Survey Says: Black Women Are Portrayed Negatively in Media

October 18, 2013 by  10 Comments

image008*According to a survey of more than 1,200 respondents, which will appear in the November issue of Essence magazine, “negative imagery of Black women is often seen twice as frequently as positive imagery.”

They “told us that the images we encounter regularly on TV, in social media, in music videos and from other outlets are overwhelmingly negative and fall into categories that make us cringe — Gold Diggers, Modern Jezebels, Baby Mamas, Uneducated Sisters, Ratchet Women, Angry Black Women, Mean Black Girls, Unhealthy Black Women, and Black Barbies,” Dawnie Walton wrote last week in advance of the issue’s appearance on newsstands Friday.

“The study also revealed six types we feel we don’t see enough of in media, types we feel more genuinely reflect us and the Black women we know: Young Phenoms, Real Beauties, Individualists, Community Heroines, Girls Next Door and Modern Matriarchs. . . .”

Walton reported “surprising, bonus details and insights from our research”:

  • “85% of our Black women respondents reported they regularly see representations of Baby Mamas in media, while only 41% said they often see Real Beauties. The type seen least often? Community Heroines.”
  • “Modern Jezebels and Gold Diggers are the types that cause Black women the most embarrassment. . . .”
  • “Our Black respondents said the typologies that best represent the Black women they know in real life are the positive ones — including Real Beauties, Modern Matriarchs, Girls Next Door and Individualists.
  • “But non-Hispanic White women cited negative typologies as most representative of Black women they’ve encountered in real life — namely, Baby Mamas, Angry Black Women, Unhealthy Black Women and Uneducated Sisters.
  • “Younger women — ages 18-29 — were more likely than older women to be aware of negative typologies and also more likely to find them compelling. . . .”
  • “African-American women reported higher levels of happiness with their natural beauty and appearance, plus their spiritual lives and religious commitments. Meanwhile, White women reported higher satisfaction with their homes, their relationships with significant others, and their savings and investments.”
  • “Both Black and White women reported that the strongest influence for boosting their sense of worth is themselves. But while Black women cited their mothers as the second strongest influence, White women say they look to their significant others to lift them up.
  • “Interestingly, women who were compelled by negative typologies also reported they find physical features including lighter skin and straight hair to be most beautiful.”

Krissah Thompson wrote about this study for the Washington Post and reported Thursday that, “The magazine’s study differs from other assessments of the portrayal of black women in the media in an important way: It proposes a solution.

“The problem with the current images is that they reflect extremity, according to the magazine and the researchers. The solution is to uplift images in the ‘invisible middle.’ Those include figures such as, ‘the acculturated girl next door,’ ‘community heroines,’ ‘young phenoms’ and ‘modern matriarchs.’

“Marketing expert Pepper Miller, who was interviewed by researchers for the report, wrote in her book ‘Black Still Matters [in Marketing]‘ that ‘there are the high profile celebrities, entertainers, and sports figures on one side, and the impoverished, crime-ridden, and down and out on the other. This flawed perception results in the rest of us — The Invisible Middle — being ignored and marginalized.’ “

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  1. This article is foolish. Don’t buy into this junk! If anything, white women are not seen in a good light either.

    • Crazy Craig says:

      I’m not worried how white women are portrayed. What stupid comment. This is like their doing dumb shyt, let us do dumb shyt too.

    • I agree that this is a bunch of foolishness! There are more important issues that concern African American people as a whole than this topic ! TV is exactly what it is ENTERTAINMENT! These woman are playing a role for PAY! A J-O-B!! Those shows that you have named are are all forms of ENTERTAINMENT! If you have a problem with them then STOP WATCHING and the ratings will go down and the show will be off the air, but most of you continue to watch because the truth is ,that you like watching these woman get into it and we all know some one just like the characters that they play! If in fact you want young African American woman to have a SUITABLE role model then these are not the shows to be watching! Besides, black woman do Crazy ,Dumb,Stupid, Funny , shit too as well as being Intelligent , Professional, Beautiful, Sexy, Hardworking! BUT! If there were shows like the latter you would probably say it was boring and take issue with that! Come on people get a grip it’s not the NEWS! Now that is what you should be concerned with ,not Entertainment Shows!

  2. Of course black women are portrayed negatively in the Media? We do it to ourselves with shows like Basketball Wives, Atlanta Housewives, R&B Divas of Atlanta, Braxton Family(Tamar), Love and Hip Hop ATL, Etc….. You get the picture.

  3. clyde romero says:

    exactly with basket ball wives ,house wives of ATL, doctors wives, etc.
    black women of means, they do it to them selves on these TV shows that encourage bad behavior what example to they set for those watching
    get a man with a large pay check and act bad in public BONUS!!!!
    and whats with the blond hair on black women
    blond hair is not in the gene pool for women of color but look at the TV star on House wives of ATL
    it just reinforces the white women sterotype of beauty among womenof color
    so it is what it is

  4. Deb Posey says:

    This article saddens me because the black women I know, do not fit all those negative stereotypes! We have jobs, we are educated and some are either single or married with good husbands! The media wants to find the few black women that give us a negative reputation. I find all those reality shows appalling. Not just the black shows but the white reality shows too. The white reality shows are stupid and they act negatively too! The only difference is, they are rich and stupid! Why don’t the media search for the black women that are not gold diggers, baby mamas to athletes. There are most diffidently black women who educated with jobs. Black women have been the backbone of this country since the time we were brought over here from Africa! Our ancestors were treated horribly. They were raped, beated, and then had to raise the white womens kids on the plantation and they still raised their own kids. They still perservered and survived. We have some great amazing black women in this world. I say to all black women, “don’t let the media brainwash you to think negatively about us”. We have made some great contributions to this world! The world is jealous of us, so they use this propaganda so we can look down on ourselves and think we are not worth anything. I got news got for them. I am nothing like those negative stereotypes. I am educated, I have a job and I’m married to a good man, I have two sons that have graduated from great colleges and have their own families. The only way to counteract this crap is to stay strong and hold our heads up! If you look at the producers of shows on TV, like Greys Anatomy, Scandal and some others, they were created by black women. The media doesnt want you to know that because they want us to think we aren’t worth a damn. News flash, we are worth all the gold in the world and I’m going to devote the rest of my days to let the world know we are worth the ground we stand on.

    • The media will not search for the black women that are not gold diggers and baby mamas to athletes because the show would be off the air after the first 5 minutes. No money to be made. All the money is in coonery and buffoonery.

  5. 1. Reality tv. Is not really reality. A good portion of it is acting. Producers tell these women to create drama or be dramatic for viewers and ratings. I have experience when it comes to media, since having a degree in that study. But with that white women are displayed negatively also, but for black women its still to the extreme of that.

    2.Babymama’s|Unhealthy Black women|And mean black women is actually a very small portion of the black community. With that being said they asked non-Hispanic white women about black women. They very woman who speaks negatively about black women while trying to look like one(just for the record weaves and perms are out played, natural curly hair in, so the whole hair straightening to look white excuse is being silenced). Not all of them of course. But usually the ones who don’t tend to be more secure, and don’t have really nothing to say about black women. I have met unhealthy, mean, rude and wedlock mother’s who white more then black.

    3.Have yet to meet the gold digging black woman. Most black women I know, want their own money and genuinly want love. And most blacks live in middle class neighborhoods, qnd I have yet to see one flip off like a a wild ape, as people would say us black women do.

    4.I have some black friends from the UK. And they even wonder why blacks are treated like garbage over here. Exclaiming that we don’t live up to none of the negative stereotypes American media makes us as. Wven stating the racial tension here is immense

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