Workshop presenter J. Tanisha Garnier, spoke on the body image and beauty narratives among Black women that emphasize the role of female kinship in the co-continuation of beauty, body image and health habits in Black families.
She first went over a few theories:
Black Feminist Theory — This contextualizes the intersections of race and gender within black women’s experiences; increases awareness of misrepresentations of black women; investigates the oppression of our experiences; emphasizes the experienced realities of our lives; and how cultural awareness translating into social action.
Narrative Theory: Marriage and family therapy; which highlights the voice of clients
Transgenerational Theory: Multigenerational transmission (e.g. substance abuse, career paths, etc), in other words, patterns often repeat themselves through generations.
Other points J. Tanisha touched on:
- The role of black mothers include providing social and racial buffering and survival against assaults of racism and sexism; combating negative public regard; and instilling values of racial identity.
- Other-mothers and fictive kin assist blood mothers in the responsibilities of child care for short- and long-term periods and include both formal and informal arrangements (e.g., grandmas, aunts/cousins, etc.); they also help to relieve stress.
- Studies support the idea that girl’s self-esteem is higher when parents emphasize racial identity.
- Depression issues often go undetected because they often ignore other criteria that affect black women such as skin color, hair texture and nose sizes; they also go undetected due to stereotypes (low access to services, obstacles to receiving treatment – time, money, accessibility).
In closing, we have to deconstruct harmful narratives by: identifying the old, unhelpful story; exploring the history and effect; exploring the exceptions; highlighting the unique re-descriptions and new story; and acknowledging witnesses to our new story.