“I'm not your superwoman”: How Jewelle Gomez's vampire Gilda can help black women recover from Strong Black Womanhood

Date

2011-08

Authors

Webb, Shamethia

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Abstract

The myth of the Strong Black Woman (SBW) has governed many Black women's lives since its development in the nineteenth century, disallowing the typical SBW her gender identity, eroticism, and humanity and limiting her to her supposed physical and emotional strength. This thesis analyzes and critiques the Strong Black Women myth, highlighting how the SBW role regulates and punishes Black women's bodies. Contrasting the de-gendered/de-eroticized heterosexual body of the model SBW to the erotic, queer body of Jewelle Gomez's character, Gilda, from her novel The Gilda Stories, I offer Gilda as an alternative to Strong Black Womanhood. Chapter One describes the archetypal SBW and the assumptions that govern her body. Chapter Two explores Gilda's alternatives to Strong Black Womanhood. Chapter Three reviews the negative impacts of Strong Black Womanhood on Black women and offers suggestions for those Black women seeking to recover from the role.

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Keywords

African American studies, Black studies, Womens studies, Social sciences

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