December 2010

TASK #2: Looking back at the materials you focused on for homework, please explore the black ideal of beauty and the struggles it brings along for African-American women. Connect your findings to the way weight and beauty issues are dealt with in the film Precious. More information on obesity among the black community can be found below.


Many coloured women use skin-lightening creams. They want to brighten the tone of their face and to be more excepted in society.But the creams include prescription-strength steroids which damage the skin.


Another beauty ideal is to be obese. 4 out of 5 African-American women are overweight or obese. Although studies show a strong tendency to deem larger body sizes as acceptable, particularly for women. It is even more alarming that some of these women are making a choice to live at an unhealthy weight, to be accepted.

To accomplish the black ideal of beauty they take many risks. The skin-ligthening creams have some adverse effects:

  • skin becomes very thin
  • capillaries become visible
  • acne

Also the obesity has some risks.

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure


A) Find out as much as you can about the film PRECIOUS. Consider summaries, trailers and reviews and collect reasons why it might or might not be interesting and enlightening to watch the film in class. Prepare a five-minute presentation.


  • 2009 american drama film by the director Lee Daniels
  • based on 1996 novel “Push” by Sapphire
  • main character: 16-year-old Claireece P. “Precious” Jones

  • she is teen mother, dark skinned, overweight and illiterate; living with her abusive mother in the ghetto of Harlem.
  • The first child has the Down Syndrom, and is therefore named “Mongo”
  • She gets pregnant by her father the second time that’s why she has to leave the high school
  • Precious has reached the ninth grade with good marks even though she is illiterate

first impressions concerning the trailer:

  • shocking
  • tragical
  • hard
  • moving
  • feeling sorry for Precious
  • agitating
  • shows cruel reality and hopelessness of a young persons life, living in Harlem (as a black)

Why we should watch this film:

The fim is a real “tear-jerker”.

Get an important insight of a ghetto life and all the problems of a hopeless future/perspective especially for blacks (vicious circle).

You realize that we can appreciate our living conditions!

It’s enlightening because you can compare the situation of the blacks from 1987 to nowadays. This fits perfect to our issue “the african-american experience” with their struggle for equality