Answer to Question #172080 in Psychology for Faith

Question #172080

Briefly discuss why Sarah baartman was symbolic of gender and racial discrimination against african women in the 19th century.

Expert's answer

History records Sarah Baartman as the first person from the Khoikhoi to be taken from their home country. She was taken to the West on account of her exaggerated body form. Her story is mostly used symbolically as an illustration of various social strains that face women. She has been widely used to represent discrimination and suffering that African women undergo in this century.

Sarah was extensively exploited and received horrible mistreatment to her death and even after death. When alive, she would be paraded to the general public and scientists wearing skintight for them to examine her body. With time, the European public grew obsessed with Sarah's reproductive organs. They identified her sexual organs as overdeveloped as compared to those of the whites.

Wealthy people would go to an extent of paying a private demonstration of her body. On making extra pay, one would be allowed to touch or even poke her reproductive organs. Baartman was subjected to extensive hardships which some of the African women undergo. After she died, both her brain and the reproductive organs were displayed at the Musee de I'Homme for one hundred and fifty years.

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