In this Independent Study entitled “Tell Me How You Really Feel: An Analysis of How Black Literature and Pop Culture Reveals the War Between Black Men and Women,” I examine historical stereotypes such as the Mammy, Sapphire, Jezebel, and Buck. I use the style of an extended review essay (the type that is found in a scholarly journal like American Quarterly). Scholarly review essays “emphasize the theoretical and methodological implications” of multiple texts and state what those texts imply about “future research in American studies” (americanquarterly.org). I argue that “interpretive communities” should study black culture of two types: 1) that which debunks caricatures, and 2) that which also reinforces caricatures. This type of simultaneous study will be the most helpful as they push for more positive images of blacks in literature, film, and visual art.

In this I.S., I am a reader-response critic using a black feminist lens. In the first part of this project, I analyze both positive and negative reactions black feminists and scholars, both male and female, have to representations of black characters within the works of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf (1975) Tyler Perry’s film adaptation of Shange’s text (2010), and Tyler Perry’s first film, Diary of A Mad Black Woman (2005). In the second part of this project, I use the aforementioned positive and negative literature and film reactions to further unpack the bad gender politics hurting the interpersonal relationships between black men and women. I discuss the ways in which black male patriarchy affects their relationships and causes them to misunderstand one another. In the final portion of this study, I show what interpretive communities could use from social media sites, such as Instagram and Twitter. As teaching tools, they should utilize both stereotypical and politically correct memes and comments, as together they best combat conflicts destroying black men and women’s interpersonal relations.


Wingard, Leslie




Arts and Humanities

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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