DeityNyota

For Those Who Go Beyond Boundaries

The Images of ‘Us’

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When will the Madness Stop?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s going on my people!!?!?!? Its been a while since I wrote last, and I had some free time, so I decided I would write a little before going to bed. I started thinking about a conversation I had with co-workers and I had about the movie ‘Norbit’ some time back. I was reminded of it when I saw this extremely large woman (black of course) ordering two number 2’s with a large diet coke from Mickey D’s. She reminded me of the character “Rasputia“; who was the star pupil through out the feature. Even though the movie was about the shy, good guy Norbit, the majority of the focus was Rasputia. She was the hideous, dark complexion, weave and wig wearing, morbidly obese, loud, rude, pushy, crass, scheming and unfaithful, love interest of Norbit; prior to him being saved by this skinny, beautiful, light complexion woman from his past (played by Thandie Newton). Her size was overly exaggerated, due to the issues she experienced when trying hard to fit comfortably in the driver seat of the compact car she drove through out the movie.

Now, some may not have taken her character personal which was actually played by Eddie Murphy himself. And most of my male co-workers felt that it was nothing more than a mere “comedy” or lack there of, written and produced by Eddie Murphy as a means of bouncing back after his divorce from his wife. But a  female co-worker of mine and I saw the movie a little different. Some may say that we where being ‘typical women’ and being over-analytical of a movie that was meant to be nothing more than pure entertainment; in which I personally understand that. I honestly don’t take any movie too seriously, after all it is a movie. But what was disheartening for me is the fact that when I saw this woman in line, I began to listen to some of the things that people where saying about her has she placed her order. One young man even compared her to the character as he and his peers began to chuckle. Of course they spoke on her weight, focused on her hair, her attitude and the fact that she was rude (because she was); and one ignorant brotha had the nerve to make the comment that women like her was the reason why he no longer dated black women 0_o.

As I calmed myself down after hearing his stupidity speak volumes of his over all character, it prompted me to bring this movie forward for discussion with my peers. Because I wanted to know how my people felt about such movies that depict black women as being the stereotypical “Rasputia” real-life characters.

We see Rasputia every day within the media in movies, in commercials, Ludacris and Red Man had a few in their rap videos and in our communities. The fact that we see a few in everyday life proves that there’s some truth to every stereotype; but honestly there has to come a time when enough becomes ‘enough’. I feel, the reason why “Rasputia” is so marketable is because:

There’s this myth that black women do not work out, for fear of sweating and messign up their hair.

Not only is it a myth, but for some black women it is a reality. There are black women who once their weaves and lace-front wigs or hair pieces have been sown in, sweating for them is not an option, in which this reminds me of the documentary “Good Hair” by comedian/actor Chris Rock. Some black women don’t even want you to touch their hair much less for it be ruined by sweat, induced by physical activity. Which for some of these women, they can and do become over weight, incapable of demonstrating cardio-vascular endurance and experience may unhealthy side affect (mentally, physically, emotionally and/or psychologically) as a result. I’ve witnessed black women refuse to work out or swim after getting their hair done, yet complain about being big and become depressed about their size. And it doesn’t help them over come bouts with depression and anxiety when they see such images of said black women being portrayed on the silver screen. I remember a black woman telling me that she’d walked out of the theater during the movie because she was outraged by how the Rasputia character was presented as being comedy, at the expense of black women who share the same physical attributes. She’d struggled with weight gain all her life; and the last thing she wanted was to see was such Tomfoolery being depicted of a black woman who’s physical features where a lot like hers.

People assume that Rasputia IS all plus sized, dark skin, black women.

