All Articles Tagged "stereotype"
Welcome to the “Work It!” column, where we take a look at business innovation of every kind.
Sometimes being an innovator is as easy as paying attention to what others ignore. Iman is best known for serving fierceness. She blazed runways and magazines during the 70’s and 80’s. She was a muse to Saint-Laurent, Valentino, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Versace. She’s David Bowie’s wife! As if all that fabulousness wasn’t enough, you have to give her props for being an innovative businesswoman as well.
If you’ve walked through a department store or picked up a magazine for black women, you know about Iman Cosmetics. But you may not realize how the brand has made history. There was a time when being a supermodel wasn’t enough for a black woman to find foundation in her color.
Iman still remembers make-up artists asking her if she brought her own foundation when she showed up for shoots, and the grey shade her face took on when those same artists mixed concoctions to make due.
Where There’s A Need, There’s A Check
In 1994, after she retired from ripping the runway, Iman founded Iman Cosmetics. From the start, Iman was confident in her venture because she knew there was a need for her product. Women constantly approached her on the street asking what products she used, and where they could buy them. Her products, sold on the Web and in chain stores, do about $25 to $30 million a year.
Iman’s business strategy is still effective today. In every industry and area of interest there is bound to be a group that is underserved. Being the first to cater to their needs will inspire unparalleled brand loyalty.
I was admittedly comfortable with Iman Cosmetics being identified as a beauty brand that filled the gap for black women because it was deeply personal for me. It was more than foundations and powders; it was appealing to a deep psychological need that I think all black women needed at that time: to be told that they were beautiful, invited to sit at the cool table and courted in high style.
Serve, Don’t Pander And Never Abandon
The main pitfall with this strategy is alienating your intended audience by stereotyping them. As Iman says, “Multicultural markets are nuanced, but not alien.” Know your audience and their culture, but don’t pander in a way that be can perceived as offensive. Show your allegiance with subtle nods to social cues that someone not part of that group would miss.
This innovation strategy isn’t limited by race. Any trait that makes a person unique can be translated into a business’s differentiator. Appealing to a niche market is a great way to build up to serving a larger market. Iman Cosmetics slowly shifted to a more holistic vision that served women of all skin tones. That doesn’t mean when you get on leave your base for the mainstream. Never forget the customers that supported you first.
C. Cleveland is a freelance writer and content strategist in New York City, perfecting living the fierce life at The Red Read. She is at your service on Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
We’re highlighting Pioneers in the Game every day here on Madame Noire. Click here to meet all of our salutes.
From Black Voices
In a recent study out of Tel Aviv University, researchers found that people with an inclination to put certain racial groups into a box (aka stereotyping) tend to have trouble thinking outside of the box themselves.
The findings, published in the journal Psychological Science, examined the link between “racial essentialism” (psychologist speak for the view that certain groups of people possess deep-rooted traits and abilities that can’t be changed) and creativity.
According to the Association for Psychological Science, study author Carmit Tadmor and her team explored the connection as follows:
The researchers manipulated participants’ beliefs about racial essentialism by having them read one of three articles: one that described fictitious scientific research supporting racial essentialist beliefs, one that described fictitious research supporting racial nonessentialist beliefs, or one about the scientific properties of water.
The participants then took a commonly used test of creativity called the Remote Associates Test. The participants were given three distinct words and they had to identify a single target word that linked the three words together. So, for example, given the words “manners,” “round,” and “tennis,” the correct answer would be “table.”
Read the rest at Black Voices
When I watched Marrying The Game Monday night, I thought rapper The Game’s fiance, Tiffney Cambridge, was a bit dramatic, but angry black woman never crossed my mind. Personally, I was thinking more Yvette from Baby Boy, but apparently the stereotype crossed Tiffney’s mind and she wants to set the record straight before the accusations start running rampant. In an interview with Sister Sister, she told the mag:
“The [show] caught me at a moment when I was really upset. I think that when we’re upset we all show our frustrations by sometimes yelling or maybe saying a curse word or something like that, but is that a representation of who I am? Am I always loud and cursing and angry Black woman? No, far from it.
“I was just mad, mad, mad at that moment, like we all get,” she said of going off on The Game about traveling out of town with his female assistant, adding, “I definitely will keep him in line.”
That last notion is up for debate considering the rapper not only still went on his trip to France, he also still took his assistant with him. But how The Game responds to Tiffney moving out of the house when he returns is still up in the air.
As for the couple’s image and how it relates to Black America, Tiffney said she’s not worried about receiving any type of backlash like her girls Shaunie O’Neal and Evelyn Lozada of Basketball Wives‘ got last season.
