Representation Questioning What You Are Looking At (Essay Sample)
requirement: You will write (800 word minimum) “blog posts” that discuss and apply concepts from lectures and readings to media texts. These analyses should demonstrate your understanding of concepts introduced in class and your ability to apply those concepts to the media you regularly consume.
notes from articles and lecture:
¬ Bell hooks:
Reversing / Undermining the Gaze：
1. Film and other media often represents dominant social values and reproduces existing social hierarchies.
2. There are many silences / absences in film.
3.The uneasiness she felt, meant in order to enjoy those films, she had to negate and ignore the problems within the movies she went to see.
4.For some social groups, finding pleasure in films and filmic texts requires a negation of one's own identity. She had to confront the absence of people like her (as an African American woman) but couldn't think about that or address that while watching films. None of these movies represented her own sense of self.
5.Slavery and Jim Crow contributed African American acceptance and undergoing of the Gaze.
6.Spaces of power and agency exist where one can look back with a resistant, defiant gaze. If you have the power or agency, you have the ability to be resistant and defiant.
7.Overarching theme: we need more diversity and authenticity without Gaze in the film industry, and you need to look to other industries (like the indie film industry) for those diverse and authentic films.
Questioning What You Are Looking At
Representation as a concept and as a practices is a wide topic and one that draws from the various elements of portrayal of the cultures and racial prejudices in the society. One needs not go too far to understand the way that different races are represented; just looking at the social media is enough to show a glaring truth. Media is a strong platform for campaigning and driving social precepts. It is a platform for those with an agenda to drive such as racial profiling. It is has been used a conditioning tool where the African Americans and other minority races are created as second class citizens. There is an element of white supremacy that has been advocated over the years using the media platforms.
There is power in looking and being a spectator as Hooks explains in her essay of the year 1992. In the essay, The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators, Hook is able to bring out the element of the white supremacy and the discrimination that is shown on the African Americans (Maloney et al.). She further points out that African Americans have the right off and on the screen to gaze. Primarily, in the slavery days, most of the masters did not allow their slaves to look at them. Gazing was considered one of the ways that African American slaves were being rebellious to their masters. As such, it was considered an offense that punishable to look at your master or even other whites in way that suggested gazing (Maloney et al.).
There is an important lesson that is to be picked from the essay where the viewers have to realize their power to review the various pieces of media that is presented to them. The gaze is one of the ways that one is able to look at the media that they are interacting with and give a critical review as to whether they feel there is a correct representation of their culture. This is crucial as it allows the viewe
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