Tags: class, gender, intersectionality, marriage/family, media, race/ethnicity, representation, welfare, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This is Sade’s music video for the song “Babyfather.” The video depicts Sade in what many Americans identify as the traditional homemaker role from the 1950s. On the one hand, this video can certainly be criticized as yet another sexist attempt to pair women with homemaking. On the other hand, the video's protagonist is a Black woman in a role the media almost exclusively reserves for white women. The video further challenges stereotypes by featuring this Black woman in a reasonably affluent suburb, thereby derailing easy and problematic associations of Blacks and poverty. The clip might be useful for jump starting a discussion about how the characters of visual media are so often narrowly written with a set of attributes, which are closely tied to the character's race and gender. Perhaps it's true that the re-creation of these raced and gendered archetypes are aligned with audience expectations, but one shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the media was instrumental in creating those expectations in the first place. Because so few stories about Americans during the 1950s ever prominently feature Blacks as residents of the growing suburbs, this music video can be analyzed as an example of subversive media, and on that score, it works well with Beyoncé’s video "Why Don't You Love Me," (here) which similarly depicts an affluent Black woman homemaker in 1950s America.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
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