Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

1-2020

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Communication

Degree Program

Communication, MA

Committee Chair

Smith-Jones, Siobhan

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Ashlock, Mary

Committee Member

Story, Kaila

Author's Keywords

content analysis; stereotypes; black women; Mammy; Jezebel; Sapphire

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to answer how Scandal reconfirms the negative stereotypes of black women. Scandal’s leading character, Olivia Pope, embodies the Mammy, the Jezebel, and the Sapphire. These stereotypes were invented during slavery and still used today to justify the current racial and gendered oppression of Black women. A linkage between the stereotypes and Olivia Pope’s character will be made based on an analysis of the television show. A random sampling approach was used to select a total of 14 episodes. Each of the 14 episodes were carefully examined for examples of Mammy-like, Jezebel-like, and Sapphire-like behaviors. My findings reveal that Olivia Pope is depicted as the caregiving Mammy, the hypersexual Jezebel, and the angry Sapphire. Finally, it is essential to question how black female television characters reconfirm negative stereotypes because depicting Black women as Mammies, Jezebels, and Sapphires is one way that keeps them oppressed.

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