Black Women In The Baartman

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African American art historians Deborah Willis and Carla Williams attempted to present a new 'noble' black female body. In describing Baartman's features, they note: Baartman's most obvious difference was the shape of her buttocks due to steotopygia, an over-development of fatty tissue on the buttocks occurring usually in females and common among women of various South African tribes, especially Hottentots (Willis and Williams, 2002:61). It is frightening to find evidence of such colonial misinformation on Baartman in the texts of African American female writers. Not only using the language of difference (and abnormality), there is never a counter-narrative that establishes Baartman's buttocks as normal and beautiful amongst people of colour…show more content…
Hair extensions, wearing revealing clothes, sex on the first date, braided hairstyles, simply walking around with a straight face —are just a few of the things that many black men constantly criticize black women, and only black women, for. Despite the fact that many women of other races do these things as well, black women are the main target of persecution for these simple behaviours. Black features are beautiful. Black women are not and our culture gets stolen and praised only when white women use them (cultural appropriation). White women are seen to be virtuous and desired while Black women are objects of brutality; built upon Eurocentric beauty standards. While white women are praised for altering their bodies, plumping their limps and tanning their skin, black women are shammed although the same features exist on them naturally. White women cannot be “chic” in the same braids that make a black woman “ghetto.” And a fat arse on a black woman shouldn’t make her a slut and a white woman “wife material”. Instead of white women being praised for the same things that make black women “ratchet,” women should just be allowed to look and behave in whatever way they want; doing so without having to worry about meeting the ridiculous double standards set by the men who may wish to pursue…show more content…
On the contrary, African countries including South Africa have always considered a full-figured body to be ideal. The changing perception of feminine beauty in African countries particularly those living in urban areas is largely influenced by Western media. Full-figured women find themselves in a predicament—on one hand, the tradition that being full-figured is attractive and on the other hand, that the thin figure ideal is. Nowadays the full figure body is being praised. Aforementioned, the earliest recollection of the ideal standard of feminine beauty in South Africa can be linked to Saartjie Baartman (Figure 1) from as early as the 19th century. Although Europeans labelled her a lower form of humanity with ugly body features, the same body though not acknowledged by any history of fashion authors, was used to inspire the creation Victorian bustle dress that was designed to replicate her body

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