Today, I finally saw the Paula Patton led movie, Baggage Claim, and it was.... a predictably mediocre romantic comedy. Girl meets guy, girl wants ring, guy cheats, girl shame spirals and tries to get any one of several ex-boyfriend to propose, girl's plan fails, girl realizes the right guy was (literally) next door the whole time. And, fin. So, terrible. I did like the man-candy though.

But what stuck out to me in this film was Jill Scott's character Gail, best friend to Patton's Montgomery. Gail, a fellow flight attendant, is like Scott, plus-sized and busty. But she's also blatantly sexual. From the first few scenes of the movie, we establish that Gail is "that girl"; the one who has no shame and chases after her men the way she chases her drinks.

Normally, the idea of yet another hypersexualized black female character would irritate me, but this was different. We have very specific narratives for how we interact with black women in the media. We get the Jezebels, and we get the Mammies. The Jezebels are sleek, sexy and can't keep their legs closed. The Mammies are overweight and asexual; never the twain shall meet. But with Gail, we have a voluptuous woman, who is very sexual, and not even a little bit ashamed of it. It was refreshing for me to see a plus-sized black woman engage with men sexually onscreen, and not be the subject of derision.

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