African American Women and Sexuality in the Cinema by Norma Manatu

By Norma Manatu

This paintings specializes in the sexual objectification of African American girls in movie from the Eighties to the early 2000s. Critics of the damaging sexual imagery have lengthy speculated that keep watch over by way of African American filmmakers may switch how African American girls are depicted. This paintings examines 16 movies made by means of men either white and black to work out how the imagery may possibly differ with the race of the filmmaker. 4 dimensions are given exact cognizance: the variety of the women's roles and relationships with males, the sexual attitudes of the African American woman characters, their attitudes in the direction of males, and their nonverbal and verbal sexual behaviors.

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Morrison (1992) illustrates how white writers used black presence in their works to improve their cultural image by representing blacks as “other” (p. xi). Absent an oppositional gaze through which to counter the devaluation of blacks generally, “blackness” symbolically split into polarized selves; transformed into signs of the “sexual,” the “savage,” and the “beast”; while “whiteness” remained pure, undifferentiated, whole, and universal. ” And such appears to have been the case. For how blacks in general and black women in particular were defined and socially constructed in relation to whiteness nearly always pointed to an opposite of the positive.

Not only do members of the dominant culture within a society share certain daydreams; cultural members are also directed into conforming to that culture’s beliefs. Direction is typically achieved through a culture’s dominant mode of communication. Further, that culture determines how other cultural subgroups will be defined (Bem, 1993), because it is the dominant culture which controls the flow of social information within a given society (Postman, 1979; Meyrowitz, 1985). S. culture, definitions of cultural subgroups have come to be disseminated chiefly through electronic media, film being one of the dominant modes of communication.

Culture suggests that both her blackness and female form have evoked and embodied all of the hidden sexual fantasies and desires that have captured white men’s imagination since the beginning of slavery (Stampp, 1956; Jordan, 1968; Gilman, 1985; hooks, 1981, 1995). According to Stampp (1956), during slavery, slaveholders’ easy sexual access to black women extended to their neighbors and to their young sons who were eager for initiation into the mysteries of sex (p. 355). Given that white men had almost institutionalized sexual access to black women with little fear of actual reprisals, black female slaves generally had little or no power of refusal (Brownmiller, 1975; St.

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