Intersectional research that focuses on the experiences and representations of Black women should place emphasis on examining the communication of resistance, since this focus is essential to progressing communicative approaches at the nexus of ethnicity and gender. This essay builds upon the work of Womanist (Walker, 1983) and Black Feminist scholars (Collins, 1991; Perry, 2011) in order to identify and interrogate the harmful systemic nature of various stereotypes and controlling images of Black women. These controlling images historically include representations such as the Mammie, Sapphire, Jezebel, tragic mulatto, and even newer images such as the angry black woman or the “bad bitch.”Through a close reading of Josephine Baker’s “Danse Sauvage,” this essay argues that we must respond to these mis/representations through what Patricia Hill Collins (2004) identifies as a process of “self-defining.” By self-defining, we center black womanhood as an epistemological site, advancing black women’s social movements, and creating a stronger body of knowledge about the impact and importance of Black women’s experiences in a system that often generates knowledge from a European patriarchal perspective. Ultimately, this reflexive research approach of centering ourselves and our experiences as black women further strengthens and (re)establishes the importance of Black Feminist Thought as a valid epistemological approach to communication studies research.
Snider, Idrissa J.
"Girl Bye: Turning from Stereotypes to Self-Defined Images, A Womanist Exploration on Crooked Room Analysis,"
Kaleidoscope: A Graduate Journal of Qualitative Communication Research: Vol. 17, Article 3.
Available at: https://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/kaleidoscope/vol17/iss1/3