Artist Frederick Mpuuga
—bell hooks | The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators (via derica)
Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman, one of at least two Khoikhoi women called “The Hottentot Venus.” She was taken to Europe as a Scientific Curiosity: “Baartman had unusually large buttocks and genitals, and in the early 1800s Europeans were arrogantly obsessed with their own superiority, and with proving that others, particularly blacks, were inferior and oversexed.”(southafrica.info)
She was a slave. She was brought to Britain in 1810 and exhibited to the public; she was allowed to cover her genitals, but her clothes were skin-tight. Her the question of her freedom or slavery caused a scandal, as slavery on English soil was abolished in 1807. Official inquires into the subject were inconclusive
She was later sold to a Frenchman and exhibited in Paris, where, among other indignities, she was displayed by an animal trainer and later had to turn to prostitution. She died in 1815.
French naturalist Georges Cuvier, who had examined her while she was still alive, furthered his scientific efforts after her death. He “made a plaster cast of her body, then removed her skeleton and, after removing her brain and genitals, pickled them and displayed them in bottles at the Musee de l’Homme in Paris.”(southafrica.info) They remained on display until 1974.
In 2002 her remains were finally returned to South Africa.
A 20-year-old girl from South Africa known as Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman was recruited to work in a Paris zoo because of a genetic characteristic known as steatopygia – protuberant buttocks and elongated labia. Whites went to the zoo to look at her buttocks and at other naked Black women with the same shape.
Gawking with desire: since forever and today.
This is the shit that I was talking about. Black women have a history of being treated like animals and if we dare say some shit about it we get shut down and told we’re either over reacting or lying for attention.
Her body is beautiful to me. It looks normal and perfect to me, but maybe that is because i am a black woman. All i’ve ever seen was the caricatures of her body:
Seeing actual pictures of her, is… i don’t have a word for it.
And on top of that this is the body type that everyone is starting love/desire/envy. Or rather it has been the body that they have ALWAYS loved/desired/envied!
I have so many feelings about this i cant even articulate them. Suffice it to say i’m just disgusted by how they treated, raped, and molested this woman ( and how to some extent they continue to do this to us black women today). I think this is where some white feminist seem to not have an understanding about why Slut Walk might now be a great liberation for some women of color.
The Rethink Homelessness campaign aims to dispel stereotypes and remind us that the circumstances which lead to living on the streets could happen to each and every one of us.
and these are just the white folks y’all! You know how many beautiful minded black queer houseless folks are on the street? How many trans* folks of color that are capable of nothing short of magic?
I remember when I was houseless and half the time was treated like shit because people assumed I was on drugs or I had did time in jail. Little did they know that I was attending beauty school and fell on hard times and while homeless I was working. People can be very harsh towards people they know nothing about because of the situation they are in.