Who's The Average Black Woman?
Over the weekend I was talking to someone about Tyler Perry's latest film, "Why Did I Get Married, Too." I thought the first one was terrible, and I don't intend to see the sequel - but I had no idea a discussion about the annoying depictions of women in Perry's films would lead to a debate over who or what is an "average black woman".
The exchange went something like this...
Me: I can't believe Janet Jackson signed on to be in this sequel. She was SO bad in the first one. Then again, pretty much everybody was bad in the first one.
Anonymous: It's all about a paycheck. Besides, Janet's not as cute as she used to be.
Me: I still think she's cute. But she can't act.
Anonymous: Nah. Not as cute. She's a lot more average black woman looking these days.
Me: What's the average black woman look like?
Anonymous: Well... you know... sort of, uh, YOU KNOW!
Me: No, I don't know.
Anonymous: Um... I mean, Janet's just not as pretty as she used to be. She used to be special and now she just looks like everyone else.
Me: "Average black women" aren't pretty?
Anonymous: No. She's just... dating Jermaine Dupri just made her more ordinary. She's not larger than life anymore.
I probably should've dropped it because I realized I was getting pretty annoyed. But, I just had to ask one more question.
Me: Am I an "average black woman"?
Anonymous: You're getting mad, but no.
Me: Oh really? Well why not?
Anonymous: Cuz you like Depeche Mode - and I'm not talking to you about this anymore because you're getting pissed off.
What clued Anonymous in that I was really displeased with this conversation? Was it the set of my jaw? The eerie silence while my eyes narrowed into daggers?
The thing is, I don't believe in an "average black woman" because the whole phrase just screams, "I like to run around nekkid with stereotypes!"
You notice how Anonymous threw the phrase around like it had cooties? It's like in Anonymous' mind, average black woman doesn't mean smart, well-read, well-dressed, well-groomed, kind, eloquent, beautiful, generous, and honest.
When I think of an average black woman, that's what I think of. I'm pretty sure Anonymous is thinking of something less flattering. Are you?
*photo courtesy of Flickr user The Global Girl