Essay on White Privilege And Looking Relations : Race And Gender

929 Words Nov 16th, 2016 4 Pages
In Janes Gaines’s, White Privilege and Looking Relations: Race and Gender in Feminist Film Theory, Gaines wanted to show how a theory of the text and its spectator, based on the psychoanalytic concept of sexual difference, is unequipped to deal with a film which is about racial difference and sexuality. “The Diana Ross star vehicle Mahogany (directed by Berry Gordy, 1975) immediately suggests a psychoanalytic approach because the narrative is organized around the connections between voyeurism and photographic acts, because it exemplifies the classical cinema which has been so fully theorized in Lacanian terms” (Gaines, 12). But as Gaines argued, the psychoanalytic model works to block out considerations which assume a different configuration so that, for instance, “the FreudianLacanian scenario can eclipse the scenario of race-gender relations in Afro-American history, since the two accounts of sexuality are fundamentally incongruous” (Gaines, 12). The danger here is that when a psychoanalytic model is used to explain black family relations, we force an erroneous universalization and inadvertently reaffirm white middle-class norms. “By taking gender as its starting point in the analysis of oppression, feminist theory helps to reinforce white middle-class values, and to the extent that it works to keep women from seeing other structures of oppression, it functions ideologically. In this regard, Bell Hooks criticizes a feminism which seems unable to think women’s oppression…

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