Black Women During The Civil Rights Era Essay Example


The history of social justice movements in the US has left out women while glorifying men black men for their role in the strife for civil rights. When black women’s role in the struggle for social justice and freedom is mentioned, it is usually the few women like Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her sit on a bus for a white person. Another example is the Ruby Bridges Nell, who, at six years of age, was the first black girl and student to attend a desegregated school in the South. There are many more examples of women who overcame insurmountable odds at a very difficult time, but their roles in the strife for justice and freedom have been generalized and left out by historians. This essay seeks to push the narrative that black women played an active and vital role in the push for civil rights during the civil era, but historians have failed to recognize the sacrifice and the contribution of women to the civil rights movement.

When readers of history look into Rosa Parks’ bus saga, there is often an attempt to simplify what that act means. Despite this simplistic approach to the saga, it is not the reader’s fault. There has been a deliberate attempt by historians to exclude women and their contributions to the strife of civil rights. Because of the failure by historians to capture these efforts by black women, there is a misplaced notion that women contributed insignificantly to the civil rights movement. However, historians are not to blame. The American society is riddled with patriarchy and male domination. The desire for a male hero is heavily desired. Historians have gone to greater lengths to line up male heroes, while going as far as distorting history. Every year during Black History Month and Martin Luther Day, stock of the struggle is taken and memories are rekindled through autobiographies and memoirs. However, these take the form of dominant history, which is sifted and twisted to fit a certain political perspective (Hall, 2007). When these events are remembered through mass culture, textbooks and visuals, the role of women is missing. The next section presents theories that explain why women’s role in the civil rights movement was largely ignored.

One perspective posits that micro-mobilization is an important role in determining how people take part in movements. Notably, many of the leaders of the civil rights movement and the social justice movements of the time were men (Robnett, 1996). According to (Robnett, 1996) these men had something in common: they were all preachers or ministers. As a result, these men could micro-mobilize people at the community level through the church (Robnett, 1996). Robnett’s (1996) makes sense when the issue is analyzed from the gender roles’ perspective. It is largely known that women were relegated to domestic chores and home making. In fact, Hall (2007) notes that when segregation halted in the South, women were employed to do household chores and had to work double to have enough to pay for the family upkeep. During these times, black men were given the meanest jobs in factories and paid low wages. Therefore, women were the breadwinners of their families. Hall’s (2007) argument is on point because it brings across the message that Robnett (1996) cannot pass to the reader. This message is that men took the lead role in Civil Rights Movements because they were the church ministers who played a crucial role in mobilizing people. However, this theory still does not justify the exclusion of black women in the struggle for civil rights. The reason is discussed in the next section.

Women played an important role in the social justice and civil rights movement. In fact, women played an equally important part in the struggle for freedom and social justice. According to Gamson (1992), women were the bridge leaders in the sense that they connected the community and the movement. According to Robnett (1996) the problem with social justice movement history, scholarship, and theorization, is that it has always used a dichotomization approach where participants are grouped into leaders and followers. For Robnett (1996), the role of women in these movements is lost within this dichotomization. Both Gamson (1992) and Robnett (1996) provide a complete picture of how women’s leadership in the struggle is often sidelined. Tarrow (1992) also supports the above ideas by noting that the role of women was to ensure execution of strategies targeting, identity, consciousness, and individual change, not to mention strategies that challenged the institutional and political relationships that characterized the era. For Breines (1982), the failure by historians arises because they ignore the social location of the members of the movement. It is only by understanding the negative relations between the northern blacks and the Southern blacks a scholar gets to understand the role female leadership played in mobilization. The South was harsh and the blacks there feared that the northerners would lead them to harm with the movement. The social location of women, as highlighted by Hall (2007) as working only in the home, provided an important bridge for the expanded membership of the movements in question.


Clearly, history continues to ignore the role women played in the civil rights movements of the past. The focus on male leadership is characteristic of the patriarchal nature of historical studies. As shown above, women were in the best position to connect the movement with the community. The men only took credit because they were prominent faces of the movement and occupied powerful positions in the church. The analysis above proves that the study of social movement’s history leadership needs to be broadened to include gendered analysis. It is only through such an analytical framework that the role of both men and women can be understood. The research above shows that scholarship in the history of social movements has been simplistic and erroneous because it has excluded women who played a very important role in the struggle. Perhaps future research could focus on this area.