“I don’t have concerns about our show being boycotted or anything like that because there’s nothing inappropriate or offensive there. It’s just a realistic look into our lives,” she said. “I think a lot of the issues and the problems that we have, other people face.”
“I try not to judge people. I think that one of the worst things that you can do is to judge somebody else just by seeing them on television, so I try not to do that. I watch them for entertainment,“ she said. “I don’t watch it as a way to look into someone’s life and then judge it or say what I would do or wouldn’t do because you really never know what’s going on in a person’s life unless you are involved in it.”
Sorry Tiffney, but somebody’s judging you honey — more so for your choice of man, though, than your yelling on TV.
What’s your opinion of The Game’s fiance, Tiffney, so far?
For the most part, I haven’t been a big fan of rapper Plies’s music. A majority of the time I can’t understand what he’s saying, but a lot of the time, I just think his lyrics are a bit too explicit for my tastes (“Bust It Baby, Pt.2″ for example), so when I heard he did a tribute video for Trayvon Martin, I was a little skeptical about what I would hear and see. But after watching and actually listening to the lyrics, I think he did an awesome job, and I have to applaud him for being one the first artists to do a recording (and video) about the slain teenager. In the video the rapper says he was especially touched by the young man’s death, probably because of the senselessness of it, and the fact that they’re both Florida natives. Throughout, we see images of young people being judged for their looks and their hoodies, but doing nothing but holding Skittles and ice tea. And I like the fact that he was able to get young black men and women as well as young white men and women to participate. Plus, the track isn’t bad at all, and proceeds from it are going to the Trayvon Martin Foundation. Love the hoodies, actually love the lyrics, and love the message.
Check it out for yourself and tell us what you think of the rapper’s efforts.
So what do you think?
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I don’t know where President Obama’s current approval rating stands, but I know my approval of the first lady just shot through the roof. Where Obama refuses to acknowledge the racism that underpins so many comments, voting choices, and actions set out against him, Michelle Obama just puts it out there plain and simple.
Speaking about New York Time’s reporter Jodi Kantor’s new book, The Obamas, Gayle King asks Mrs. Obama about her portrayal in the book as angry, unhappy, burdened, and frustrated by her position as first lady on “CBS This Morning.” Michelle Obama responds:
“That’s been an image people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I’m some kind of angry black woman.”
It’s an image people try to paint on black women as a whole all the time. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t white, Asian, Latina, Indian, and all women feel angry, unhappy, burdened, or frustrated at some point in their lives? Don’t these women express that anger, unhappiness, and frustration? Don’t people often sympathize with their anger, unhappiness, and frustration? Why are those feelings suddenly grouped together as a permanent temperamental disposition to describe black women when we express those same emotions?
Offering a response that any mother in America can identify with, the first lady says:
“If there’s any anxiety that I feel, it’s because I want to make sure that my girls come out of this on the other end whole.”
“I just try to be me. … There will always be people who don’t like me.” But, she says, “Who can tell me how I feel?”
Michelle Obama is absolutely right. It’s no secret that society loves to limit black women’s expression. That limitation includes positive feelings of love, happiness, comfort with our bodies, and even sexual liberation, but we’re especially critiqued for sharing negative emotions, no matter how diplomatic we come across and how legitimate our concerns. I can recall incidents with a previous employer where I’d defended myself against false allegations and in doing so was told I was unprofessional, argumentative, and disrespectful—words no one had ever used to describe me, because quite frankly, I’m often more passive aggressive than I should be. When I reflected back on the situation, it was clear that the authority figures took any sort of attempt from a black woman at protecting one’s reputation or standing up for oneself as aggression or a personal affront. Yet, when I would point out the tone in which I was being spoken to by white women, I was asked whether the issue was my perception.
Even in romantic relationships, the first time a black woman raises a concern or issue, you can almost see the “great, I’ve got another angry black woman on my hands” thought bubble circling above the man’s head, if he isn’t so bold as to just go ahead and let those words come out of his mouth. There is an entire spectrum of emotions that grow in intensity from disappointment, to frustration, to full blown anger. Why is it always assumed any time we say something someone may not want to hear, our emotions are on 10?
Just like we have our notions regarding the nature of men, they have similar ones about us too. The problem is, holding on to such beliefs can be detrimental for both sexes.
While we’re inclined to think that all men are dogs Your Tango came up with a list of generalizations men make about women that may keep them from falling in love.
Among the list is the thought that attractive women won’t give an average looking man the time of day. You can check out the rest of the article over at Your Tango.com.