Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Pure White Womanhood Myth by Abagond

"The Southern Belle"



The pure White womanhood mythology was set up by a bunch of upper class men who were bent on maintaining the status quo and to keep Black men and women in line. Here's a well-written post by my fellow blogger Abagond regarding the mythology of pure White womanhood.
The pure white woman stereotype was a picture that white Americans had in their heads about white women. It pictured them as being pure in terms of both sex and race. It was the main excuse given for Jim Crow, the laws and customs that kept down black people for a hundred years after they were freed as slaves.
Even today the stereotype lives on in a weakened form, making white Americans uncomfortable when they see a black man with a white woman.
The pure white woman determined how whites looked at blacks. If white women were pure, then black men were the threat. Thus the black brute stereotype, which saw black men as savages. And if white women were pure, then black women were not. Thus the Jezebel stereotype, which saw black women as easy and loose.
This picture of white women had such force that a black man could be killed just for being too friendly with a white woman. Thus the lynchings, where black men hung dead from trees.
At the heart of all this was the raw fear in the hearts of white men that black men would take all of “their” women – meaning the white women. They thought black men were better at pleasing women in bed. So they had to be stopped.
They were stopped in three ways:
White men kept the races apart with Jim Crow laws, laws backed up by lynchings.
White men made sure that most black men were kept poor. making them undesirable to white women as husbands.
The One Drop Rule meant that any children a white woman had by a black man would be black too.
Black men were kept from white women, but white men continued to rape black women without consequence.
So, in the name of keeping white women pure, to keep them up on that pedestal, blacks were kept down.
But white women were kept in their place too, even if it was up on a pedestal somewhere closer to the angels.
The American magazines and religious books of the 1800s told white women that to be good and pure they should leave the dirty business of running the world to their husbands. So no need to vote. They were told that making beds was much better for them than reading books, which would only fill their heads with the wrong ideas. And so on.
The Jim Crow laws came down in the 1950s and 1960s. By 1967 black men could marry white women anywhere in the country.
But even now some white people are still not comfortable seeing a black man with a white woman. White women are still held up as more beautiful than anyone and more morally upright, despite “Girls Gone Wild” and other things. And when a white woman is missing it can be on the news for days and days, while missing black women never seem to make the news for some reason.
Ah, the “allure” of the forbidden fruit!

The media, government, society, and popular culture decree the white woman as being the ultimate in human beauty, femininity, virtue and in moral superiority, ergo, they are forbidden by custom to mingle with “less desireable” elements of society and from the realms of business/politics/professions/academia/entertainment, for these things would sully what virtue upper middle/upper class white women have by virtue of their purity/femininity/moral superiority.

Black men and women are decreed as threats to the “sanctity” of “holy white womanhood”. Black women are competition to white women, i.e. the potential take their men away, while Black men could take away their “virtue”. Therefore, the white man have to protect his women from Blacks of both genders. In order to do so, segregation, formal and informal, media and cultural propaganda, discrimination, lynchings, prisons, etc. are utilized to this end.

Black men weren’t suppose to be familiar with white women on the pain of death. They weren’t suppose to look at posters of white female celebrities during Jim Crow. While thousands of Black women were violated during that period of time.

Abagond, white women, black men and black women didn’t invent the ideology of white womanhood. It’s white men who invented it in order to oppress Blacks, keep them forever subordinate, maintain inequality, and to cover up his guilt.

2 comments:

Keely said...

just wanted add in what is now a common reactionary response of Black Women at the sight of a White Woman with a Black Man.
Seems that in a protective move the culture of Black communitees has instilled a moral rule around their Black Men running away with White Woman. So very dirty looks will be given to both Black Man and White Woman walking hand in hand down the street.
I look forward to the day when Black and White Women and Men can walk together with impunitee.

La Reyna said...

Keely,

Have you consider your White skin privilege in the marriage market? Or have you forgotten the history of the U.S. that makes you off limits to outside men now that Civil Rights and feminism makes it possible for people like you to cross the line that your men, White men, have forbade to do so?

This is something you need to think about before writing your missive on Black womens' reaction. Did I make this clear to you?

La Reyna

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