UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The case for blackgirl joy in America Davis, Alexandria Lauren


This project studies Black joy using auto-ethnography and narrative analysis of my personal experience, and critical media analysis to understand the cross section of vulnerability, subject position, and joy for Black women, particularly Black women in the U.S.A. My claims about Blackgirls’ experiences of joy are framed by my own standpoint(s) and background (U.S born National, working class) and not representative of all Blackgirls, for example, those who are from the Caribbean or African continent or the African diaspora in settler states. This project seeks to interrogate generally 1) How might we describe the relationship black women in U.S.A have with joy, and 2) How do our experiences inform this relationship and the expectations of Black girlhood? For the purposes of this study, joy is understood as an internal and spiritual experience that encompasses the cultivation of self-acceptance and love of self. Using narrative inquiry and endarkened Black Feminist theories, this study is set in the context of the United States and operates from the standpoint that we live in a world that frames Black women as inhuman, invulnerable, and unworthy of protection because of their perceived lack of innocence and virtue. This study examines popular culture projects like The Color Purple and Lemonade, as well as fantasy T.V, specifically The Vampire Diaries. This research argues that various media forms and communities that articulate the specific experiences of Black women’s vulnerability and insecurity allow for validation and the possibility for black women to see the potential of other subject positions. In other words, ‘we are not what they say we are.’

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International