has gained widespread recognition as an influential contribution to feminist thought.[11]. [5] Her father, Veodis Watkins, was a custodian and her mother, Rosa Bell Watkins, was a homemaker. Black American cultural theorist bell hooks’ distinguished contribution to sociology has been to unearth the intersecting issues of cultural difference, race and knowledge within feminism. She has addressed race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism. 1. The Text Widget allows you to add text or HTML to your sidebar. I saw in theory then a location for healing. Her intersectional approach to feminism is primarily communicated through a postmodern perspective that focuses primarily on the role of the… In response to this, many black women rejected looking at the images altogether. As she points out, this stigma against intellectuals leads to the shunning of poor people who have risen up to graduation from post-secondary education, because they are no longer like the rest of the masses. Hooks speaks to the power of looking into discourse as a mode of establishing social, political, and racial agency. She discusses it as a position and strategy for black people, especially black women, to develop a critical spectatorship in relation to mass media. [32], Part of this restructuring involves allowing men into the feminist movement, so that there is not a separationist ideology, so much as an incorporating camaraderie. 6. She has held positions as Professor of African-American Studies and English at Yale University, Associate Professor of Women's Studies and American Literature at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and as Distinguished Lecturer of English Literature at the City College of New York. Specifically, Hooks argues that whitewashed cinema robs black women of narrative agency through not only violent misrepresentations, but also utter lack of representation. Her intersectional approach to feminism is primarily communicated through a postmodern perspective that focuses primarily on the role of the black female spectator in cinema. Poor people do not want to hear from intellectuals because they are different and have different ideas. This separation leads to further inequality and in order for the feminist movement to succeed, they must be able to bridge the education gap and relate to those in the lower end of the economic sphere. "[31], She used the work as a platform to offer a new, more inclusive feminist theory. Many Christian weddings tend to have five verses from the Bible incorporated into them in some way. Her intersectional approach to feminism is primarily communicated through a postmodern perspective that focuses primarily on the role of the black female spectator in cinema. Furthermore, Hooks’ notes that modern feminism, and the subsequent overarching generalizations of ‘the woman’, fails to acknowledge black women as products of a distinctive socio-historical context. Correspondingly, Hooks’ asserts that the black female spectator is forced into a position of mere observation, rather than critical engagement. 4 (1991) analyzes the politics of the gaze as it affects black women in film. Her belief is that to engage in film is to engage in the negation of black female representation in the media. The more she is able to construct herself as a subject in daily life, the more inclined she is to develop an oppositional gaze. Her 2008 book, belonging: a culture of place, includes a candid interview with author Wendell Berry as well as a discussion of her move back to Kentucky. See generally id. Born Gloria Watkins, she took her pen name from her maternal great-grandmother as a way to honor her women ancestors and chose to use lowercase letters to get away from the ego associated with names. We keep coming back to the question of representation because identity is always about representation". She later graduated from Hopkinsville High School in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. About | at 17-31. In this book, she argues that those voices have been marginalized, and states: "To be in the margin is to be part of the whole but outside the main body." "[34] In "All About Love," hooks discusses how a culture of lovelessness feeds the patriarchal system. [46], She asserts that there is a pleasure to be found in the oppositional gaze, in looking against the grain. This sector of filmmaking and spectatorship is creating new ways of recognition, identification and subjectification.[50]. Hooks speaks to the power of looking into discourse as a mode of establishing social, political, and racial agency. [36], In her book Black Looks: Race and Representation, in the chapter "The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators", hooks discusses what she calls an "oppositional gaze". : She asserts an answer to the question "what is feminism?" In order for us to achieve equality, people must be able to learn from those who have been able to smash these stereotypes. Hooks’ revisionist feminist theory is largely centered around the power of the gaze as it is applied to disparate identities. Interestingly, it’s almost as if dialogue on black female spectatorship in film theory was repressed in analogous ways as was the political practice of the gaze. A prevalent theme in her most recent writing is the community and communion, the ability of loving communities to overcome race, class, and gender inequalities. [2], The focus of hooks' writing has been the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. [3] In 2014, she founded the bell hooks Institute at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. Correspondingly, Hooks’ asserts that the black female spectator is forced into a position of mere