The message put forth to African-American women from mainstream America is they are not sexual beings. The white standard of beauty that existed for so many years has been replaced by an exotic factor. Current society views a woman of any ethnicity as being more desirable than an African-American woman. Where do these attitudes stem from? Is there an answer? Will the phrase "Pretty for a black girl" ever cease to exist?
The role of exotic plaything was one category for people of color of in historical America. A slave master would relieve his sexual tension with a female slave instead of ruining a "good white woman." The attitude of African American woman as disposable sexual plaything never disappeared and many explain they would have sex with an African American woman, but never consider marriage with her.
Young African American females seeking a sex symbol have a short list of candidates. Mainstream America provides many examples of white womanhood. You can be Taylor Swift or Pamela Anderson. You can be Bella and have the love and adoration of supernatural creatures or be Lara Croft and explore caves and gather riches. People bring up Halle Berry as a sex symbol who is a woman of color, but Ms. Berry is mixed race and possesses an aesthetic quality that most African-American girls do not have. The previously mentioned women all have different appearances and all are considered sexy and desirable. Mainstream America offers white youth a choice in their path to sexiness. African-American girls are bombarded with images of characters like Lil' Kim and Nicki Manaj. These women do no justice to perceived image of African American women.
Debate rages about rap videos and their portrayal of women. Pre-teens mimicking the dances and clothes they see. How many role-models do African American girls have to emulate? They don't look at Gossip Girl and see someone "like them." It is easier to turn on a music video and see someone who looks like you and imitate their actions. The need exists for a classy African-American sex symbol.
On her show, Tyra quizzed men about potential dream mates. The men listed African American women at the bottom. Stereotypical qualities such as bossiness, sub-standard physical appearance, loudness and a horrible attitude made African-American women least desirable. African American women have been placed in a box by their portrayal on movies and in television. Few people even bother to break through the stereotypes to get to the truth.
When will it not a be a big deal to purchase a fashion magazine and see an African-American featured on the cover? Other ethnicities have achieved a level of desirability and hipness in America. In this climate of constant social evolution, how has the American attitude toward African-American women been stunted?