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Article Summary The Oppositional Gaze Black Female Spectators By bell hooks In the article bell hooks takes a historical look at black females as media spectators Bell hooks is a black feminist who calls attention to the negative aspects of white supremacy and capitalist patriarchy In addition to spectatorship this article critiques Hollywoods portrayal of black women and criticizes the lack of more substantial role opportunities It acknowledges the importance of mass media as a powerful place for critical intervention Bell hooks begins her piece with a definition of the gaze When thinking about black female spectators I remember being punished as a child for staring for those hard intense direct looks children would give grownups looks that were seen as confrontational as gestures of resistance challenges to authority For hooks and any black person the gaze was a political entity in life Not only was the gaze controlled by white authorities but also by black parents As a child hooks explained that the attempts made to repress black peoples right to gaze only produces a staggering desire to look an oppositional gaze Michel Foucault states that looking was a sign of rebellion and that there is necessarily the possibility of resistance Stuart Hall explains the resistance to white power by locating the white mans power as wholly external to us Franz Fanon is also mentioned Black skin white masks and the significance of the resistance of black colonized people Hooks explains that a look to document is a look of opposition it is critical gaze and that one learns to look a certain way to show resistance Hooks relates the critical look to the media world primarily film and television For the first time when black people had the opportunity to see media they realized that media maintained the ideas of white supremacy Blacks on film were negated and diminished and whites were dominant But for the first time blacks
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