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Thoughts on Tania Modleski's "cinema and the Dark Continent: Race and Gender in Popular Film"

Essay by review  •  November 4, 2010  •  Essay  •  279 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,511 Views

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Tania Modleski's "Cinema and the Dark Continent: Race

and Gender in Popular Film," discusses how popular film

perpetuates stereotypes of black women. Some controlling

images of black women include: the mammy, the jezebel, and

the sapphire. While Modelski doesn't analyze the sapphire

stereotype, she does use Whoppi Goldberg's past film roles as

examples of the nurturing and maternal mammy and the over-

sexualized jezebel. While I could clearly see Modelski's

comparison of Goldberg's roles and black women's stereotypes,

I could not as easily accept her theories on "Gorillas in the

Mist" and "King Kong."

Modelski says the gorillas in "Gorillas in the Mist"

and "King Kong" represent issues surrounding the stereotype

of a violently sex-crazed black man and of miscegenation. I

don't feel when bringing Dian Fossey's life to the film the

screenwriters intended to allude to a sexual relationship

between Fossey and Digit. While I can see how sexual

overtones can be inferred from over-analyzation, I just don't

find it highly probable. It is more probable to see an

analogous relationship between King Kong and the stereotype

of the black male rapist.

When looking at the films deeper than their face

value it is easy to say they reflect white fears and

stereotypes of black men and women. I would be interested to

hear Modeleski's views on the recent "sista" films

like "Waiting to Exhale"

...

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