Bell Hooks, 'The Piano', where do I begin?
Viewing part of the film "bell hooks: Cultural Criticism and Transformation" today in class was interesting to say the least. I was intrigued when I learned that Hooks was an English Professor in New York and that the film was going to discuss Cultural Studies and Representation. However, once the film began I was shocked at the content. Hook's conversation with the camera and the viewer was very intellectual and interesting but the film clips seemed to have been dropped in at random. Also the film clips were so extremely graphic in content, and I was more disturbed then educated about 'motivated representation', 'enlightened witness', and the other terms that Hooks defined. I feel Hooks could have discussed the topics of feminism without such graphic film clips that end up completely distracting the viewer from the conversation at hand. What I was left with after watching part of this film and from reading the articles in the course packet is that feminists only want to discuss how women are displayed as sexual objects. This was reaffirmed in the first film that we watched, 'The Piano', as Jane Campion portrays the main character Ada as a sexual object. The characters Bains and Stewart both want to have sex with Ada. The film does show Ada naked and does show Ada having sex; hence she is a sexual object. What part of feminist belief was being shown here? Mulvey states that a spectacle fantasy is where "women are objects of visual pleasure". 'The Piano' is a perfect example of this. In my opinion the gaze in this film was always male since Ada was exploited as a sexual object in many ways. Overall, I would have to say that I am confused right now on what feminism is. At this point in time I see feminism as women who want to be portrayed as something other than a sexual object but when making feminist film end up portraying women just how they do not want to be portrayed.