Answer to Question #175842 in History for Smanga

Question #175842

Briefly discuss why Sarah Baartman was symbolic of gender and racial discrimination against African women in the 19th century

Expert's answer

The parading of the nude body of Sarah Baartman by the British colonisers led England and France to racially categorise her as a subhuman. Her Black body was viewed as something that can be violated, exploited, destructed, penetrated, and subjugated to various inhumane conditions. According to Fanon, there is a world order that determines who fits where and how. She was brought to Europe seemingly on false pretences by a British doctor, stage-named the "Hottentot Venus", she was paraded around "freak shows" in London and Paris, with crowds invited to look at her large buttocks. Thus, today she is seen by many as the epitome of colonial exploitation and racism, of the ridicule and commodification of black people. Similarly, she chose to to be misused where she agreed to be taken to England mainly to take part in shows because of nature of the body; having big buttocks. This was considered as demeaning of African women and as well as their role they played in society.

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