Sexuality and Culture

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 3–49

Freaks, gold diggers, divas, and dykes: The sociohistorical development of adolescent African American women’s sexual scripts

  • Dionne P. Stephens
  • Layli D. Phillips


The development of a sexual self is based in an understanding of the messages and meanings an individual is given about sexual roles and behaviors. To understand how meanings become scripts unique to adolescent African American women’s experiences, it is important to look at how their images have been framed within a racialized and sexualized sociohistorical context. The remnants of the foundational Jezebel, Mammy, Matriarch, and Welfare. Mother images of African American womanhood remain today, as exemplified by similar, yet more sexually explicit scripts that include the Freak, Gold Digger, Diva, and Dyke. This paper explores the sociohistorical development of current sexual scripts for African American female adolescents through an interpretation of Hip Hop culture documents, and the available empirical research. The relevance of these current sexual scripts to sexual identity development, sexual risk-taking behaviors, and interpersonal relationship dynamics are also addressed.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dionne P. Stephens
    • 1
  • Layli D. Phillips
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Family ResearchUniversity of GeorgiaAthens
  2. 2.Women’s Studies InstituteGeorgia State UniversityAthens

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