Updated: Feb 4
Oversexualization in basic terms, the practice of sexualizing excessively - is something
women, specifically women of color have been subjected to. Being in the United States,
the history of black women being viewed as sexual objects has been a practice since
America’s days slavery.
According to the book “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” Harriet Jacob’s lamented
that it was “criminal” for “a favorite slave…. to wish to be virtuous.” Harkening back to
Celia’s plight, Jacobs reminds us that for an enslaved woman to control herself and
refuse any sexual advance was essentially illegal (Harris, 2017) .
This was reflected through the story of Sarah Bartman, a South African woman whose real name Hottentot Venus (Hottentot was the name of her original tribe), and who was exploited in the 19th century in a European freak show because of her large behind.
The oversexualization of black women in our current culture has contributed a great
deal to the topic of our previous the transgenerational trauma within black families.
Mainstream media has oversexualized black female bodies for centuries, considering it transition in popularity it current culture. This in relation to mental health, has caused black women to be increasingly objectified and demoralized. It has more so influenced body image, and how in particular black bodies “should be,” that has plagued the black community. While there have been improvements with the perception of black women in media, it is still heavy in hip-hop culture (which is now pop culture) where women are seen in a sexualized and demoralized manner. These types of images in the media are correlated to depression and self-esteem issues in the black community.
The question that this brings us to mental health, is how do we begin to change a
narrative that has been fundamentally ingrained in American culture?
Ayana and Black Women
Ayana Mental Health Therapy is going to create a safe space for black women to come to therapy and discuss the ideas mentioned above, how it has been seen in their life, and how history may have effected their lifestyles. We want to provide a space where anyone feels comfortable sharing their challenges with a therapist who understands them and how history has effected their lifestyle, which is why Ayana is providing therapists who are culturally competent and ready to help.