A thing I’m noticing in pop culture is this idea that black women can’t be traumatized by anything that happens to them. Usually when a female character is sexually assaulted/kidnapped/abused it works to make the audience sympathetic to that character. We certainly see that trope enough in books/movies/TV shows with white characters. In fact such traumatic moments are often used to “redeem” bad girls in popular fiction ranging from soap operas to suspense shows. Yet Tara, Martha, etc are some of the most reviled characters in fandom & are often blamed for the bad things that happen to them.
Tara’s treatment by True Blood fandom is a particularly egregious example of this phenomenon. Fans of the show seem to *hate* her for everything she has ever done, ever might do, or ever had done to her. But as written she has every reason to be the flawed angry woman that is on display because awful things are happening to her & around her. So, why isn’t that ever acknowledged? Why are there still weekly posts filled with Martha hate despite the fact that she isn’t even on the show as a regular?
There’s graveyard humor around R. Kelly’s ability to get away with his serial predation on young black women. We make jokes about it to push away the pain at seeing it writ large that black girls are worthless in the face of fame & money. But, if art reflects life & life reflects art then what does that say about the way black women are being presented and treated? We know we’re human, but does anyone else?