2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

(Mis) Representation: African American Women in the Media
Gemmicka F. Piper
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

The presence of African American women in television has grown since the 1970s. Shows such as United Paramount Network's (UPN) Girlfriends and The Parkers currently embody the best expression of black womanhood available, but how far has the media got from the characterization of black women as Mammies and Jezebels? This question becomes part of a bigger one about how the African American woman is viewed in the Media. To answer this question I examined both Girlfriends and The Parkers. Examination of these shows reveals that implicit in these portrayals is the archetypal character traits of those earlier images. Furthermore, an analysis of how these images have evolved from when they first appeared in radio and television shows like Amos and Andy in the 1930s, and reappear in altered forms in the 1990s in such shows as Living Single and Moesha, and at present in shows like Girlfriends and The Parkers, allows us to see the most direct examples of how stereotypes continue to persist.

Keywords: African American, Women, Feminism, Media politics


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 47-3
Location: OP 2121
Time: 3:15

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