“There is power in looking,” as bell hooks proposes in her essay, “The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators.” Hooks primarily aims at critical. Download Citation on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , Bell Hooks and others published The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators }. The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators. A look at the article by bell hooks. Presentation by Russell Brun. Purpose. To gain a critical look at black.
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This, I thought, must be an extremely empowering space- to be able to view material and critique it through a lens that sees but is rarely realized. An everyday black woman spectator who watches a mainstream film is really the victim of spectatprs white-dominated cinema that not only negates but also continually ignores her presence.
In this way, the spectator is a site of relatively little agency. It is not until one develops the oppositional gaze that feemale role of spectator can became a space of power.
However, according to hooks, the creation of independent black cinema did not actually help the situation of black women. It is difficult to talk when you feel no one is listening, when you feel as though a special jargon or narrative has been created that only the chosen can understand… no wonder then that black women have … confined our critical commentary on film to conversations.
I agree with bell hooks that there is a problem with in the film critic world with black female voices. One problem is the lack of these critical voices. The other is the lack of validation for these voices.
Bell Hooks, The oppositional gaze : Black female spectators – PhilPapers
I think her posing the solution of a new vocabulary for this discourse is valid. I also think that part of activism is continuing to advocate for individual rights even in times of adversity. Social pressure gives rise to institutional change.
The more black female film critic voices there are, the more pressure there will be to change the oppressive structure. I recognize the importance in creating a vocabulary, and I think creating a unified one will be difficult. More likely, certain words will come into practice that can be redefined by black female critics to empower and critique the system. I agree that this is an incredibly complex idea!
It is a confrontation, a refusal to be broken down into parts that can be easily consumed.
Black Independent Film – Spring 2014, Bryn Mawr
When we let our being be consumed- when we allow that image on the screen that is not us but pretends to be- go on unchallenged, even within ones own mind, then the relationship will always be one of unequal power and the representations on screen will never change. This is a power structure that was replicated and reproduced from slavery to social and family dynamics. The description of a television screen as a private experience is also interesting, since we often think of media as a very collective thing—produced by many people, very public—and often viewing it is a collective experience, as in a movie theater, which can change the experience.
If the television screen is space for the unleashing of gazes, it makes it an even more critical point to dissect how they work, free of confinement, for many viewers. In the film Mignon and Esther share a gaze that reveal different aspects of society and how black people are allowed to be displayed. While their gazes, the ways in which Dash allows her characters to look, work to deconstruct the cultural spaces that have been set aside for Black womanhood, it is my belief that the act of looking in the films goes against the way that hooks sets up the oppositional gaze.
It seems to me that the oppositional gaze is not always a sign of power, as hooks states.
I agree that there books power in looking, but I also believe that having an oppositional gaze can be viewed as no more than holding an mirror to yourself, to your image and the image that you have been told you have to occupy, and seeing that you are in an unmovable position.
Further in the article she writes about politicization.
hooks She writes that it is not an automatic next step after awareness of racism. Politicization is the step after awarness when the black female spectator decides to make a change. And I wonder, is that the point that awareness turns into politicization? You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account.
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