American society (the world honestly) has been sold this ‘brand’ of black woman that fits the  stero-typical, hyper sexual, over weight, Aunt Jemima, Baby Mama, government assistance recipient black woman as being the over all description of most black women here in the U.S. Our own men even date and marry women from other countries, telling these women that he would rather be with them than Rasputia. So any time a black woman is plus size and dark in complexion, its automatically assumed that she’s unattractive, pushy, manly, overly aggressive, angry, loud, “ghetto”, and on the hunt for a man that she can push around and run over. And you’ll be surprised how many people actually think this way. They see Rasputia, and assign her imaginary personality traits to all black women who fit her physical description. Some black men (not all) steer clear of any woman whom “looks like she don’t play” and immediately assumes she’s the epitome of the character herself.  I’ll never deny that there are some black who’re a mirror image of Rasputia; but its a sad day when you see an entire ethnicity of women being cast into a generalized mold and told that they’re not worthy of being loved, because of how someone perceives their character, in relation to what’s being seen on T.V.

Keep in mind that some women are told this for so long, that eventually they start to conduct themselves in such a manner. If you’re told something long enough, you’ll soon start to believe it. Which is one of the main reasons why (I think) many of our women, dark, and plus size, have the nasty attitudes that embodies personality traits that gave birth to Rasputia.

OUR people don’t make it any better…

WE (black people) buy into these stereotypes!!!! Plain and simple. Many of us see ourselves the way we assume other people see us; and we incorporate this double consciousness of our individual selves that leads us to ‘act the part’. Thus, in our community, you’ll witness some black women who do not work out and gain excessive amounts of weight on the count of their hair. These women value the look of the fresh weaves or new hair-do’s more than that of their physical health. Physical attributes or artificial enhancements  (i.e. acrylic nails, weave, wigs, braids, mani/pedi-cures) for them means attracting a potential mate or ‘out-shining’ potential female competition. So if their hair and nails is always ‘did’, their shoe game is tight, and they stay fly, for these women, being in shape, eating right and taking care of one’s self doesn’t matter.

In our community, you’ll see the black women whom are told that they’re worth nothing more than finding some thug who needs a place to stay and a bed to lay in. So, these emotionally damaged women open thier homes and beds to disrespectful men. In the undertone message of Rasputia’s character, she was unfaithful to Norbit after all was said and done. No matter good Norbit treated her, she still ended up cheating on him with a skinny, po-pimp womanizer (played by Marlon Wayans). It was as if Norbit could never catch a break, he could never do anything right that pleased Rasputia, because she was always mad about something (this goes back to the angry, bitter stereotype of all black women). And the second she thought Norbit was looking at another woman, Rasputia did everything in her power to hurt him physically (letting him know) he would never do any better than her. Which is the same psychological war fare that some men use on women with low self-esteem (mainly the women who look like Rasputia) when incorprotating emotional abuse into her psyche. So Rasputia was using reverse-psychology on Norbit, breaking down his self -esteme, ensuring that he knew he would never be any good in his life unless she was in it. This was her way of showing him that even though she truly didn’t want him, she didn’t want him to have anyone else; for the mere thought of him being happy with another woman made her made enough to become physically abusive and aggressive.

Rasputia (like many women) wasn’t happy with herself, so she compensated for her unattractiveness, by hyping it up. She wore scantily, revealing, tasteless clothing (as you see many within the African American Community do) that showed much more than most wanted to see. Rasputia lacked fashion sense for her body type and was proud of it. The most memorable and culturally embarrassing scene to me would be the two piece bathing suit portion at the water park; where folds and roles, stretch marks, and  Kankels where introduced to the the audience. I felt this was a poke at the women who wear clothes that are two sizes two small, or that is not complementary to their body type.

My friends and I talked for almost two hours about this woman being seen as a ‘black woman’ in a movie that was written by a successful black man. I’m not sure if this was his way of getting back at all black women based upon the nasty divorce and rumored homosexual activity with R&B Singer Johnny GIll, or if he was just mad at black women in general. But I personally was a little sadden and disenchanted with the famed comedian who did “Delirious” and “48 Hours”. Yes, he did “The Klumps”, which picked upon obesity within the African American family, but I wasn’t really a fan of that either. One might say he made fun of Asians in “The Golden Child”, which happens to be one of my favorites. And yes, he does poke fun of everyone in some point in time in the majority of his comical sketches, movies and stand-up. So I’m not technically ‘complaining’; I’m just curious to know what do most of you think about the movie, and how black women are portrayed in the media?

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