Tiffany G. Townsend, Department of Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical School; Anita Jones Thomas, Counseling Psychology Department, Loyola University Chicago; Torsten B. Neilands, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco; Tiffany R. Jackson, Department of Psychology, Penn State University. Data for this manuscript were obtained from the I.S.I.S. Project, a five-year prevention program funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA Grant 1H79SP1068). Special thanks are extended to Saleema B. Curtis, M.PH., Project Director of the I.S.I.S. Project, and to Sara Whitfield, Program Coordinator, for their assistance with recruitment, retention, and program organization.
I’M NO JEZEBEL; I AM YOUNG, GIFTED, AND BLACK: IDENTITY, SEXUALITY, AND BLACK GIRLS
Article first published online: 2 AUG 2010
©2010 Division 35, American Psychological Association
Psychology of Women Quarterly
Volume 34, Issue 3, pages 273–285, September 2010
How to Cite
Townsend, T. G., Thomas, A. J., Neilands, T. B. and Jackson, T. R. (2010), I’M NO JEZEBEL; I AM YOUNG, GIFTED, AND BLACK: IDENTITY, SEXUALITY, AND BLACK GIRLS. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34: 273–285. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2010.01574.x
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2010
- Article first published online: 2 AUG 2010
- Initial submission: June 12, 2009Initial acceptance: November 24, 2009Final acceptance: April 26, 2010
Scholars have highlighted the detrimental influence of racially charged stereotypes and images on self-perception and well being. Others have suggested that identity components (e.g., ethnic identity and self-concept) serve a protective function. The purposes of this study were (a) to explore the relationship among stereotypic images, beauty standards that are consistent with “colorism,” and identity components of African American girls and (b) to determine the impact of these variables on girls’ sexual attitudes. African American girls (N = 270) between the ages of 10–15 years old completed a self-report questionnaire, which included a new measure, the Modern Jezebel Scale, that was used to assess stereotypic images. A series of multiple regressions were performed using identity components, stereotypic images, and colorism as independent variables and sexual attitude variables as the outcome. In addition, interaction effects were explored to determine if identity components moderated the influence of stereotypic images and colorism on sexual attitudes. As expected, findings revealed significant positive relationships among stereotypic images, colorism, and sexual risk. In addition, significant interactions were found between identity components and stereotypes. Instead of identity serving as a buffer against the negative effects of societal messages, endorsement of stereotypes and colorism increased sexual risk in the context of identity components. Results suggest that a strong identity may not be enough to reduce sexual risk if girls cannot critically analyze the societal messages that they receive. Implications for prevention efforts are discussed.