"Black Venus" playing on Netflix

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Why were scientists in Europe so fascinated with this woman ? It was almost like they considered her to be an alien from another Planet ,the way they were behaving .



Why were scientists in Europe so fascinated with this woman ? It was almost like they considered her to be an alien from another Planet ,the way they were behaving .
I haven't seen the Netflix film. I know a bit about Baartman's story from this Ask a Mortician episode (heads up there are images of nude drawings/statues in the video)



Like she says in the video, there was a lot of race-based "science" around this time. This is around the same time that you get phrenology coming into popularity.

I think that at this time period you also just had scientists who were a lot more dehumanizing towards people of different races or people with disabilities, or just people who didn't have the power to advocate for themselves.

I personally think that Europeans in particular were in this headspace where they had perpetrated a lot of race-based violence and wrongdoing. You've got the Enlightenment coming in, which says that people are people and arguing for autonomy and independence. And I think that a lot of scientists wanted physical bodies to MEAN something. Thus the idea of measuring someone's skull to figure out if they are a criminal. Or weighing the brains of difference racial groups to try and prove intellectual superiority with that data.

Also, there's just the fact that the Khoikhoi people have a very different physical appearance to most Europeans. It's very likely that most people/scientists had never seen a woman with her proportions. Combine that with less respect for people of other races and, bam, dissecting her body without permission, demanding to draw her naked, etc. I think that they didn't see her as a person, they saw her as a specimen.



freedom ~ peace ~ lurve
Thanks for posting this episode Takoma11,....interesting documentary, but depressing at the same time.

The best part for me was learning that there were some folks around at the time who were concerned enough about the welfare of Saartjie to bring legal proceedings against those responsible for her plight.



Thanks for posting this episode Takoma11,....interesting documentary, but depressing at the same time.

The best part for me was learning that there were some folks around at the time who were concerned enough about the welfare of Saartjie to bring legal proceedings against those responsible for her plight.
Yes, I think that there's a common misconception about how many people were vocal about abolition way, way before the Civil War era. Ben Franklin, for example, went from owning slaves to being the President of an abolitionist organization. In England, abolitionist laws and sentiments came around a bit earlier than in America.

Unfortunately, if you are trying to change minds/laws about a practice that earns people money . . . good luck. That's always an uphill battle.

It's also crazy to think that everything she went through all happened before the age of 26.