Black Maddonas: Idealization of Virgins Within

Written by Lorraine


The Virgin Mary...or

an idealized, virtuous and beautiful woman

idealization : the action of regarding or representing something as perfect or better in reality

In my thesis 'BlackMadonnas', there is a theme I focused on particularly about the idealization, or “image of perfection”, of female virgins throughout American culture that we are just now starting to talk about. I revealed something many do not mention: the demanding pressure  when being idealized in this country. 

In a short recap, authors Jessica Valenti in The Purity Myth describes how many Western influences has transformed societal beliefs about "virginity" and Hanne Blank in Virgin adds this idealism of virginity has become a "patriarchal priority”. A popular example of this “patriarchal priority ” would be father T.I. and his public comment about attending his 18 year old daughter’s yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen is still intact. As controversial and absolutely INCORRECT that comment was (we should all know the hymen is no indicator of virginity), patriarchal figures out there truly have NO idea the impact their misogynist and uneducated comments about female sexuality and anatomy may have on the daughters, sisters, wifes and all women in our society. 

I truly enjoyed watching the episode of Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook chat show Red Table Talk where T.I addresses his controversial comments and was flat out schooled by Jada, Gammy, and Willow. Conversations like that between black fathers and daughters, black men and women need to happen more often. T.I admitted he went so far to assert pressure on his daughter to remain a virgin, something that many fathers put upon their daughters. Mind you young men, including T.I’s own son, do not receive that kind of pressure. What another double standard. 

Western culture, specifically the patriarchy, has created a damaging pressure that impacts women when creating unrealistic images being that we all consumed nonstop. Remember we are triumphant, beautiful, and spirited, just as we are hypersexualized and fetishized (stay tuned for that topic). That is one of the many truths and beauty of being a Black Madonna. 

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