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Thinking Critically

Bell Hook, in her documentary Cultural Criticism and Transformation, emphasizes people to think critically about what they watch in popular cinema by becoming an "Enlightened witness." Hook says that the power of representation through film is a major force in how we as people may think about various subjects. Thus, it is necessary that we view films by thinking about the ideas they represent by considering who made the film, what was the motive behind it, and what is the film REALLY trying to say? She gives the example of the film Braveheart. By watching this film, audience members may put the liberation struggle of Ireland on their social maps when never before did they consider this social issue. Hook also suggests that since it was a white male as the main character, the audience may feel that this may give the film credibility. This idea of a white male in power as natural and good is because of a White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy says Hook. White supremacist male dominated ideas are perpetuated due to a system rather than just attitudes and behaviors evoked by a certain number of people.

This system of white patriarchy may be perpetuated by the fear of the loss of a phallus, as Laura Mulvey suggests in her essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." She says that women are feared and disregarded because they are thought of as a castrated male. Thus there is this backlash against feminism because if feminism is embraced, it could mean leading to the castration of all males, or at least ideologies and behaviors associated with feminism, i.e. castration of males.