This is an amazing monologue from the movie film, The Network. This speech was revealed to me on twitter by a very enlightened young woman named Ann. The character speaks on the power of the “Tube”, and its effects on society. The “Tube” is television, but I’m speaking of the media, in general. One thing I think we all are guilty of is not considering how much the media has shaped us. The way we talk, what we eat, what we wear, even our mannerisms are not original, but things we subconsciously took from television, movies, music, family and friends, who have also picked up traits from these media outlets. We’ve pretty much become reflections of what we see on TV, and it has even altered the way we think and interact with one another. Sadly, we all think we’ve reached a level of enlightenment where the media doesn’t effect us, which is erroneous (my favorite word).
The worlds in films and television are not reality, where everything is seemingly perfect. The hero always wins. The guy always gets the girl. Men & women are always handsome and beautiful. I think “Reality” TV is the worst thing that has ever happened to black women especially, because of the way black women are portrayed. I was wondering, one day, why women seem more susceptible to the media. Some people might say “it’s the fundamental difference between the two sexes physiologically”. That fundamental difference being: women are “weaker minded” than men. I would disagree, because males & females are exactly the same, in terms of brain function and learning ability. The physical disparities between males & females are where the differences end. All the differences we see and complain about now, regarding the opposite gender, are differences taught to us by society. Women, through the media, are taught to be inferior; weaker minded & subordinate to men, while men are taught to exude a certain level of machoism & superiority towards women. Masculinity & Femininity are social constructs perpetuated by the media and reproduced by us, putting women at a subordinate position to men. Black women are the most oppressed people in the world, facing oppression by white men, who oppress everyone, and black men who oppress their women. African sisters have been attacked mentally by the system of white supremacy we all live in, and, sadly, have been physically attacked by black men. In terms of domestic violence, our promiscuity and lack of participation is a potential failure at raising the next generation.
Shows like Love & Hip-Hop and Basketball Wives are portraying black women in such a negative way, yet we all tune in to watch. These shows do entertain, but they also give off the illusion that all black women act like the characters we see on these shows. Some black women on reality TV are rude, inconsiderate, materialistic, self-centered and famous, because of their celebrity husbands. This perpetuates the misconception that only women with rich or important husbands can be important themselves. The media has made black women see themselves as inferior; from their naturally curly hair, to their fuller lips and their darker complexion. The media has given us the idea that all these things are negative and unattractive. Sadly, black men feed into this by preferring lighter skinned women to darker sisters. The standard of what we have considered to be “beautiful” was established by white men. The black man’s attraction to lighter skin, or straighter hair, is not natural, but a result of our time living under white supremacy. The constant attack on the female psyche and body has left women mentally wounded and susceptible to all the negative images of themselves on TV. This gives us an opportunity to gauge how strong black women are, even though they have been oppressed for hundreds of years, still thrive and do their best to raise good children under seemingly impossible circumstances.
Women must break this mold of subordination. Men & Women are partners on this earth, and neither one is better or worse than the other. I only ask that women try not to adopt more “masculine” traits, in an attempt to break this mold. Masculinity is not the “correct” behavior to embrace for anyone, especially a woman. I know men are not perfect. We are fifty percent of the problem. Understand, though, that this is a vicious cycle. Men continue their behavior because women allow it and vice versa.