Bell Hooks

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Noting a lack of diverse voices in popular feminist theory, hooks published Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center in 1984. In this book, she argues that those voices have been marginalized, and states: „To be in the margin is to be part of the whole but outside the main body.“[30] She argues that if feminism seeks to make women equal to men, then it is impossible because in Western society, not all men are equal. She claims, „Women in lower class and poor groups, particularly those who are non-white, would not have defined women’s liberation as women gaining social equality with men since they are continually reminded in their everyday lives that all women do not share a common social status.“[31]

She used the work as a platform to offer a new, more inclusive feminist theory. Her theory encouraged the long-standing idea of sisterhood but advocated for women to acknowledge their differences while still accepting each other. She challenged feminists to consider gender’s relation to race, class, and sex, a concept which came to be known as intersectionality. She also argues for the importance of male involvement in the equality movement, stating that for change to occur, men must do their part. She also calls for a restructuring of the cultural framework of power, one that does not find oppression of others necessary.[32]

Part of this restructuring involves allowing men into the feminist movement, so that there is not a separationist ideology, so much as an incorporating camaraderie. Additionally, she shows great appreciation for the movement away from feminist thought as led by bourgeois white women, and towards a multidimensional gathering of both genders to fight for the raising up of women. This shifts the original focus of feminism away from victimization, towards harboring understanding, appreciation, and tolerance for all genders and sexes so that all are in control of their own destinies, uncontrolled by patriarchal, capitalist tyrants.[33]

Das klingt ja alles noch ganz versöhnlich, wobei es da interessant wäre in die Originaltexte zu schauen. Der Feminismus hat daraus dann die „Ally Stellung“ des Mannes gemacht, in der dieser eben – so etwas klingt ja oben an – keine Macht haben darf, sondern nur zuhören und unterstützen kann.

Another part of restructuring the movement comes from education: hooks points out that there is an anti-intellectual stigma among the masses. Poor people do not want to hear from intellectuals because they are different and have different ideas. As she points out, this stigma against intellectuals leads to the shunning of poor people who have risen up to graduation from post-secondary education, because they are no longer like the rest of the masses. In order for us to achieve equality, people must be able to learn from those who have been able to smash these stereotypes. This separation leads to further inequality and in order for the feminist movement to succeed, they must be able to bridge the education gap and relate to those in the lower end of the economic sphere. If they are able to do this, then there will be more success and less inequality.

Da wäre ja sozusagen der „Missionsauftrag“. Die Theorien müssen an das Volk gebracht werden und diese müssen zuhören und lernen.

In „Rethinking The Nature of Work“, hooks goes beyond discussing work and raises a pertinent question that feminists may need to ask themselves. „Many Women active in feminist movement do not have radical political perspectives and are unwilling to face these realities, especially when they, as individuals, gain economic self-sufficiency within the existing structure.“[34] In All About Love, hooks discusses how a culture of lovelessness feeds the patriarchal system.[35]

„Würden wir uns alle mehr lieben, dann würde keiner den anderen ausbeuten und Frauen wären nicht unterdrückt“ vermute ich mal.

Media theory
In her book Reel to Real, hooks discusses the effect that movies have on any given individual, with specific emphasis on the black female spectator. She argues that, although we know that movies are not real life, „no matter how sophisticated our strategies of critique and intervention, [we] are usually seduced, at least for a time, by the images we see on the screen. They have power over us, and we have no power over them.“[36]

Und das führt dann zu „Everything is sexist and we have to point it all out“ vermute ich mal.

She focuses on problematic racial representations. She has written a number of essays and articles, and in Reel to Real she describes her experiences growing up watching mainstream movies as well as engaging in the media. Her belief is that to engage in film is to engage in the negation of black female representation in the media.[36] She states, „Representation is the ‚hot‘ issue right now because it’s a major realm of power for any system of domination. We keep coming back to the question of representation because identity is always about representation“.[36]

Netflix und Co scheinen diesen Gedanken – ausgeweitet auf die intersektionalen Theorien ja gut übernommen zu haben. Die Oscars ebenso.

