Samantha (Sam) Carwyn is a third-year Masters in Divinity student with Social Transformation as her concentration at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She is currently on the church leadership track at UTS and in care for ordination with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. She earned a BS from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in Child, Youth, and Family Studies, with a minor in Communication. Through the College of Saint Mary, she obtained a MA in Teaching. She has been endorsed in Special Education for elementary and secondary students and Social Studies for middle school students. She has dedicated herself to serving her community with her entire professional career spent in the non-profit sector. She has focused primarily on youth, families, reproductive justice, and supporting individuals who have experienced violence. As an educator with Colorado’s Interfaith Alliance, she uses her sexual health experience and religious background to help faith communities understand and advocate for reproductive justice.
She is committed to being Christ-like, not just wearing the title of Christian. Sam views Jesus as a counter-culture revolutionary that professed unconditional love, reached out to those on the margins, and was radically inclusive. Sam strives to do the same. As an advocate, she centers her volunteer efforts on those who are most marginalized. This value is evident in the boards she has served on: GLSEN Omaha, Omaha Mayor’s LGBTQ advisory board, North Omaha Community Care Council, and Nebraska’s Foster and Adoptive Parent Association. Considering her “mom” role as her greatest privilege, Sam feels honored to have parented via the foster care system. She strives to create a legacy that her son, Gabriel, and bonus kid, Kayla, will be proud of. Sam believes sharing our narratives have the power to promote authenticity, dispel myths, and reject shame. She enjoys dystopian content, baking, and analyzing diverse representation in pop culture.
Paper Abstract: Addressing the Oversexulaization of Black Women and Girls
This presentation will break down the ways that black women and girls are oversexualized. Sam will illustrate how though the black church attempts to counter the over-sexualization, they instead perpetuate the underlying messaging. The church forgoes the narrative that one’s body is a gift and places blame on the person being objectified. Redirection isn’t given to the person objectifying; instead, “prevention” becomes the message given to black women and girls. Recognizing that the broader society has treated those at the intersection of black and female as indestructible, those living at this intersection are expected to be selfless caregivers. For black women and girls, there is no place of reprieve, including within the church. The systems that disregard and harm black women and girls will be named, and how that ultimately impacts the entire black community.
Black women and girls continue to be resilient, and crucial supports for each other. The church has an opportunity to respond to the broader community’s disregard for black women and girls by being a safe haven. The church is ultimately made up of members who can dismantle the detrimental norms and push towards a community of care. By acknowledging the reality that most of its members endure, the church can begin to create the protective space it was intended to be. Utilizing the sexual development model created by Natasha Crooks MPH, the church can implement specific protection habits at each stage on the path to womanhood. This focus on protection will provide women and girls a clear message that counters their over-sexualization focused on their inherent self-worth.