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Taylor Dews, Spelman CollegeFollow

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Date

5-5-2020

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" My research primarily engages in theories on voyeurism and gaze discussed by bell hooks, Laura Mulvey, and Trimika Melancon. With a womanist and post-colonial framework, I apply these theories to my analysis of Spike Lee's reinforcement of the white male gaze in his creation of Nola Darling in She's Gotta Have It (1986 and 2016). I contextualize his hyper-sexualization of the Black female body with France and Britain's sexual exploitation of Sara Baartman during the 1800s, American (US) racist memorabilia, and the American (US) Blaxploitation films of the 1970s; I argue that Lee's reproduction of these gazes generally results in transference without transformations (hooks, 196). While other scholars such as bell hooks have thoroughly addressed my topic, they attribute Black male portrayals of Black female sexuality to a recreation of the objectification of white womanhood. Instead, I argue that Spike Lee's engagement in voyeurism and exoticism is not solely a reproduction of how white men portray white women, but rather, additionally and predominantly, an appropriation of how white men have historically asserted their gaze upon Black female bodies. In internalizing the Jezebel and the Venus, products of the white male gaze, Black male directors such as Spike Lee ultimately contribute to the production of modern images that commit almost identical abuses against Black women as former portrayals. "

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May 5th, 12:00 AM

"My Name Isn't Hyper-sexual Jezebel": An Analysis of Spike Lee's Appropriation of the White Male Gaze in She's Gotta Have It

" My research primarily engages in theories on voyeurism and gaze discussed by bell hooks, Laura Mulvey, and Trimika Melancon. With a womanist and post-colonial framework, I apply these theories to my analysis of Spike Lee's reinforcement of the white male gaze in his creation of Nola Darling in She's Gotta Have It (1986 and 2016). I contextualize his hyper-sexualization of the Black female body with France and Britain's sexual exploitation of Sara Baartman during the 1800s, American (US) racist memorabilia, and the American (US) Blaxploitation films of the 1970s; I argue that Lee's reproduction of these gazes generally results in transference without transformations (hooks, 196). While other scholars such as bell hooks have thoroughly addressed my topic, they attribute Black male portrayals of Black female sexuality to a recreation of the objectification of white womanhood. Instead, I argue that Spike Lee's engagement in voyeurism and exoticism is not solely a reproduction of how white men portray white women, but rather, additionally and predominantly, an appropriation of how white men have historically asserted their gaze upon Black female bodies. In internalizing the Jezebel and the Venus, products of the white male gaze, Black male directors such as Spike Lee ultimately contribute to the production of modern images that commit almost identical abuses against Black women as former portrayals. "