Friend and Foe: How Sapphire Stereotype Endorsement and Gendered Racial Identity Centrality Influence Black Women's Sexual Assertiveness

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Espinel, Sarah, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Espinel, Sarah, University of Virginia

The Sapphire gendered racial stereotype, which depicts Black women as domineering, controlling, and emasculating, stands in direct contrast to the hegemonic feminine sexual ideals of women’s submissiveness and passivity. While research has examined the influence of Black women’s negotiation of the Jezebel and Strong Black Woman stereotypes on sexual assertiveness, the relation between Sapphire stereotype endorsement and sexual assertiveness has yet to be investigated. We surveyed 1,595 Black women (Mage= 23.44) to examine whether Sapphire stereotype endorsement would be associated with sexual assertiveness, and if gendered racial identity centrality moderated this association. Our findings revealed that Sapphire endorsement was significantly associated with greater sexual assertiveness. Further, we found that gendered racial identity centrality moderated this association, such that it was strongest for women with high compared to low gendered racial identity centrality. Findings demonstrate the need for culturally relevant practice interventions that promote Black women’s sexual well-being with consideration to the influence of gendered racial stereotypes on Black women’s sexual experiences.

MA (Master of Arts)
Black women, Gendered racial identity centrality , Hegemonic feminine sexual ideals, Sapphire stereotype , Angry Black Woman stereotype , Sexual assertiveness
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