Breines, Wini. 1982. Community and Organization in the New Left, 1962-1968. New York: Praeger

Gamson, W. A. (1992). The social psychology of collective action. .” Pp. 53-76 in Frontiers in Social Movement Theory, edited by A. Morris and C. Mueller. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press

Hall, J. D. (2007). The long civil rights movement and the political uses of the past. In The Best American History Essays 2007 (pp. 235-271). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Robnett, B. (1996). African-American women in the civil rights movement, 1954-1965: Gender, leadership, and micromobilization. American Journal of Sociology101(6), 1661-1693.

Tarrow, S. (1992). Mentalities, political cultures, and collective action frames. Frontiers in social movement theory, 174-202.

Black Women’s Club Movement Essay Sample For College

There are many challenges women experienced in the past, and they suffered, which lowered their self-esteem in society. To the worst of it, the black women suffered the most because white supremacy was on their shoulders and male supremacy also dominated them. The club emerged in the late 19th century with the brave women like Bellwether Ida B. Wells and others who came later like Claudia Jones who sacrified for the better future of women in American society. During these times, women had no rights, especially the black ones, and they were just a subject of labor and sex. Therefore, they formed the Black women’s club movement to fight for their place and respect in society. Their political goals were to fight racism in American society and transform, define and shape public policy. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was also another group formed in 1909 to fight the same vices and many more in the American community.

The main political agenda of the Black Women’s Club Movement was to fight racism at all costs in American society. The black women were tired of discrimination and suffering brought by the color of their skin in the American space, where they were viewed as workers, sex toys, and childbearing kits by the white community (Oxford University Press, 2019, 670). They saw their potential and realized that the color of their skin was not the limit to what they could achieve in the general American society. They were giving birth to many children, and their children were taken away from them and sold away to be enslaved by their enslavers. Moreover, some black women realize that when given the same opportunity in society as their white counterparts, they could perform even better than some of them. Therefore, the movement was created to combat racism in American society to give black women the same opportunity.

Furthermore, another political role of the Black Women’s Club Movement was to bring change to the public policy in the United States of America. The public policy never recognized the black community, especially women, and discriminated against them. They were not allowed to hold public offices and receive services designated to the public. Moreover, women were never allowed to own companies, even if it meant their husbands left it for them because they were considered the minority in the society (Giardina, 2018, 736). The land was the source of wealth in those days; however, women were not allowed by the law, and they could not inherit them, especially the women of color. In addition, women had no right to vote in American society, which means that they could not run for any public office either. Therefore, because of all these inequalities, women started the Black Women’s Club Movement to fight all these vices in American society to achieve equality.

In addition, another political goal of the Black Women’s Club Movement is to fight poverty among the minority in the United States of America. Several women and minority community members are poor because they do not have equal opportunities in the country. Therefore, the civil group is using all its means to eradicate poverty by promoting equality in the country (Taylor, 2020, 510). Moreover, many education scholarships are available in the U.S.A., but many minority children cannot access the scholarships. They lack options to pay for their school fees; hence they drop out. The situation causes poverty because they cannot compete for the job opportunities as the educated community members, which causes poverty in the American community. Therefore, they were fighting poverty in the U.S.A. to bring equality in the country.

The difference between the political goals of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Black Women’s Club Movement is that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) fights for the civil right of the people of color through a democratic process. At the same time, the Black Women’s Club Movement is also fighting for the same changes but through demonstrations and other civil protests (Ramdani, 2015, 1900). For instance, there were lynchings of the people of color without a proper cause. Still, NAACP championed change and wanted the people of color to be secured through the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments of the constitution of the United States of America. Moreover, the NAACP could go to court to channel a complaint that they think is not fair to the minority communities in the country. Therefore, it is known that the NAACP uses the official channels to fight for civil changes in American society. In contrast, the Black Women’s Club Movement uses protests to fight for a change.


The Black Women’s Club Movement is one of the most critical civil organizations that championed the right of women and the minority community in the United States of America. The group was formed by brave black women whose aim was to eradicate racism, changes in public policy, and poverty among the minority communities. Moreover, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is another civil group that also fought for the rights of the minority community through a democratic process in the U.S.A.


Giardina, C. (2018). MOW to NOW: Black feminism resets the chronology of the founding of modern feminism. Feminist Studies44(3), 736.

Oxford University Press. (2019). Interchange: Women’s Suffrage, the nineteenth amendment, and the right to vote. Journal Of American History106(3), 662-694.

Ramdani, F. (2015). Afro-American Women activists as true negotiators in the international arena (1893-1945). European Journal of American Studies10(1).

Taylor, J. (2020). Structural racism and maternal health among black women. Journal Of Law, Medicine &Amp; Ethics48(3), 506-517.

