WARNING: A bit of profanity
In this clip we can see Angelea Preston, who is clearly frustrated with her situation in the 17th cycle of Americas Next Top Model (ANTM). She has just been on the loosing team of a challenge that included an on the spot interview with all the contestants. She had received feedback saying that she was being too formal, and not herself. The judges wanted to see more of her personality. She is clearly upset, and strongly disagree with the feedback she is given.
In her article, Divas, Evil Black Bitches, and Bitter Black Women, Kimberly Springer looks into how media is especially discriminating and racist against women of color, not only people of color. Springer uses the concept of intersectionality, defined as “examining/investigating structural oppression from multiple perspectives at once,” while emphasizing her analysis of black women in media texts, highlighting that the women that she is studying are women, as well as black women. Angelea is both black and a woman. One can argue that she falls under what Springer would contend as the stereotype of an “angry black woman,” after the post-civil rights discourse and post feminist discourse has generated stereotypes that reappear in popular media. Springer addresses this in her article when she describes the stereotypical black women as constantly “difficult, lazy, obstructive, manipulative, and unnecessarily hostile to their fellow contestants.” It might be hard to see all of these characteristics in the short clip I shared, however, some of the characteristics are there. Her fellow contestant seems to find her difficult and angry. Angelea claims that when she was trying to be professional the judges wanted to see more of the hood-girl. She expresses her frustration of not feeling like she is being able to win by being herself.
One of the questions here is whether or not, or how much, is created through the editing process. Springer uses the concept of manipulated consent when reflecting on the stereotypes of black women in popular media. She claims that when you agree join a reality show you basically say “yes” to the editors “doing whatever” they want with you, but she argues that this is a bit manipulative because the different contestants believe that everyone is edited the same way. What they do not realize is the stereotypes the producers are capable of creating through the editing process. Those who edit the footage have a lot of power, and when it comes to the clip of Angelea it is possible to spot places when clipping could have been used. For example, the clip is mainly from the bus ride home from the challenge, but when the other contestant are expressing their thoughts about Angelea, she is in a private room. Therefore, these clips could potentially have been from different situations but put together to reinforce the picture created of Angelea as the “angry black woman.” Another technique used by producers to create stereotypes is by knowing how to “push the right buttons” in order to get the reaction they want from the contestants to create better, or more interesting television. Angelea is clearly upset with this situation, but do you think the producers purposely made her mad by touching on something personal in order to portray Angelea as the villain?
What do you guys think? Please comment your thoughts below!
- Tyra Banks is the main person behind ANTM, and is one of the most famous black models of all time. Is it questionable that her show has had a tendency of producing the “angry black woman” in almost every cycle? Do you think this is in fact an editing problem that could be easily fixed with a different course of direction?
- In ANTM there is not only the stereotypes of black woman that are repeated in every season, but this is the stereotype that seems to be the most prevalent one. Why do you think this is?
- There are a set of expectations to how the stereotype of a black lady should act and carry herself in different situations according to Springer. Do you think the stereotype of the respectable black women who has control of all facets of her life is impossible for reality TV contestant to fulfill, in spite of editing and other triggers created by the producers enabled to create drama?
“Divas, Evil Black Bitches, and Bitter Black Women” – Kimberly Springer