BELL HOOKS THE OPPOSITIONAL GAZE BLACK FEMALE SPECTATORS PDF

Specifically, Hooks argues that whitewashed cinema robs black women of narrative agency through not only violent misrepresentations, but also utter lack of representation. Thus, feminist film theory similarly effaces the black female spectator. According to Hooks, the oppositional gaze exists as a mechanism for black female spectators to interrogate film without identifying with either the male gaze, permeated with notions of possession and patriarchal order, or white womanhood. Essentially, the oppositional gaze offers the opportunity to rethink images and ideas that have been neutralized through mechanized powers of racialization. Hooks speaks to the power of looking into discourse as a mode of establishing social, political, and racial agency.

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The piece is hard hitting and interesting and again, i found it hard to follow until i read it a few times over. The Gaze of black women is a topic which i had never explored before. As i read over the article i picked up on two or three main points Hooks raised in her writing — the absence and presence of black women in cinema, the critical analysis of black female spectatorship and the implications that surround the subject as a whole.

She relates the gaze to her own black background that had been oppressed by a majority white society which felt they had superiority in aspects of life, even looking. It quite literally expresses the idea of certain images and perceptions of individuals, as being more valuable than others.

It makes sense that these women in history had little to no power over spectating their surroundings due to them being in constant control, they had no power to look or perceive, due to social constraints.

Which is also interesting, how can we separate the gaze of certain groups in society and judge them upon importance. Why do the social constructs of looking exist when most of us have eyes? Furthermore, the types of representations spring to mind when writing about a group of spectators.

This comes to question the role of a woman in society and how she is represented in art forms such as film to be looked at. And why black women were subjected to a gaze when they felt they had no power to gaze at people at all. I believe it is important to reflect on the subjectivity of women of colour in film as we begin to recognise our place in society through our identities that have been cured, nurtured and ideas engrained and learning how there is a real power in looking.

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Oppositional gaze

She argues that in order for black female spectators to find pleasure in films that lack representations of black females, they must look at the film for the pleasure of deconstruction. A moment of rupture is crucial for black female spectators to be able to look at films with a critical eye and create an oppositional gaze. If a moment of rupture does not occur, then the black female spectator simply accepts the image placed on the screen as truth. Hooks contends, however, that black female spectators do more than simply resist. Significant Take-Aways: Black male gaze vs. Black female gaze — When it comes to the gaze of black men, hooks argues that it could occur without punishment in theaters and from the comfort of the home.

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“The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators” (bell hooks)

The piece is hard hitting and interesting and again, i found it hard to follow until i read it a few times over. The Gaze of black women is a topic which i had never explored before. As i read over the article i picked up on two or three main points Hooks raised in her writing — the absence and presence of black women in cinema, the critical analysis of black female spectatorship and the implications that surround the subject as a whole. She relates the gaze to her own black background that had been oppressed by a majority white society which felt they had superiority in aspects of life, even looking. It quite literally expresses the idea of certain images and perceptions of individuals, as being more valuable than others. It makes sense that these women in history had little to no power over spectating their surroundings due to them being in constant control, they had no power to look or perceive, due to social constraints. Which is also interesting, how can we separate the gaze of certain groups in society and judge them upon importance.

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The Gaze – The Oppositional Gaze & Black Female Spectators 26/02

Background[ edit ] The concept was first developed as a critique of film theory by bell hooks in her essay "The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators". There was nothing to see. She was not us". Thus, black women often remain in search of a mirror stage because they metaphorically have yet to see true representations of themselves. Looking at one another, staring in mirrors, they appear completely focused on their encounter with black femaleness".

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