The Variations of Black Womanhood: A Photo Voice Project

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Abstract Summary

Media is a socializing institution which produces and reproduces culture by circulating images. Unfortunately, many images that respresent Black Women are "controlling images" (Collins 200:85). Examples of controlling images of Black Women are the Mammie, Jezebel, and the welfare queen. These monolithic images are harmful to Black Women and society at large because they erase the diverse, fluid, multidimensional, and complex nature of Black Womanhood. Society's understanding of Black womanhood is clouded and robs people of the possibility of learning from one of its most vaulable groups of people. However, this societal sickness is remedied when Black women are respected as makers of their own images and theorizers of their own experience. My research explores the questions: How do Black Women theorize Black Womanhood? How do Black women express Black womanhood with a camera? To explore these questions, I conducted focus groups,  individual interviews and a photo voice project with Black Women. My results will add to the larger conversation about Black women's represenation becasue it uses photographic reseach techniques. My work is important becasue it positions Black women as respectable knowledge sources and makers of their own images which debunk false monolithic notions of Black Womanhood.

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