This image is a direct depiction of what the asexual mammy is when discussed in the book by Maxine Craig. I think it’s concerning that if a black woman wants to work, or even work hard for that matter, she has to be worried about being labeled as a mammy, since according to Maxine Craig, a mammy is “grotesque portrayal” of the “physical differences” of working women of color. These differences include being fat, dark skinned, and typically wearing a head wrap. With these characteristics in mind, I feel as though there is a negative impact on black women to not want to be a working black woman in fear that people will look at her as a Mammy. This is also an issue for black women because they fear that it is already hard to find a husband simply because they are black, and they may fear adding the Mammy narrative to their identity will only decrease their chances.
Sarah Baartman is a great example of the hypersexualized black female body. There are so many assumptions made about the black female body and this depiction of Sarah Baartman is a commonly known example. She is specifically known for her large buttocks and breasts. This is an issue because people of color already feel like they can’t come across as sexual in any aspect in fear of not being taken seriously in society. An example used by Maxine Craig was when a black woman’s clothes caught on fire while cooking, but she refused to take them off in fear that she would lose the dignity she worked so hard to build for herself over the course of her lifetime. In contrast to this situation, Maxine Craig spoke about a white woman who took a bath in wine for pictures for a magazine and stated how a black woman could never do something like this and still be seen in the same light.
When speaking about the hyper sexualization of black women’s bodies, black female artists and celebrities who choose to get body enhancing surgeries are only adding to the issue. They teach our younger generations that you must have a “big butt” or “large breasts” if you want to be successful as a black woman in today’s society; in which, this is not the case at all. Children will begin to feel like the only way they can display the amount of talent and potential they have is by first gaining others attention with enhanced body parts. Only after they have physically gained others attention, will they feel their true potential will be seen. However, I believe their true talents and potential is masked by their physical appearance.
Even from a young age, children are taught that black women usually look fuller in size through cartoons. This is an issue for society because it creates a false identity for black women observed by children, and adults around the television as well. When I personally think back, I have never seen a thinner black woman in cartoons, the women are always black, older, and fuller. Another example besides from Tom & Jerry would be from The Proud Family. The character “Suga Mama,” was an older black woman who was known for being larger in size. What does this teach our children about black women?