Skip to main content
Research Article

You Should Call it Shaunadra or Lekeisha: Making Movies into Politics, Online Comments and Constrained Citizenship

1 January 2015


Discourses surrounding Black femininity and Black women’s bodies often rely on historical narratives and intersectional ideologies–interwoven beliefs specific to groups, but not essentialized–creating particular and controlled narratives. Racist and sexist narratives, whether interpersonally or through media produce exclusionary discourses that have distinctly negative effects: they restrict the opportunity for Black women to be seen as ‘moral equals’ worthy of equitable social recognition, and thus restrict access to social citizenship. Within digitally mediated platforms, and drawing from Harris-Perry’s work, I argue Black women experience crooked spaces. This paper examines comments made to The Guardian and E! Online surrounding Quvenzhané Wallis playing Orphan Annie. With a small sample, I examine the potential discursive impacts racist and sexist discourses have on constructions of Black femininities. Findings reveal that comments made in digitally mediated platforms restrict Black women’s ability to belong in their usage of, and adherence to sexist and racist narratives, misappropriated politics, and the inversion that fiction is reality. These narratives continue the control of Black femininity as pathological and quintessentially unable to portray Whiteness.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
Main File
18 Mar 2020
549 kB