„The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators“
In her book Black Looks: Race and Representation, in the chapter „The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators“, hooks discusses what she calls an „oppositional gaze“. She discusses it as a position and strategy for black people, especially black women, to develop a critical spectatorship in relation to mass media. Describing how for her, the „gaze“ had always been political, hooks explains how she began to grow curious of the results of black slaves being punished for looking at their white owners. She wondered how much had been absorbed and carried on through the generations to affect not only black parenting, but black spectatorship as well.[37] hooks writes that because she remembered how she had dared to look at adults as a child, even though she was forbidden, she knew that slaves had looked too.[38] Drawing on Foucault’s thoughts about power always coexisting with the possibility of resistance, hooks discusses this looking as a form of resistance, as a way of finding agency, and declaring: „Not only will I stare. I want my look to change reality.“[39]

Vieles in diesen Theorien scheint mir eine gewisse Überhöhung von bestimmten Elementen zu sein, hier eben der „Widerständige Blick“. Natürlich ist es ein Zeichen der Unterlegenheit den Blick zuerst abzuwenden bzw ein Zeichen von Unsicherheit oder niedrigeren Status. Der Vergleich mit den Sklaven  ist dann aber aus meiner Sicht sehr weitgehend. Die Sklaven waren ganz anderen Machtverhältnissen unterworfen als Schwarze oder Frauen. Und sie setzen sich mit einem „Blickwiderstand“ durchaus einer konkreten Gefahr aus, weil der Sklavenhalter befürchten musste, dass ihn da jemand herausfordert und das zu einem Aufstand führen kann. Genau das Bild soll aber wahrscheinlich auch erzeugt werden.

Wäre interessant ob dieser „Widerstandsgedanke“ dann zu greischenden Feministinnen a la Trigglypuff oder „Big Red“ etc geführt hat, bei der man andere stelltvertretend für „das Patriarchat“ oder welche Unterdrückung man auch gerade bekämpft niedermacht.

She writes that when black people started watching films and television in the United States, they knew that mass media was part of the system that was maintaining white supremacy. Because of this, watching television became a space for black people to develop a critical spectatorship; an oppositional gaze. Prior to racial integration, black viewers „… experienced visual pleasure in a context where looking was also about contestation and confrontation.“[40] She further discusses how this spectatorship looked different for black women compared to black men. Black men could renounce the racism of the images, while simultaneously engaging in the phallocentric nature of Hollywood films as a way of contesting white supremacy and experiencing imaginative phallocentric power. Participating in the phallocentric gaze, and objectifying the white female who was cast as the desired object, black men could rebel against the racist reality where black men was constantly interpreted as looking at white womanhood and punished for it.[41]

Also schwarze Frauen werden in Filmen nur unterdrückt, Männer können sich immerhin als Mann in dem Film wiederfinden und dort ihre phallische Macht ausleben, während sie die weißen Darstellerinnen zum Sex Objekt machen.

Die Welt ist schon schön einfach in der feministischen Theory. Da ist es ja dann wirklich wichtig, dass jede Menge Powerfrauen, nach Möglichkeit Schwarze Powerfrauen besetzt werden.

For black women, however, the spectatorship looked different. Since bodies of black females were mostly absent in early films, the development of black women’s spectatorship was complicated.[41] If black females were present, their bodies were there to: „… enhance and maintain white womanhood as object of the phallocentric gaze.“[42] According to hooks, the conventional representations of black females have been an assault to black womanhood. In response to this, many black women rejected looking at the images altogether.[43] Another response of some black women, were to turn off their criticism and identify with the white woman on the screen, through this victimization being able to experience cinematic pleasure.[44] A third option, is to look through the lens of the oppositional gaze. This is a critical gaze that, according to hooks, goes beyond Laura Mulvey’s analysis of how the Hollywood film constructs the man as the subject, and the woman as the object.[45] This „woman“ is in fact, a white woman. She criticizes mainstream feminist film theory for ignoring the subject of race, and by that also ignoring the role of black female spectatorship.[46]

Also ein besonderer Fokus auf „Race“.

She asserts that there is a pleasure to be found in the oppositional gaze, in looking against the grain.[47] However, some black females are unable to resist dominant ways of looking, because their perception of reality is still colonized.[48] She discusses that the amount of feelings of dehumanization and objectification that a black woman experiences in this society is determinant for her looking relations. The more she is able to construct herself as a subject in daily life, the more inclined she is to develop an oppositional gaze. And this is in turn affected by the realm of representation in mass media.[49] This is one of the reasons why hooks stresses the importance of black female film makers, mentioning Julie Dash, Camille Billops, Kathleen Collins, Ayoka Chenzira and Zeinabu Davis. This sector of filmmaking and spectatorship is creating new ways of recognition, identification and subjectification.[50]

Interessant die Theory zu den ganzen Diversity-Projekten noch mal in dieser Form zu lesen.

Siehe auch:

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