October 2

In the And Still I Rise video we watched, the bodies of black women are either hypersexualized or seem as asexual, such as in the case of the mammi character.  The speakers mentioned that rather than recognizing the open body language expressed through the spontaneity of dancing, they are perceived as over sexualized which is still a prevalent view today.  This assertion is applicable in general, where they are sexualized even when they are not being sexual.  Even in campus parties, it is evident that when women dance, black women especially, there is an illusion that they are doing so to appeal to male sexuality.  There is also an issue of culturally appropriating dance moves, take twerking for example.  The move currently known as twerking had actually originated from the South decades ago, but it only became relevant in today’s culture due to appropriation.  Why is there such a disparity between perceiving a black woman as being too raunchy doing a particular dance move but it being acceptable or even admirable when a white woman does it? Perhaps one possible reason is that throughout history, black female bodies have been sexualized and will continue to be sexualized.  As mentioned in the video, black female slaves were raped by their white male owners, while the owner’s wife would be upset with her husband’s actions.  In this case, even white women sexualized the black female body but when they express their body through dance, they consider it to be empowering.  If dance is just an expression of the body, then why are we forming preconceived notions about a woman’s sexuality instead of letting them define it for themselves?

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