bell hooks on cultural criticism

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In hooks' documentary, she examines how power and money affect what we see in the media and how the images we see affect our beliefs. She advocates that we become critical viewers of images presented in the media to avoid perpetuating inequalities and misrepresentations in society. To become critically aware of what is presented in the media, we need to look at what the creators of the media's motives are and furthermore be in-tune with what the overall message of the media presents. For example, hooks explains that in the movie Hoop Dreams, the guy who turns toward academics isn't looked upon nearly as favorably as the basketball hero. We have to look at what that message sends out to viewers, and ask why the decision was made to portray each character a certain way. Oftentimes, decisions are made based on what producers believe viewers want, and what message will please box office crowds rather than what is most realistic. Hooks also uses Madonna's transformation from a feminist figure to a misogynist pleasing sex symbol to demonstrate how money affects what we see in the media. As they say, sex sells and so Madonna becomes sexier. Hooks advises that as critical viewers of media, we don't buy into the idea that media celebrities are appropriate representations of groups of people. When hooks says that we need to be "enlightened witnesses" when watching marginalized groups of people on screen, she means that we need to recognize the power structures that lie behind the scenes. We should realize that the media isn't an accurate way to judge a culture, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Sometimes what is shown is just what those in power think will sell. For example hooks illustrates that many films about Blacks are made by white directors, producers, and writers because they will give primarily white audiences what they are looking for. In relation to this class, we need to be enlightened witnesses in order to view queer cinema with questions of who is in power in mind.

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This page contains a single entry by manci029 published on January 23, 2012 11:30 AM.

Bell Hooks and Cultural Criticism was the previous entry in this blog.

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