Body Objectification Among Minority Men Essay Sample For College

Societal norms are notions that stem from a significant amount of people’s interactions and their various perspectives. Societies often stem from people having similar views regarding certain topics, and these views provide people with a sense of bonding and belonging. For the longest time, the dynamics between men and women have entailed divergent views even as women continue to assert and advocate for their equality to men in society. The disparities between men and women have often formed the subject of deep controversy, with the various gender role definitions changing as time passes. The objectification theory is one of the critical theories that explain the different dynamics between men and women, and it depicts how society’s objectification of women’s bodies results in negative effects such as eating disorders and the strive to achieve ideal body standards(Daniel & Bridges,2010). This paper discusses the objectification theory and objectification and its impact on minority men’s perception of body consciousness.

Article 1

The objectification theory entails the socialization of women to perceive themselves as objects, and according to the article, this theory does not apply to a greater extent to men than women in men’s achieving muscularity. As Daniel & Bridges (2010) asserts, sexual objectification in women entails the societal standards imparted on them regarding the various metrics they should meet regarding their body types, body shape, and appearance-related attributes of attractiveness and beauty. The study’s hypothesis was to deploy the objectification theory to men and decipher its various metrics’ applicability to men. The study deployed measures such as a demographic questionnaire that inquired about age, sexual orientation, and exercise habits. Further, the measures also entailed a self-objectification questionnaire and social-cultural attitudes toward appearance questionnaire to develop its findings. These measures display findings such as a direct correlation between media ideals and the internalization of these ideals and hence self objectivation. Western culture reduces women to objects since they get viewed based on objectified standards and how the same impact occurs in men. The result of this sexual objectification is that women become obsessed with achieving beauty standards and the increased preoccupation with their appearance. Self-objectification results in negative effects such as body shame, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depressive moods. However, the applicability of the objectification theory and sexual objectification in both minority and heterosexual men is different since men do not internalize media and social influences to result in an increased quest for muscularity. The article’s findings indicate that despite the existent societal ideals and definition of men and muscularity, the objectification theory does not play a part to a large extent for men compared to women regarding body image concerns and muscularity. The second article implies that men’s goal of achieving muscularity and body image ideals is not the same as that of women, as described by the objectification theory. However, internalization of media body ideals held relations to the drive for muscularity as described by the findings.BMI emerged as a critical factor that indicated men’s muscularity drive, but more studies are needed to ascertain the severity of its relation to the seeking of muscularity in men

Article 2

The objectification theory applies to minority men, such as gay men, since, as the article asserts, minority men have higher rates of body consciousness, body shame, and eating disorders. As Wiseman & Moradi (2010) claim, sexual minority men have higher rates of body consciousness issues than heterosexual men, an aspect that is due to differences in the social make-up of men and women. The study used a survey to collect data from 231 individuals with questionnaires assessing factors such as body surveillance, internalized homophobia, internalization of attractiveness standards, and childhood harassment for nonconformity. A key result from the measures was that, in general, men prefer more attractive partners than women, which also exists among gay men. Gay men will therefore internalize deeper social definitions of body attractiveness and become more conscious of their bodies since they seek to attract more attractive men. This dynamic shows that gay men have elements such as eating disorders and higher body surveillance rates, which is synonymous with the objectification theory. In addition, factors such as childhood harassment due to gender nonconformity also contribute to the heightened body surveillance and body image consciousness. Also, internalized homophobia plays a role in gay men’s sexual objectification issues, with a positive link between their eating disorders and their shame of their sexual orientation. The study’s hypothesis was to ascertain the link between internalized homophobia and gender nonconformity to body image and eating disorders. Article 2 by Wiseman & Moradi (2010) implies that body surveillance, eating disorders, and self-consciousness present in gay men alludes to a protective function similar to heterosexual women, as described by Daniel & Bridges (2010) from article 1. Gay men and heterosexual women will constantly become obsessed with their body image and body surveillance, resulting in eating disorders since they seek to peace themselves from the societal pressures and harassment they face.

