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Some of the challenges these women encounter when attempting to develop intimate heterosexual relationships with Black men relate to the gender gap (i.e., gender ratio imbalance) that exists between Black women and Black men in college (Cuyjet, 2006).
Because of this disparity, Black women grapple with issues such as the quest for a male partner with equal educational status, sexually related health risks, conflicts with interracial dating, and questions concerning dating significantly younger or older men (Henry, 2008). Finding herself: Pathways to identity development in women.
Researchers studying women’s identity development have emphasized the significance of establishing intimacy and interpersonal relationships in the process of identity formation (Blackhurst, 1995; Chickering, 1969; Josselson, 1987, 1996; Taub & Mc Ewen, 1991).
Additionally, studies investigating intimate relationships between Black women and Black men have called attention to the effects of race, gender, and social class as constructs that influence their intimate interactions (Hill, 2005; hooks, 2001; Hughes & Howard-Hamilton, 2003).
During the pre-encounter stage, women conform to societal views about gender and tend to display characteristics of gendered stereotypes (Helms, 1990).