Technology and the Sexualization of Young Girls/Women:​ Homework for Friday 10/25

  • Tai White, Gabby Evola, Allie Cohen, & Hannah Dwyer

Hi everyone!

The homework we have assigned for you all to complete is down below. On class Friday we will be talking about technology and the sexualization of young girls. We will also be talking about the sexualization of women in general online and there is an interesting short reading down below that draws attention particularly to the sexualization of black women. 

Read through these articles:

Pages 7-13;Hyper-Sexualization

Watch these short videos as well:

After reading these articles and watching these videos we want for you guys to write a short reflection about your feelings towards these readings, videos, and this topic. Then, we would like for you guys to attach a picture or any comment(s) from any social media website that relates to this topic or anything interesting pertaining to this topic that you’ve found. Please post your comments by Thursday night by 10 PM if you have enough time to do so. If you are unable to post your comments by then please post your comment before class Friday morning. 

In class, we will be having a mini-debate and will be dividing the classroom into two sections so come ready and excited! We will give you guys the debate topics on Friday morning.

Women of the Harlem Renaissance Used Writing as a Tool to Dismantle Injustices Embedded in Society

Tai White

Women of the Early Harlem Renaissance are influential figures who broke the barriers society constructed towards being a woman, being black, and being educated. African American women of the Early Harlem Renaissance did not allow for any man or dominant group in power to silence their voices. The writing was these women’s tools to dismantle the injustices that white men built into society. This project was made to make connections between African American literature and digital humanities. Not much attention was given to women writers of the Harlem Renaissance. This project works to rightfully praise these strong women writing and confronting their white counterparts and issues in society. Digital technologies allow people to become aware of who the women writers of the Harlem Renaissance were. When someone thinks of the Harlem Renaissance they think of black men; for example, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and W.E.B Dubois. Through the creation of websites such as this one, other significant people of the Harlem Renaissance who were more at a disadvantage during that time are properly acknowledged as well. 

The information is organized on this project by giving some background about African American women who were apart of the Harlem Renaissance. The website also goes into the origins of this project and to show how much more inclusive previous books or websites of the Harlem Renaissance should be. The goal of this project was to make more information about the Harlem Renaissance and the women who took part in this more accessible. I like this project I just wish there was more information behind some of these women’s works. 

Epistemology is an important term that can be used when thinking of the women of the Harlem Renaissance. Much of these women’s books, short stories, and poems took knowledge from the dominant culture about black people and women and questioned its validity. Their skin color and gender determined their place in society and paved their life paths. Through their literature, they sought to break away from these stereotypes and show that they are individuals rather than just members of a marginalized group.

Racism to Glorification

In this time and age, the internet is a very popular place for people to develop and broadcast their own personal identities. In the early nineties white men mostly dominated the population in cyberspace. A digital divide was created between white men and other minority groups on the internet. Nakamura gives the readers a little bit of an insight on the internet and how racial groups are generated on the internet, “while in Cybertypes I focused on the constraints inherent in primarily textual interfaces that reified racial categories, in this work I locate the Internet as a privileged and extremely rich site for the creation and distribution of hegemonic and counter hegemonic visual images of racialized bodies,” (Nakamura 13). The internet does function in ways which promote and create racist ideas towards minority groups however the internet also works in ways to dismantle these racist ideologies. Racism should be spoken about on the internet rather than it being ignored. Nakamura speaks about “genteel racism” and how this is currently an ongoing issue on the internet and in society. “Genteel racism” is similar to the idea of color blind racism “color blindness is a symptom of racism. Rather than see and acknowledge racial difference, we would rather not see at all. Thus remaining blind to the effects of the sight of race in a racist culture is a symptom of racism,” (Nakamura 3). Many people ignore the fact that racism exists and still works in ways where minority groups are continuously being oppressed. 

There are more people from different backgrounds and with different identities now using the internet. “There are many Internet spaces, such as pregnancy bulletin boards, blogs, and livejournals that may now assume a default female user, and others such as petition and dating web sites that assume users of color,” (Nakamura 14). The internet is more diverse with all of the social media platforms. Women and minority groups are using the internet at greater volumes which has created a new internet divide. The internet has the power to build and give definitions to different types of people. However, it also works in ways to destroy these preconceived images and should be continued to do so. In this era, many people are moving away from these internalized racist ideas and becoming more aware of different kinds of people and accepting of other cultures.

Blackfishing is becoming very popular on social media apps such as instagram and twitter. This concept is extremely strange to myself and others because there are people on social media pretending and representing themselves as black or mixed. This has created a controversy on the internet and between black women and white women who pose as if they are black or mixed. Dara Thurmond a nurse who resides in New York said “says her frustration comes when white women who appear to be posing as black don’t know the struggle that black women go through just to be accepted as who they are.” I hope all of you can see this shift from the early 90’s where white men dominated the internet and now in the twenty first century there are people posing as people from a black or mixed race. Many of these social media influencers glorify darker skin, braided hairstyles, curly hair, and fuller lips. 

The questions I have for you have any of you read a post that lead you to be more informed on racial issues or have you read any posts on social media that have changed your ideas on race and or racism and if so what was it about? Why do you think there is this shift in society and why are more people gloriying people from black or from mixed backgrounds? Do any of you see this as an issue?

Nakamura, Lisa. Digitizing Race: Visual Cultural Aspects of the Internet. University of Minnesota Press, 2008.

Virk, Kameron, and Nesta McGregor. Blackfishing: The Women Accused of Pretending to be Black, BBC News, 18 Dec. 2018.

Hi! I’m Tai.

Hi everyone! My name Is Tai and I am a senior! I live an hour outside Albany, New York! I am hoping to move downstate or attend a graduate school there because I’m tired of upstate NY and would like to experience somewhere else new and different. I am a Sociology major with a concentration in Criminology and my minor is English! I am in a sorority here on campus and I am living at the sorority house this year and I love it so far! I also live with one of my close friends from freshman year who joined Sigma Delta Tau the same time I did! She also has a dog!!! Who also lives with us! Her name is Nala and she will be a year old on October 14th! She’s a chihuahua corgi mix and shes the cutest!!!! I’m excited for this course and I had Professor Savonick last semester and I loved her class so I’m sure all of us will enjoy this class as well.

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