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bell hooks

Popular culture is all around us and it has shaped our views and our opinions or certain races, ages and genders. Bell hooks does an incredible job of giving us countless examples of how this is happening in our culture. She talks about how Darth Vader has the distinct "bad guy" voice and how countless movies show the bad guy with the dark appearance and the creepy voice. The voice we associate with the "bad guy" is the directors creation. The director decides how the characters sound, look, their age and sometimes their gender. Most of those things are not written into a script they are the directors interpretation of how the story is supposed to be. We should be watching films with this type of mindset but the majority of people see the story that is presented to them. They see a black character as the thief or the white middle-aged woman as the victim. I personally don't look at the white supremacy in films unless there is blatant racism in the film. I just see the characters as they are but since watching bell describe the many aspects of popular culture that i have never looked at, it makes me open my eyes and I think the next time I watch a new film or even a film i have seen countless times, I will look at it differently.

She also talked about how our culture is moving in the opposite direction of the recent feminist movements. With women being portrayed as sexual objects instead of powerful independent beings, our culture is moving back towards a patriarchial society. Women fought for almost 100 years to be seen and treated as equals and just as they were slightly gaining ground, popular culture and the directors and script writers behind movies and music have proved the power of our media. Media can be used in many ways and with the sexualization of women in recent films, there isn't much room for feminism even when Lora Croft is killing men left and right, but doing so with her perfectly groomed hair and her push-up bra. I know that wasn't an example that bell hooks gave but I think it shows how feminism is gaining no ground as far as films go. However, there was a film that just came out this past week called "the women" and there are no male characters, no men talk through the entire film and it is directed by a woman. I think that is the first movie I have ever heard of that has no men! There are so many aspects of popular culture that we could look at but I am a huge movie buff so what bell hooks was saying about films really made me think about the movies I watch everyday too. I will think about those types of things the next time i sit down and watch my favorite movie.

Comments

Good point about how you don't always look at the racism in a film because you are so focused on the development of a character. I also liked your point about Lara Croft and how feminism can't gain much ground without making compromises in the mass media to appeal to both sexes.