question would defiantly arises in your mind that what is the meaning of stereotypes? A Stereotype is
“a fixed, universal acceptance or belief about a specific group or class of
people because of their race, nationality, gender etc.” (Cardwell, 1996).It may cause discernment of groups if the stereotypes allied
to them are largely negative.
People who propagates stereotypes pay no heed to social aspects
and creates links between groups of people and certain skills, actions, or attitude
where nothing inherently exist. That’s why
it’s frequently said that “stereotypes
are based on truth” is a false statement
For example, we can understand
the concept of stereotypes from this example, someone who come across a few
individuals from a particular society or country and discovers them to be silent,
reticent, quite may spread the term that all citizens from that specific
society or country in question are silent and restrained.
Television functions many more resolutions
than purely entertaining its spectators. The messages set forth by the media is
essentially important when it comes to ‘television representation’ of race and
gender stereotypes. Media perpetuates stereotypes and this can affect people’s
sense of self, relationships, and career aspirations These stereotyped
representations of ‘female characters’ and ‘colors of character’ could be the
reason that television viewing affects its viewers. It is the media which
propagates different kinds of stereotypical concepts such as “black man died
first, “black angry woman”, “black independent woman”, “materialistic woman”,
White American male Hero etc.
One of the
Stereotype “Angry Black Woman” is
discussed as under:
aftermath of slavery and the resulting social, economic, and political effects,
Black women have become the victims of negative
stereotyping in mainstream American culture. Such stereotypes include the
myth of the Angry Black Woman that
characterizes these women as aggressive, ill tempered, illogical, overbearing,
hostile, and ignorant without provocation. Some scholars, e.g. Dionne Bennett
and Marcyliena Morgan, suggest that this stereotype is less studied because
researchers accept it as true.
recent years, the “angry black woman”
stereotype hasn’t been reserved only for articles, debates but it is being
portrayed on reality TV shows.
critics’ say these stereotypical images are better perpetuated through
Television shows and movies, ”The
Moon,’ Deliver us from Eva’ and ‘Empire’ these Television drama and movies
perpetuate, particularly the “angry black woman” characters.
going to talk about one of the character form the ‘Empire’. Empire is
an American television drama series created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong released
on January 7, 2015. The first
showing received nearly ten million viewers and the season finale with seventeen
million viewers. It has four seasons and fifty seven episodes. It has won the
award of ‘outstanding Drama Series.’ This musical television drama comprises of
fourteen major characters. We are going to talk about the protagonist of the
drama name ‘Cookie”. Cookie is the core
character in the series, the ex-wife of former drug dealer, Lucious, she
gets released from jail and strikes out to lay claim to half of their
multimillion-dollar company, which was primarily furnished by Cookie’s drug
money. Cookie is depicting the
typical stereotype of “Angry black
Women” as associated with African American Women.
Cookie is depicting the imagery that is linked with
all black women as ‘short tempered’ and ‘confrontational.’ The portrayal of Cookie Lyon was highly praised and she
won an award for carrying this role properly. The character has
continued to perpetuate the stereotype of what society believes black women to
be that is loud, nasty, unimportant and always ready for some mess.
In to find truth behind this
stereotype we analyze the character ‘Cookie
Lyon’ in terms of discourse, dialogues or language that is used by her.
In season one episode six, at the
dinner in some classy restaurant, when Cookie reached there and she saw Lucious
and Annika together at dinner. When Lucious announced his engagement with
Anika, it only infuriate Cookie. Lucious uttered these words:
have asked Anika to be my lovely wife,”
Anika on the other hand shows off
her new diamond ring to everybody and Cookie
is heard saying: “So, You give me a rose after you propose to that bitch?”
“Cookie then, throwing the
flower at luscious face.
This reveals that not only Cookie’s
language or dialogues but her bodily language, actions and physical appearance
also justifies the stereotype that is linked to “Black Woman” or of which she
was accused of.
After hearing the engagement
announcement made by Luscious, Cookie
get very furious and put off her coat uttering these words:
“Oh, and Anika this is an ass”.
Again these words shows her
aggressive and furious personality, confirming all the stereotypes associated
with ‘Black Women’ that they are extra aggressive and messy.
Similarly in season one episode
twelve, we can explicitly notice that Cookie language affirms to the stereotype
“angry Black Woman” by using such
kind of words:
“Tell me why I shouldn’t throw
this drink in your bitch ass face.”
In one of the other season, Cookie
fights with a rapper, there she used language in such a manner that adds to her
Angry Black Woman character. It
reinforces the idea that they are always ready to fight at slightest issues,
never caring for others feeling so, Cookie is a character that is constructed
on this stereotype.
“You gonna Ray Rice me?! I’ve
faced bigger in prison — with more talent, bitch!”
Cookie screams at the label’s
biggest rapper, Kid Fofo, when he threatens to slap her for calling him ugly
So throughout season, one we can
observe Cookie’s character “doesn’t
compromise at all, never with herself, and never with the truth.” People
admits that Cookie uses language and
facial expressions in such a way that other people might not have the courage
to use it in this way. She is a “tell-it-like-it-is woman. Moreover
Cookie’s dressing, which is gaudy with
floor-length furs, always colored nails, big eye lashes and using all color
lipstick, all this shows her physical appearance which supports this
stereotypical concept. Hats the reason why Cookie
is called full embodiment of the stereotype Black angry women character.
Beating her youngest adult son
with a broom when he disrespects her, ‘destroying Lucious office’ and ‘fighting
with Anika’ all of these incidents shows that not only the verbal language but
her bodily language or actions approves her aggressive, nasty ,provocative
nature that is termed as “Angry Black
On the other hand 12 percent of African-American women who
believe that there are positive images of African-American women in the media.
So this mean that there are some characters that challenged angry black stereotypes character like Eva and Cookie etc.
We will now analyze a character which challenges Cookie’s character and also the
stereotypes that is associated with her.