Woman Noir: Black Women in Media

When coming up with an idea for my activist project I thought about what kinds of ideas and issues I am passionate about. Since we are in the age of technology I knew that I wanted to do a social media based project. I decided to focus on the image(s) of black women presented in popular media.

grid-cell-24743-1461617239-4Throughout this semester the GWST classes I was taking all involved a conversation surrounding the Black Panther Party, Beyonce’s Superbowl performance, and the idea that black women face a large portion of the discrimination and racism we see in America. I know that the people I follow on social media are very conscious about the Black Lives Matter movement, and most are very vocal about their opinions. I thought that a good way to keep the conversation relevant was to create a space where media created for/by black women could be presented in one place. This is where my idea came about.

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I initially thought that it would be a good idea to create an instagram, but that is only limited to pictures. Then I thought that it would be cool to create a tumblr page. I follow a lot of great tumblr pages run by “woke” black women. angrybabysitter, darkskinnedblackbeauty, and fedupblackwoman are some of my favorite bloggers. Because they focus on intersectionality, they’re current, funny, and mainly because they are run by black women. As I tried to research material for my project there were a lot of sources that took me a lot of different places. And by the mid-semester check in I decided to focus on creating a webpage for my project, instead of a Tumblr page.

In hindsight, this may have been where things with my project went a little south. I think that it would have been better for me to focus on a Tumblr page, where all I would have to do would be hit reblog, and I wouldn’t have to worry about sources or quoting. Things like that. The page I created was WomanNoir.weebly.com. I promoted it on my twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. At first I had no one visiting the site, but by the end of the semester I had about 20 new visitors each week. I think that I should have stuck with a platform I knew more about. Trying to challenge myself may not have been the best plan considering the fact that an activist project is more about quality. I would have been able to produce more quality work using a platform I was familiar with. However I do find that using a website like weebly allowed me to track things like who was commenting on my blog posts, and how many new visitors I got each week. So it was interesting to see that side of it.

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Overall, my relationship to activism has changed because I no longer think about activism as this over the top gesture working towards a greater good. For me it is about speaking about what you believe in and following in those same practices. Activism can happen in many ways and it doesn’t only have to be one thing. I think that a lot of my work was done while talking about it, and the website was almost secondary. In talking to people about my project I was able to express some of my views about the way that women were portrayed in the media; and I know I got at least one person to think about their own media consumption differently.

To anyone doing a project like this in the future, START EARLY!

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