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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Feminism Inside: Toward a Black Body Politic : Bell Hooks

Krishna Kanchith R


Thesis statement: Inspired by the critical thinking of black females engaged in the feminist movement, the revolutionary interventions created in feminist theory begin with the call to reassess the body in relation to the question of race.

Paragraph 1:

Topic Statement: Revolution happened in feminist discourse when race was included as a category of analysis informing gender identity.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Feminist visions of body politic – expanded;

Racist assumptions – challenged;

Overall critique of sexist and racist standpoints – necessary interventions and change;

Feminist movement progressed – discussions of the body highlighted – focus on "politics of the body were centralized";

Susan Bordo – Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body - "the groundbreaking role feminism played, "in developing a 'political' understanding of body practice-rarely acknowledged." - calls attention-contemporary scholars-historical understanding of body politics – stresses on tendency to move from Marx to Foucault – in a manner that erases "the intellectual role played by the social movements of the sixties in awakening consciousness of the body as an instrument of power."

Paragraph 2:

Topic statement: The black body has received attention within the framework of white supremacy, as racist/sexist iconography has been deployed to perpetuate notions of innate biological inferiority.

Supporting ideas and phrases:

Movement for black liberation reformist or radical had to formulate counter hegemonic discourse to resist white supremacy;

Reformist agenda-one of repression and erasure;

Black men-bodies out of control-reformist agenda-restrained desexualized black male body;

Black women-sexual savages- virtuous-repressed black ladyhood;

Radical militant resistance -white supremacy- black power-out of the shadow of repression- as a site of hyper masculine power and sexual potency- critique of white racist stereotypes.

Paragraph 3:

Topic statement: Feminist and/or queer theory established a broader context for discussions of black body politics.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Focus on black body-rendered complex-revolutionary feminist thinking;

Interrogation of sexism in white racist aesthetics- colonized black body;

In segregated spheres it sanctioned black male domination;

A new intellectual frame work-standpoint of race, gender and class

Paragraph 4:

Topic Statement: It remains abundantly clear that it is useful for black critical thinkers to engage feminist theory and psychoanalysis as ways of knowing, that broaden and illuminate our understanding of black subjectivity of black body.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Psychoanalysis engaged in the discourse of the body and interrogations of racist biases in its epistemological framework-needed;

Racist biases informed psychoanalytic thinking that devalued and excluded race

Paragraph 5

Topic statement: For black bodies, the fear has not been losing touch with our carnality and physicality, but how to be in touch with our bodies in a way that is liberatory that does not confine us to racist/sexist paradigms of subjugated embodiment.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Reimagining foundations-racial identity-"return our souls to our bodies"-self alienation-split between mind and body-more body than mind-stereotypes-modality of dehumanization and estrangement

Paragraph 6

Topic statement: Acknowledging the primacy of race in relation to feminist and psychoanalytic thinking about body politics is a critical standpoint that has consistently led me to focus on the male balck body.

Supporting ideas and phrases: "Women and nature"-patriarchy-female with body-male with mind-black males more body-neat binary gender polarity-identification, desire, fantasy

Paragraph 7

Topic Statement: Any liberatory visual aesthetics of the black male body must engage a body politics that critically addresses the way in which racist/sexist iconography, refigured within the framework of contemporary fascination with the 'other' continues to be the dominant backdrop framing the way images are created and talked about.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Disruption-"fear of black penis"-cultural politics-stubborn resistance-unconscious phantasy-violent and sexy phantasia

Paragraph 8

Topic statement: Within neo colonial white supremacist capitalistic patriarchy, the black male body continues to be perceived as the embodiment of bestial, violent, penis as weapon, hyper masculine assertion.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Psycho histories of white racism-black male body as danger-eroticization-transgressive pleasure-commodification of blackness;

Real or symbolic-fetishization-masculine "menace" feminized-patriarchal "feminization"-aesthetic realm;

