It’s no secret that I am a Lupita Nyong’o fan girl. She is gorgeous, graceful, and certifiably ***flawless.
The actress gained worldwide attention for her heart-wrenching portrayal of the enslaved Patsey in Steve McQueen’s much-praised 12 Years A Slave. Having been thrust into the Hollywood spotlight only months ago, Lupita is notably reserved in the public eye—but her powerful presence speaks volumes about the ever-expanding ways in which Black women are complicating archaic notions about our femininity.
Lupita’s Patsey is markedly different from both Mistress Epps, her master’s wife, and from Kerry Washington’s delicate Broomhilda in Django Unchained. Dark-skinned and long-suffering, Patsey is not afforded the benefit of Broomhilda’s damsel in distress rescue. It is, however, worth noting that both women were targets of sexual violence from the white men with power over them, neither of them immune to the Jezebel stereotype that deemed their black female bodies “unrapeable.”