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Gabourey Sidibe => #AHSCoven: Gabourey Sidibe’s Queenie As An Embodiment Of The “Strong Black Female” Stereotype

Last week, we review a great article by Nichole Perkins upon Buzzfeed which talked about a approach a impression growth of a heading ladies of both Scandal as well as Sleepy Hollow were operative towards dismantling a damaging depictions of “strong black women” in media. It was a great read, as well as we desired which someone else common my conclusions about Olivia Pope’s characterization. 
What stranded out to me however, was Perkins’ characterization of Gabourey Sidibe’s impression Queenie on American Horror Story Coven as a disastrous hint of a “strong black woman” stereotype. She says:

“Then there is Gabourey Sidibe as Queenie on American Horror Story: Coven, a “human spell doll” whose abnormal energy is a incapacity to feel pain, even as she inflicts pronounced pang onto someone else. [...] These Strong Black Women feel no romantic pain, endure serious earthy mishap with no reaction, as well as hazard others with mill faces.”

I adore American Horror Story Coven. But even nonetheless we had rught away finished a tie to a racialized assault opposite black bodies this season, we hadn’t picked up upon Perkins’ viewpoint of Queenie as a SBW. After saying final week’s partial “The Replacements”, we not usually vehemently determine with her, we wish to enhance upon her observations.

Firstly, a clarification of sorts: the myth of a “strong black woman” is loosely tangible as a black lady who is emotionally audacious to a indicate of feeling no pain. She is never fazed or hysterical. She is cold as well as calculating. She has no personal needs or desires as well as doesn’t complain. She can take a assault as well as come out upon a alternative side unharmed. This is ostensible to be seen as a great thing. Black women have been “so strong” which no volume of abuse will mangle them. They will regularly keep plodding on. “Strong black women” have been superhuman.
Immediately, we can see a issues with this so called “positive stereotype”. It paints black women as unfeeling, as well as unqualified of romantic pain. It justifies abuses perpetuated opposite them as “not as bad” since “they can take it.” In essence, it creates black women a aim for “warranted” violence, since a thought is which pronounced assault will not start them.
Now, upon Perkins’ strange point, AHSC’s Queenie is a black magician (superhuman) whose enchanting energy is to literally harm herself though feeling pain. The usually approach she is means to inflict pang upon alternative people is to inflict it upon herself first. Her pang is partial as well as parcel of her experience. And yet, she feels no pain, thus spiteful her isn’t really hurting her is it? She can take it! With Queenie, Ryan Murphy has recognised of a impression which is a literal hint of a damaging stereotype
That’s not all. In The Replacements, Fiona Goode (Jessice Lange) appoints a extremist Madam LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) as Queenie’s personal worker as low mark for her bigotry. LaLaurie is plainly extremist towards Queenie as well as uses each event she can to debase her, as well as “remind her of her place” even nonetheless their “traditional roles” have been effectively subverted. Queenie takes it all in walk until she realizes who usually LaLaurie essentially is as well as recalls her repute for torturing her slaves. 
Later though, a minotaur which LaLaurie combined comes behind to uncover up her, sent by former partner Marie Laveau (Angela Basset). Terrified, LaLaurie begs Queenie to strengthen her. The really same lady who she pronounced wasn’t estimable to be served during breakfast, should put her own reserve upon a line to save her. And she DOES. Despite all of LaLaurie’s sick treatement, Queenie still feel constrained to strengthen her opposite a benefaction threat. This plays in to ideas about black women being in make make use of of to white women, though never next to to them. Think The Help and Hilly Holbrook‘s “Home Health Sanitation Initiative.”
The alternative vital emanate we had with this partial was a display of Queenie’s sexuality. Queenie is presented as being a usually a single undeserved of adore or sex. Early on, we sense which Queenie is a usually pure in a house. Later she tells LaLaurie which she is fat since “Dr. Phil says which kids from damaged homes make make use of of food to reinstate love” indicating utterly categorically which adore is not something she feels she as entrance to. After opposed a minotaur to save LaLaurie, she offers to have sex with him as she masturbates:

You usually longed for love, as well as which creates we a beast. They called me which too. But that’s not who we are. We both merit adore similar to everyone else. Don’t we wish to adore me?”

So, not usually is Queenie not estimable of adore or sex, a usually love/sex is entitled to is from a literal beast. And let’s not even get in to a demonization of black sexuality by literally as well as figuratively turning a black male in to a beast. Queenie’s sexuality is degraded as being reduction than, a actuality which she seems wakeful of. She is so “desperate as well as deranged” which she loses her decency to an animal. 
The make make use of of of a word “we” is poignant to me also. Not usually does Queenie see a minotaur as a beast, she sees herself as a single too. She has internalized a thought which her dark correlates to bestiality, as well as has right away literally since in to which characterization. The actuality which she sees herself as next to to an animal which is subhuman as well as which which thought isn’t challenged in any way is a really cryptic as well as extremist approach to execute black sexuality.

There is a lot of anti-black view scored equally up in Queenie’s impression as well as it creates me worried as well as unhappy. It could be argued which half a story is about a extremist worker owners who was eminent for her cruelty, as well as so anti-blackness is to be approaching in a narrative. But in my opinion, not sufficient is finished to mishandle those stereotypes. Having Fiona acknowledgement which she hates racists simply isn’t sufficient if each communication of Queenie’s upholds a existent standing quo. It is a harm to have a gifted singer similar to Sidibe, who has already been heavily maligned since of her weight, be characterized in a approach which reinforces ideas about because she isn’t befitting for improved some-more formidable purposes in Hollywood.

This isn’t a initial time which AHS has had a complaint with women. The uncover has a prolonged story of disempowering women by rape so it’s not startling which it would additionally have a complaint with black women specifically. But to fool around in to deeply extremist ideas about black womanhood is unsettling to me in a utterly personal way. Having Queenie be characterized as a superhuman savage who is undeserved of adore is a absolute summary to send in a universe abundant with anti-blackness where #stopblackgirls2013 can direction for an complete day. we can usually goal which a rest of a deteriorate gets better.