[Image Post] “Strong Black Women”

Strong Black Women
Original Post:  Nyota Uhura: One More Black Female Character Fandom Wants To Be Strong and Single Forever 

White Feminism (as an institution) thinks that championing Black women as too strong and too independent to ever “need” a man in their lives is a good thing.

I’m not really sure how.

I’m sure Anne Theriault doesn’t remember our brief twitter conversation. After all, she never apologized for or deleted her tweets calling for a return to the “good ole days of Star Trek” when Nyota Uhura didn’t have a man (or a first name) to drag her down.

However, I’m incapable of forgetting about the fact that upon leaving a frankly feminist film (the main characters responsible for story progression in Star Trek: Beyond were women and two were women of color), her first response was to bemoan that Uhura, the series’ main Black character, was in a romantic relationship and then claim that the narrative “reduced her” to her relationship with Spock.

But that’s not true about the movie and it’s not true about the character.

I’m not a Theriault fan.

I found out who she was because of her tweet thread about Uhura.

But imagine if I had been a fan.

Imagine being a young Black woman, maybe even one in an interracial relationship, and seeing an author that you love dismiss a loving relationship that a Black female character has because it… reduces her.

Imagine being a fan of an author that hated seeing a Black woman be loved so much that her immediate response was a “I wish for the Uhura of the 1960s series” — actively wishing by the way for the character to actually have her role reduced because the attitudes of the 1960s WOULD NOT have allowed for a Black female character to have the presence or role that Uhura has in the current reboot  of the series.

Imagine how hurt I would be at such a reductive and frankly racist take on her character.

Here’s the thing, that whole “Black women don’t need a man because that reduces their strength” thing that has become commonplace in White Feminist approaches to Black women and Black female characters in fandom is straight up paternalistic.

It’s patriarchal.

It’s proof that you don’t love us as we are.

If you can’t imagine Black female characters — like Uhura, like Abbie Mills, like Valkyrie, like Iris West — as capable of being strong and in love… If you imagine Black women being #ForeverAlone as our default state and as a good thing…

Then I don’t see how you’re capable of loving us if you take a paternalistic, pseudo-protective approach to the very idea of us (and characters that look like us) getting into relationships… especially when a white person is the other part of that relationship.

Black women are not Samson.

Relationships will not lead to our doom.

(Originally posted on Patreon at the $1 Tier November 2017.)


6 thoughts on “[Image Post] “Strong Black Women”

  1. This particular idea is especially meaningful to me because when I was in college, I had a young black man show interest in me. Our white female “friend” found out about his interest, and lied to him, about the type of person I am. I didn’t learn about this until several years later, and ever since then, I wondered, if we had not been “cockblocked” by this woman, how different our lives would have turned out.

    So now every time I see this argument: that Black women are so strong and don’t need no man, or to be loved, or are incapable of love, I think about her, and whatever urge prompted her to nip that possible relationship in the bud, (and I occasionally wonder if, in some alternate universe, best case scenario, I am married to this man, with several kids, or something because she wasn’t there!)

    I also tend to think of this sort of thing as an example of White Feminism, in that White women have this tendency to think that how sexism applies to their life, is how it works in every woman’s life. They don’t quite seem to understand that just because they work hard to achieve some goal (such as not being considered appendages to men) its not a priority or goal for the rest of us. They wont accept the scriptures and stereotypes foisted on them by white male patriarchy, but are perfectly content to accept the stereotypes that are applied to women of color.

    The entire idea that we are so strong, we don’t need a man, came about from the devaluation of black womanhood, that we are unloved, unwanted, and ultimately unworthy.


    • One of the best things about Black Panther and some parts of the Claire Temple’s various storylines in the MCU’s Netflix offerings is getting to see Black women be loved and powerful at the same time. Especially with Lupita’s Nakia being beloved by T’challa while ALSO kicking all the butt!!


  2. I know this is a little late, but I gotta say that Uhura being with Spock threw me for a loop at first. However,that’s because I was a fan of the original movies and show, and based on the movies with the original cast I shipped Uhura with Scotty. Also on a rewatch of the Original series as an adult, I ship Uhura with Chapel. That said I totally agree with you about how crappy it is that people would rather a return to the 60’s than have a black woman in a relationship with a white man.i


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