African American Women and Sexuality in the Cinema
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About the Book
The representation of African American women is an important issue in the overall study of how women are portrayed in film, and has received serious attention in recent years. Traditionally, “women of color,” particularly African American women, have been at the margins of studies of women’s on-screen depictions—or excluded altogether.
This work focuses exclusively on the sexual objectification of African American women in film from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Critics of the negative sexual imagery have long speculated that control by African American filmmakers would change how African American women are depicted. This work examines sixteen films made by males both white and black to see how the imagery might change with the race of the filmmaker.
Four dimensions are given special attention: the diversity of the women’s roles and relationships with men, the sexual attitudes of the African American female characters, their attitudes towards men, and their nonverbal and verbal sexual behaviors. This work also examines the role culture has played in perpetuating the images, how film influences viewers’ perception of African American women and their sexuality, and how the imagery polarizes women by functioning as a regulator of their sexual behaviors based on cultural definitions of the feminine.
About the Author(s)
Foreword by Kwyn Bader
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: photos, tables, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
Table of Contents
1. Introduction and Overview 9
2. The Form of the Film Medium: Visual Images and Viewer Perception 32
3. Love and Romance: Cultural Prescriptive for “Appropriate” Sexual Behaviors for Men and Women 51
4. Cultural Impact of Film’s Imaging on Black Women 87
5. Similar, but Different: Films from 1986 to 1985 and 1997 to 2001 119
6. Implications of the Incongruity in Black Filmmakers’ Depictions of the Black Female’s Nonsexual Roles 163
7. Conclusion 185
8. Epilogue 201
Appendix A: Films in the Two Studies 207
Appendix B: Importance of Sexual Contact: Behaviors in the Films 210
Book Reviews & Awards
Choice Outstanding Academic Title
“a solid contribution…essential…all film collections”—Choice.