Black Girls Have Been Reduced to Sexx Objects, and We’re Willing Accomplices

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by Lauren Anderson, MS

Objectification broadly put means treating a person as a commodity or an object, without regard to their personality or dignity.

From a historical standpoint, specifically, black women have been sexually objectified since slavery. Historically, black women have had less access to power, wealth, and resources. During slavery, black women were often forced to have sexual relations and even used as breeders to reproduce more human property. A harsh reality but nonetheless, a fact! Psychologically, black women learned to barter their sexuality as a survival strategy. Hence, the stereotype of black women as overly sexualized emerged.

In regard to all women, quoting Cher, “Women have, and always will be sex objects”. Specifically, young black women aren’t being turned into sex objects. We have been sex objects for quite some time. In the 80’s, music raved about big butts and they still do today. However, the objectification isn’t limited to music, it’s within all media. Even as women are seen as sexual objects to some extent, some conscious efforts are being made to make young black women believe that the perception of attractiveness lies within your twerk abilities and how we dance for the bands.

It’s important to consider the psychological effects of how hyper-sexualized our generation and our popular media are becoming. It separates our consciousness and ability to succeed as a unit in the direction of social and mental advancement. Our media suggests that young black women are not worth anything more than money or a commodity to sell more sex. That’s a lie.

However, it is the responsibility of the black family and community to be accountable for the proper socialization and internalization of our young women in regard to their self-esteem to combat popular imagery. It involves a re-evaluation of how we use our language and perceive beauty and sexuality as black women. We can’t demonize popular culture for exploiting us when we are willing participants. It involves demanding higher standards, less “rachetness”, and the upliftment of the women you talk about but won’t help. Tupac said it’s “Time to heal our women, be real to our women.” Build, don’t block.

These days, we could use the empowerment wherever we can get it. J.Cole told us ”Love yourself girl or nobody will”. Black women are sexy and we rock but the over sexualized objectification needs to stop!