Profiting From the Myths About Black Women’s Bodies

In a 2016 TIMES article, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley explores the myth of the black vagina.The article addresses the lawsuit of Jacquline Fox who sued Johnson and Johnson for not adequently advertising that its products contain talc which is known to cause cancer. The talc based product, baby powder is a product that was once aggressively advertised to black women. Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder has been a culture of self care for black women for many years. As we’ve discussed in class, black women have always gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to equality in our society and have to work three times as hard to be respected. This ties in with the latter part of the article where Tinsley states “If racism posits that blacks reek, and misogyny teaches us that vaginas are rank, how difficult does it become for black women to love the scent of our healthy vaginas?” (Tinsley, TIMES). Black women are constantly being examined and made out to be not worthy of respect. This article sheds light on the harm being done to black womens body and how company like Johnson & Johnson are enablers of a very old stereotypes of black women. This article also engages in the conversation of self care for black women and how maybe our definition of what that means is changing. 

The article can be found here.

An Unnamed Girl, A Speculative History

“It was not the kind of image I was looking for when I set out to tell the story of the social revolution and transformation of intimate life that unfolded in the black city-within-the-city. I had been searching for photographs unequivocal in their representation of what it meant to live free for the second and third generations born after the official end of slavery.”

“The official documents I found in my search produced someone else entirely. In them, I found delinquents, whores, average Negroes in actuarial tables, incorrigible children, and disorderly women. In the statistical chart, the social survey, and the slum photograph, she seemed so small, so insignificant. Everything else loomed large—the condition of the tenements, the perils of the ghetto, the moral dangers of the kitchenette, the risks presented by too many bodies forced into the cramped rooms of the lodging house.”