Potency and force-subject to conditions-sign for exchange value-voids for the gaze

Paragraph 9:

Topic statement: The equation of the black men with body, nature, the feminine appears in the rhetoric of nineteenth century white male abolitionists.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Masculine white males-fear of black counterparts;

Intuition or instinct-negro's superiority to white man-equal to white woman;

Feminine race-white supremacist rhetoric-symbolically castrated-female eunuch

Paragraph 10:

Topic Statement: In resistance to thois construction, black males cultivated and embraced the hypermasculine image.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Need to counter theories of mutiliation-inherited sexual typographies- working through of past oppression;

Hyper masculine black male-sports figures- militant resistance to racial apartheid

Paragraph 11

Topic Statement: The legacy extended into the sixties, when black male athletes in all sports defiantly opposed white supremacy.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Emma Amos-cultural genealogy of black resistance-solitary image-black male "cool";

Colonized black masculinty-radical subjectivity;

Sexualized and eroticized;

Bodies as political symbols

Paragraph 12:

Topic statement: Black male capitulation to a neo colonial white supremacist patriarchal commodification signals the loss of political agency, the absence of radical politics.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Conservative change in this politicized visual representation-commodification;

Television commercials-condone the "feminization" of male bodies-feminist critique-gay liberation-market forces;

Subversive potential-strips those bodies of dignity-exploited and sensationalized;

Reinvent the black male body-subordinate and subjugte-black athlete-"submits" to objectified use-monetary reward

Paragraph 13:

Topic statement: The quintessential symbol of the fetishized eroticized black male body as object of spectacle is the image of Michael Jordan.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Repudiating identification-politicized notion of blackness-money making schemes of mainstream culture-grace of presence ridiculed;

Subversive potential-limited but significant sphere of sport-repressive racialized

Paragraph 14:

Topc statement: Rather than critique and challenge patriarchy and heterosexism, these black male bodies play the game, reproduce the subjugated image.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Monetary reward-political neutrality-imperialist and capitalist notion-power and conquest

Eroticize-homosocial bonding-sex segregated sports-realm of conquest

Counter the passive objectification-terror of passivity in men-castration-sadomasochistic action-visual objectification

Hyper masculine in words-verbal humiliation-dick fucking the other dude over-female domination and homophobia-subjugation via commodification-sexual domination over the female-devaluation of the black female body

Structure of denial-sexist domination-homophobic subjugation

Paragraph 15:

Topic Statement: Subversive elements within any image or series of images do notnecessarily counter the myriad ways those same images may reinscribe and perpetuate existing structures of racial/or sexual domination.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Fetishization-racist/sexist iconography-perpetuation of racist stereotypes-oppositional representation

Paragraph 16:

Topic Statement: By only publishing and talking about images of the black male body photographed by white males, she does not subvert the racist agenda of inclusion/exclusion, of domination and control.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Fetishized whites-racist agenda-colonizing schema-politically correct "rights" to the black male image

Concomitant hierarchial privileging-colonizing process-prominence/dominance

Paragraph 17:

Topic statement: Reaction can also engender oppositional representation.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Visual hegemony-non progressive white male-historical racist/sexist iconography

Need for curatorial dissemination

Paragraph 18:

Topic Statement: In order for this oppositional aesthetic to emerge, attention may need to shift away from the black male nude; the assumption that black males are "authentically" situated to create visual interventions has to be challenged and more progressive critical studies need to be undertaken, studies that are theoretical and historical and that foreground a variety of work.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Black male subjectivity-passive consumption-deconstructs homosocial bonding

white dominated mass media-subjectivity

Paragraph 19:

Topic statement: Oppositional representations of the male body that do not perpetuate white supremacist capitalist patriarchy will not be highly visible unless we change the way we see and what we look for.

Supporting ideas and phrases: Perspective-political choices-resuscitation-life back to the black male body

Resistance-interrogation-live again

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