Assertive Black Women
TV writer Janet Mock on the identity tropes like “diva” or “angry black woman” that weigh women down as they pursue their ambitions and careers.
I was hired as a writer/researcher who wrote these pieces about celebrities' lives. And I remember when that position was transferring to become a permanent position, and I was hoping to really get it. And I believed that it was mine.
And when I went to my HR interview, the feedback that I got, that I heard, which I was not supposed to hear, was that I was framed as someone that could be a potential management problem, because I was seen as a diva. And I thought it was interesting the way in which assertive women, assertive black women are often framed as these tropes that Melissa Harris-Perry has talked about in her work-- navigating crooked rooms with Jezebels, and sapphires, and the angry black woman.
As a 22-year-old, I was already being framed like this within corporate America. And so it's really informed the ways in which I think about not only feminism, but what I think about when we say the term "woman." I think that oftentimes we're talking about a very specific woman, and we're not talking about black women, and disabled women, and largely women of color, who don't often fit the ideals of what we say is woman. And oftentimes too we're not talking about trans women. And so for me, all of those experiences are kind of what I bring to the work that I do.