Amen!!!! Finally. bell hooks is one of my living female icons and I am so happy that she has come and called it what it is…
Last night, The New School hosted a dynamic conversation between Black women activists and creatives titled “Are You Still a Slave?”
The group, which included filmmaker Shola Lynch, author Marci Blackman, feminist icon and scholar bell hooks, and activist and author Janet Mock, focused on the images of women of color in the media and what types of messages are sent to the public at large.
I see a part of Beyoncé that is in fact anti-feminist — that is a terrorist, especially in terms of the impact on young girls. I actually feel like the major of assault on feminism in our society has come from visual media, and from television, and videos. Just think, do we know of any powerful man of any color who’s come out with some tirade against feminism? The tirades against feminism occur so much in the image-making business, and what we see.
What I’m concerned about constantly in my critical imagination is why don’t we have libratory images that are away from, not an inversion of, what society has told us?
Hooks, argued Beyoncé’s sexy, partially-clothed Time cover did little to bolster her pro-woman bona fides.
“Let’s take the image of this super rich, very powerful Black female and let’s use it in the service of imperialist, white supremacist capitalist patriarchy because she probably had very little control over that cover — that image,“ the professor argued.
Hooks: Well, of course, I think that’s fantasy. I think it’s a fantasy that we can recoup the violating image and use it. I used to get so tired of people quoting Audre [Lorde], ‘The masters tools will never dismantle the master’s house.’ But that was exactly what she meant that you are not going to destroy this imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy by creating your own version of it. Even if it serves you to make lots and lots of money.
I’ve really been challenging people to think about would we be at all interested in Beyoncé if she wasn’t so rich, because I don’t think you can separate her class power, and the wealth, from people’s fascination with her. That here is a young, Black woman who is so incredibly wealthy. And wealthy is what so many young people fantasize, dream about, sexualize, eroticize. And one could argue, even more than her body, it’s what that body stands for—the body of desire fulfilled that is wealth, fame, celebrity, all the things that so many people in our culture are lusting for, wanting.
If Beyoncé was a homeless woman who looked the same way, or a poor, down and out woman who looked the same way, would people be enchanted by her? Or is it the combination of all of those things that are at the heart of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy?
And I’ve been saying, people of color, we are so invested in white supremacy, it’s tragic. Lorraine Hansberry said it is the only form of extremism that should discredit us in the eyes of our children that we remain so invested.