Black feminism: a critique of the stereotypical representations of black women in African-American comedy films: a case study of selected Tyler Perry films.
The media has a potential to raise consciousness, and to educate audiences. It also has a responsibility to shape public opinions and attitudes, but film critics have found that the media, specifically television and films are often doing the exact opposite. Culture, gender, media and film scholars such as Young (1996) argue that the production of arts and culture still raises critical issues of sexism, racism, discrimination, domination and subordination. Black women have often been depicted negatively particularly in films. From the 1960s, particularly in the USA, Black women formed civil and human rights groups to challenge their White counterparts because of the racism, sexism and economic oppression they suffered in the hands of White men, Black men and White women. It was only then that Black feminists and film critics such as hooks, Hill-Collins and Gordon critically emphasized the issues surrounding the representation of Black women in films. The study reveals that Tyler Perry, a top Black American filmmaker, portrays Black women in a negative stereotypical manner in all three of his films selected for analysis. These films convey a message that Black women are weak, dishonored and uneducated, thus perpetuating the already existing stereotypes about Black people and Black women.