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bell hooks

bell hooks, like many film viewers coming from a perspective different from the "standard" white male perspective, teaches us to be more aware of the different lenses we can use to evaluate a film from. She herself is a black female, and thereby is able to see films/tv shows/music from both a black and a female perspective. Even if we are not necessairly black or female or gay or whatever, bell hooks' film makes it clear that trying to adopt such a perspective allows the viewer to understand the film in a many-layered way. The viewer must break from what Mulvey called the "male gaze" (that is, the straight white male gaze) and see the piece in a different way. One of the key steps to breaking away is understanding what hooks refers to as "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy" as being the overriding viewpoint in our society. hooks' film has definitely made me more aware of the different elements that come into play when approaching a piece of popular culture as well as how other people might view the very same thing.

The thing I found the most interesting in the film was her view on the OJ Simpson trial. In this case, she did not see the trial from some kind of racialized perspective, but rather saw it from a strongly gendered perspective. This was an excellent example of how everybody has multiple perspectives/identites and certain of these identites become more important than others in certain contexts. This is also something to consider when viewing the films, inspiring such questions as - "why does this scene make me feel this way?" and "when can I identify with the woman (as a woman) and when can I not?"

Comments

Yep! This is basically what I thought was the main message from her film and is what I wrote about in my blog as well. I think she brings up many good points, but at the same time I feel guilty. If anything is looked at too critically, we can find faults. It's like using her teachings and applying it to this debate and viewing all the perspectives.

I also found her stance on the O.J. Simpson trial very interesting. She was able to remove herself from being a "black woman" and look at the situation as a whole not just based on race. I was upset by the footage of the black women in the battered women's shelter cheering for the "not gulity" verdict. I feel that their reactions completely went against their own personal struggles and made them look foolish.

Angela -- I also found the reactions of the women in the shelter to the O.J. verdict deeply disturbing. hooks couldn't have found a more effective clip to illustrate her argument than that one. While hooks' ability to create a subtle and thoughtful analysis is certainly better than my own, I didn't find myself surprised by many of her points other than the one she was trying to make through the use of that clip -- that women have a certain allegiance to patriarchy, and that issues of race (amongst other things) can actually take precedence over gender issues. While I couldn't speak as to what the experience of being a minority female is like, as I am not part of that group, it seems bizarre to me that women would have an interest (albeit unconscious) in maintaining the patriarchy. To me, it seems as though what hooks calls the "White Supremacist Patriarchal Capitalist" is responsible not only for the gender inequalities but the racial ones as well... the more I think about it, the more distressing it is. It, in theory, seems so simple -- addressing the patriarchy addresses other issues in turn. Unfortunately, things just aren't that simple.