American culture has a long history of sexualizing women of color and holding up white women as paragons of sexual purity. Women of color are lower than pure-minded white women: spicy, sexually imaginative, animalistic
I wasn’t gonna do this, but in a conversation on twitter, @BlackGirlNerds asked me to expand on what I recently called “Daredevil‘s White Virgin/Whore of Color Complex” and I would hate to disappoint. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not just trying to dump on Daredevs. I still love the first season, and the second season, despite serious problems, is still great television in a lot of ways.
But I hope — on this site especially — I don’t need to go over again why/how problematic representations of POC and women spread like mayonnaise over a beloved television property can be like an all-day, all-you-can-take, face-slapping machine. And Arthur Chu has already shown you the wasabi-infused mayo currently salmonellizing on Daredevil‘s bread.
I’m here to show you the ketchup.
For those of you who don’t know, the “Virgin/Whore Complex” arises out of Freudian psychology, where it is known as the “Madonna/Whore Complex” and describes a particular mindset in some men unable to maintain sexual arousal inside of marriage (or, today, a committed relationship). The woman they respect and desire as a life partner is for that very reason not sexually attractive, and the woman who is sexually attractive is for that very reason not worthy of respect or dedication. The idea that this mindset is a product of a patriarchal culture is a mainstay of feminist theory.
At the same time, our American culture has a long history of sexualizing women of color and holding up white women as paragons of sexual purity. Women of color are lower than pure-minded white women: spicy, sexually imaginative, animalistic. Although it’s natural to desire the superior white woman sexually, only white men are good enough for her, and they must spend their manhood proving their worth. This mindset lingers in our collective unconscious and is expressed in myriad ways. It gets a lot more nuanced than that, so I’d encourage those of you who haven’t to read up on this. click to read more