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Reclaiming Life and History: The Amazons Benevolent Society and the Black Storyville Baby Dolls

Reclaiming Life and History: The Amazons Benevolent Society and the Black Storyville Baby Dolls

Chapter:
(p.178) Chapter 6 Reclaiming Life and History: The Amazons Benevolent Society and the Black Storyville Baby Dolls
Source:
Downtown Mardi Gras
Author(s):
Robin Roberts
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496823786.003.0007

This chapter focuses on The Amazons Social Aid and Benevolent Society and The Black Storyville Baby Dolls. The Amazons is group of breast cancer survivors, both natives and transplants, who provide support to other survivors while celebrating life through costuming and parading. Wearing breastplates and brandishing swords, the group commandeers a militaristic posture that exudes strength and power. While the group’s main focus is social aid and support, the members use Mardi Gras parades to make a public statement of women’s empowerment. The Black Storyville Baby Dolls, also founded by Dianne Honoré, draw directly on the African-American tradition of Baby Dolls, the historical practice of adult women dressing as young girls, in beautiful outfits made of satin, dancing in the streets, and acting tough (smoking cigars). Both groups exemplify the use of Carnival as an opportunity to resist gender and race stereotypes.

Keywords:   Amazons, Baby Dolls, African American, Gender, Breast cancer

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