observation, rather than critical engagement. This means that people who are not white, male and upper class will not see their values in media products and means that whole groups of people and their values can be misrepresented or ignored. FAQ | She adopted her maternal great-grandmother's name as a pen name because her great-grandmother "was known for her snappy and bold tongue, which [she] greatly admired". In "Rethinking The Nature of Work", hooks goes beyond discussing work and raises a pertinent question that feminists may need to ask themselves. In response to this “violence to the image”, Hooks created the ‘oppositional gaze’ (Hooks 97). Since the publication of Ain't I a Woman?, she has become eminent as a leftist and postmodern political thinker and cultural critic. [36] She states, "Representation is the 'hot' issue right now because it's a major realm of power for any system of domination. In three conventional books and four children's books, she suggests that communication and literacy (the ability to read, write, and think critically) are crucial to developing healthy communities and relationships that are not marred by race, class, or gender inequalities. [43] Another response of some black women, were to turn off their criticism and identify with the white woman on the screen, through this victimization being able to experience cinematic pleasure. This edition includes a new preface by the author, reflecting on the book's impact and the development of her ideas since it was first published. Yale J.L. "[40] She further discusses how this spectatorship looked different for black women compared to black men. Here is that passage, from chapter 13, and from the New International Version.“Love is [49] This is one of the reasons why hooks stresses the importance of black female film makers, mentioning Julie Dash, Camille Billops, Kathleen Collins, Ayoka Chenzira and Zeinabu Davis. She claims, "Women in lower class and poor groups, particularly those who are non-white, would not have defined women's liberation as women gaining social equality with men since they are continually reminded in their everyday lives that all women do not share a common social status. She criticizes mainstream feminist film theory for ignoring the subject of race, and by that also ignoring the role of black female spectatorship. For example, Julie Dash was one of the first filmmakers to impose the oppositional gaze within the traditionally homogeneous domain of Hollywood with her films Illusions and Daughters of the Dust: both of which challenged cinematic stereotypes by forefronting black women. In response to this “violence to the image”, Hooks created the ‘oppositional gaze’ (Hooks 97). https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlf/vol4/iss1/2, Home | > inspired her first major work), Brazilian educator Paulo Freire (whose perspectives on education she embraces in her theory of engaged pedagogy), Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, psychologist Erich Fromm, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, African-American writer James Baldwin, Guyanese historian Walter Rodney, African-American black nationalist leader Malcolm X, and African-American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (who addresses how the strength of love unites communities). [35], In her book Reel to Real, hooks discusses the effect that movies have on any given individual, with specific emphasis on the black female spectator. An avid reader, she was educated in racially segregated public schools, and wrote of great adversities when making the transition to an integrated school, where teachers and students were predominantly white. The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators. Because of this, watching television became a space for black people to develop a critical spectatorship; an oppositional gaze. 4 All of this to say that not only did Bell Hooks radically influence constructions of identity in film, but she continues to act as a motivating force for progressive social and political change. [4], Watkins was born in Hopkinsville, a small, segregated town in Kentucky, to a working-class family. & Feminism Eschewing the congratulatory mode of traditional commencement speeches, she spoke against what she saw as government-sanctioned violence and oppression, and admonished students who she believed went along with such practices. (1991). Iss. Vol. Accessed June 12, 2018. sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFhooks1996 (, Ain't I a Woman? [41] If black females were present, their bodies were there to: "[...] enhance and maintain white womanhood as object of the phallocentric gaze. They have power over us, and we have no power over them. This is a critical gaze that, according to hooks, goes beyond Laura Mulvey's analysis of how the Hollywood film constructs the man as the subject, and the woman as the object. bell hooks, [37] hooks writes that because she remembered how she had dared to look at adults as a child, even though she was forbidden, she knew that slaves had looked too. Thus, feminist film theory similarly effaces the black female spectator. Edit them in the Widget section of the, Bell Hooks, a pen name for Gloria Jean Watkins, is an influential author, activist, and feminist. [9] In 1981 South End Press published her first major work, Ain't I a Woman? Black men could renounce the racism of the images, while simultaneously engaging in the phallocentric nature of Hollywood films as a way of contesting white supremacy and experiencing imaginative phallocentric power. : both of which challenged cinematic stereotypes by forefronting black women.

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