Article 3

Objectification constructs such as internalized attractiveness standards and a minority stress element such as internalized heterosexism are responsible for men’s heightened intention to use anabolic-androgenic steroids and the engagement in constant exercise among minority men. According to Brewster et al. (2017), physical appearance forms one of the most significant elements of the sexual objectification theory in minority men, and it alludes to the applicability of the objectification theory. Minority men are susceptible to body objectification similar to women since they are subject to the male gaze like women. The heightened consciousness in minority men results in them being cautious regarding gaining weight, and this element results in them often engaging in constant exercise and the heavy use of anabolic-androgenic steroids. Additionally, according to the minority stress theory, minority men will strive to achieve an ideal male body through anabolic steroids and compulsive exercise to offset the societal devaluation regarding their lack of internalized masculinity. The study hypothesized that internalized heterosexism strongly relates to outcome variables such as body dissatisfaction that drives the need for muscularity, body dissatisfaction, and compulsive exercise. The study used surveys for its 326 participants, and the outcome from the methods entailed small positive associations between internalized attractiveness standards and internalized heterosexism, with internalized heterosexism depicting minimal correlation to the quest for muscularity. These variables were the measures used by the study, and they helped show how men’s prevalence to exercise, and anabolic steroids yielded positive associations with men’s body consciousness. Also, there study revealed a deviation from the objective theory’s application to women, which is due to men’s focus on muscle-leanness contrary to women’s concern with thinness regarding body consciousness. Further, this study implies that there needs to be more research that entails measures that are unique to the experiences of minority men since elements such as stigma and prejudicial events need consideration regarding their impact on minority men’s experiences.

Article 4

Men’s internalization of ideal body image standards is due to family, peers, and mass media, and these factors contribute to body image dissatisfaction, eating disorders, and a constant strive to achieve ideal muscularity standards by minority men. According to Frederick et al. (2022), the tripartite model of body dissatisfaction is also applicable to men since it describes how men’s internalization of the cultural messages and pressures related to appearance results in them developing body image issues and dissatisfaction. The tripartite model is similar to the objectification model discussed earlier by Daniel & Bridges (2010) from article 1, and it results in men seeking to achieve lean muscular appearances and the constant need for exercise. The article’s hypothesis is to test an expanded model of the tripartite theory that entails body consciousness among many men, including minority men. The hypothesis entailed assessing the body image, life quality, as well as positive appearance evaluation and their relation to BMI. The study entailed participants answering text box questions, appearance assessment questions, face satisfaction, and overweight preoccupation questions. Further, the article’s findings showed links between family pressures to higher lean-ideal internalization with peer and media pressure linked to lean and muscular ideal internalization. The study’s measures entailed metrics such as appearance evaluation scale, body image quality, and body mass index. These measures aid in showing how the tripartite model variables such as peers, family, and mass media contribute to the higher BMI men have higher rates of body image and consciousness levels. In addition, findings from the article revealed that higher body consciousness was associated with media appearance, poor body image perception as well as poor self-evaluation. In addition, the study revealed that body surveillance strongly relates to poor body image, life quality, and lower appearance among high BMI men. Also, lean-body ideal internalization had strong links to lower appearance evaluation for high BMI men than those with low BMI. These findings imply that men with high BMI will have lower appearance evaluation due to lean ideal internalization. Therefore, such men will consistently exercise to achieve the lean ideal.

In conclusion, body objectification among sexual minority men entails various elements such as internalized standards of attractiveness, the societal definition of attractiveness, internalized heterosexism, and social factors such as peers, media, and family. As discussed, the objectification theory plays a small role in the definition and quest for ideal muscularity definition of body standards(Daniel & Bridges,2010). The article asserts that both minority and heterosexual men do not get affected by the westernized culture and definition of the ideal male body. However, the objectivity theory applies to minority men more since they have higher body consciousness issues due to factors such as childhood harassment due to gender nonconformity which is exclusive to them and not the entire male demographic. Further, the paper also discusses the body surveillance issues among minority men and the theory’s relation to compulsive exercises. The study found that minority men will often engage in compulsive exercise and engage in anabolic androgen steroid use to internalize heterosexism and internalized attractiveness standards of the male body. The paper also discusses the tripartite model’s applicability to men, and it describes the role of peers, family, and mass media in the internalization of ideal male body standards and their effects(Frederick et al., 2022). Minority men and men, in general, will often exercise in the pursuit of ideal male body standards created by their peers, their families, and mass media. The result is that men internalize the lean-muscular physique and engage in constant exercise to achieve it.


Brewster, M. E., Sandil, R., DeBlaere, C., Breslow, A., & Eklund, A. (2017). “Do you even lift, bro?” Minority stress, objectification, and body image concerns for sexual minority men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity18(2), 87.

Daniel, S., & Bridges, S. K. (2010). The muscularity drive in men: Media influences and  objectification theory. Body image7(1), 32-38.

Frederick, D. A., Tylka, T. L., Rodgers, R. F., Pennesi, J. L., Convertino, L., Parent, M. C., … & Murray, S. B. (2022). Pathways from sociocultural and objectification construct to body satisfaction among women: The US Body Project I. Body Image41, 195-208.

Wiseman, M. C., & Moradi, B. (2010). Body image issues and eating disorder symptoms in sexual minority men: A test and extension of objectification theory. Journal of Counseling Psychology57(2), 154.

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