Behind the Mask of the Strong Black Woman: Voice and the Embodiment of a Costly Performance
The defining quality of Black womanhood is strength, states Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant in Behind the Mask of the Strong Black Woman. But, she argues, the idea of strength undermines its real function: to defend and maintain a stratified social order by obscuring Black women’s experiences of suffering, acts of desperation, and anger. This provocative book lays bare the common perception that strength is an exemplary or defining quality of “authentic” Black womanhood.
The author, a noted sociologist, interviews 58 Black women about being strong and proud, to illustrate their “performance” of invulnerability. Beauboeuf-Lafontant explains how such behavior leads to serious symptoms for these women, many of whom suffer from eating disorders and depression.
Drawing on Black feminist scholarship, cultural studies, and women’s history, Behind the Mask of the Strong Black Woman traces the historical and social influences of normative Black femininity, looking at how notions of self-image and strength create a distraction from broader forces of discrimination and power.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Deconstructing Strong Black Womanhood
Embodying Good Womanhood
The Per for mance of Strength
Embodied Distress Among Strong Black Women
Other editions - View all
abuse African American Aisha anger become behavior bell hooks Black community Black girls Black wom Black womanhood Black women bodies and minds breakdowns claims clinical depression conﬂict controlling images critique cultural deﬁned depression Despite didn’t difﬁcult discourse of strength dissemblance distress eating problems embodied emotional existence expectations express feel femininity ﬁght ﬁgure ﬁnancial ﬁnd ﬁnding ﬁrst focus Gilligan girls and women going Harriet Tubman Hill Collins 2000 hooks human hurt internal Jennifer lack Mammy manage married Michele Wallace Michelle mother needs nerability normative one’s ongoing oppression person physical pression problematic race racialized gender reality recognize reﬂects relationships responsibilities reveal Rita Schreiber self-sacriﬁce self-silencing selﬂessness sexual she’s Sheila signiﬁcant social society Sojourner Truth speak stoicism strategy strong Black woman strong woman struggle subjectivity subordination superwoman talk Tasha there’s things tion voice voice-centered vulnerable Wallace we’re weak white women woman’s women’s experiences you’re