Three dominant paradigms of Black femininity that originated in the South during the period of slavery have persisted into present-day culture, which “paint Black females as hypersexual, boisterous, aggressive, and unscrupulous”:
- Sapphire (e.g., emasculating, loud, aggressive, angry, stubborn, and unfeminine);
- Jezebel (e.g., hypersexualized, seductive and exploiter of men’s weaknesses); and
- Mammy (e.g., self-sacrificing, nurturing, loving, asexual).
These images and historical stereotypes of Black women have real-life consequences for Black girls today. For example, “teachers may subconsciously use stereotypical images of Black females ... to interpret Black girls’ behaviors and respond more harshly to Black girls who display behaviors that do not align with traditional standards of femininity in which girls are expected to be docile, diffident, and selfless.” Such “tainted perceptions ... result in patterns of discipline intended to reform the femininity of African-American girls into something more ‘acceptable.
On May 19th, MEASURE will continue their work to eliminate adultification bias by unpacking the “sapphire” stereotype in which still results in the unfair treatment of Black girls in this webinar featuring presenter Jacqueline Miller.