Black girls simultaneously face the difficulties of racism and sexism; however, when combined with adultification, life becomes more challenging. Adultification is the objectification of black girls and the robbing of what makes childhood distinct from adulthood, innocence. I have experienced adultification on many occasions. It is a major issue which silences black girls and must be addressed.
Young black girls are perceived as “more adultlike” and “less innocent” than their white peers and it is absolutely appalling. This means that black girls are thought to need less support and protection, and their mistakes are more likely to be viewed as deliberate acts.
Consequently, mistakes are not allowed.
Black girls are silenced, over-sexualised and are often the victims of police brutality. They are unable to express strong/contrary arguments without being labelled as “loud” “aggressive” or “angry”. Black girls must police their facial expressions, posture and tone of voice in order to avoid attracting unnecessary attention. Despite this, they fall victim to the “Jezebel whore” stereotype and continue to be seen as sexual objects even after the dissolution of slavery and Quadroon Balls. Both of which inspired and enabled me to find design references for my 10 piece collection.
Through fashion design, I wanted to express my anger towards adultification and portray how suffocating it is to be a black girl who is always one call away from being the next victim of police brutality.
To conclude, in order to reduce the effects of adultification bias, we must teach society not to over-sexualise black girls and hold ourselves accountable for adultification. We must listen to the vital opinions of black girls instead of suppressing them.