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Debates in Media Studies 2013 Presentation
Transcript of Debates in Media Studies 2013 Presentation
'Eating' the other ...In a way that does not attract sexual attention. Sex and the City 2
Walking the line:
Racism or Raillery? Our Argument Sex and the City 2 crosses the line between comedy and offense, through its representation of both White-American and Middle-Eastern women Clip Overview Four main characters (Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha)
On holiday in Abu Dhabi (at a lavish hotel resort)
Observing and commenting upon two Middle Eastern women 1 Non-diegetic opening music
Establishing camera shot
Two Asian women introduced (intersectionality)
Miranda - used as a form of pedagogy
Obsessive use of technology
Spatial separation and camera position Certainly cuts back on the botox bill! " " " " 2 The veil as a cultural symbol of repression
The Veil's appreciation
Attempts to avoid homogenisation
Terrorism in a post-racial context The veil across the mouth freaks me out... " " It's like they don't want them to have a voice. " " 3 You're missing the woman with the veil eating french fries at the next table! " " Fun? Or just plain racism? 4 The veil becoming the centre of the joke
Using the 'other' as a spectacle
White as ignorant
'First world problems'
The encounter with the other
Cultural imperialism Maybe we should get her a Niqab! " " So... How relevant has the theory been?
Is Sex and the City 2 racist, or just comedic? theory theory Richard Dyer... Bell Hooks... Stuart Hall... A MATTER OF WHITENESS EATING THE OTHER THE OTHER AS SPECTACLE "As long as race is something only applied to non-white peoples, as long as white people are not racially seen and named, they/we function as a human norm." (p.1) White culture is not shown to be completely bland or invisible
However, it is only visible when compared to the Asian women ("when it is explicitly set against non-white" (p.13) "The point of looking at whiteness is to dislodge it from its centrality and authority, not to reinstate it" (p.10) The film centers around white superiority
However, this is dislodged when the girls clash with the law "There is pleasure to be found in the acknowledgment of racial difference" (p.366) The 'pleasure' is for the white women, laughing AT the other "The other will be eaten, consumed, and forgotten" (p.380) Who is the other? The 'other' arguably fluctuates at different times
[white women - 'othered' by the police & public outrage]
[asian women - 'othered' by the french fry encounter - offense]
The 'other' isn't as different as we think... (becoming Westernised) CONCLUSION The 'jokes' exchanged = more RACIST than COMEDIC
Disregard for cultural values, difference, and RESPECT. Theory exposes this:
Dyer: White culture as IGNORANT
Bell Hooks: Appropriating cultural difference for PLEASURE
Hall: Using the other as SPECTACLE Thank you for listening! Bibliography/References: [Media]
Sex and the City 2 (2010) Directed by Michael Patrick King [Film]. USA: WB Pictures.
Bell Hooks (1992) 'Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance' in Durham and Kellner (eds.) Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks, London: Routledge.
Dyer, Richard (1997) 'The Matter of Whiteness' in White, London: Routledge. (pp.1-14)
Hall, Stuart (1997) Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices London: Sage / OU, Chapter 4, 'The Spectacle of the Other.' "The spectacle of the other"pg. 284 'Reading C: Sander Gilman: 'The deep structure of stereotypes' Hall, Stuart (1997) “Stereotyping…is part of the maintenance of social and symbolic order. It sets up a similar frontier between the ‘normal’ and the ‘deviant’…the ‘acceptable’ and the ‘unacceptable’, what belongs and what does not or is ‘other’. It facilitates the…bonding together of all of Us [western society] who are ‘normal’ into one ‘imagined community’; and it sends into symbolic exile all of ‘Them’ – the Others’.” (258) The 'other' is created by using stereotypes
This creates a difference between ourselves or the 'cultural norm'
The other therefore becomes a 'spectacle' because they do not conform to the cultural hegemony
In this scene, the characters are shown to be fascinated by the difference between themselves and the 'other' - the muslim women. This separation or difference is used to comedic effect - is this right? To use the culture of others as something to laugh at? Producer's Intentions To entertain and to make people laugh
Combat the recession, harking back to glamorous 1920s/1930s comedy/cinema
Chose Abu Dhabi as a location as it was free from recession
The intention was to present the UAE in a POSITIVE light
However, sometimes: comedy + racial representations = offense "Borderline racist!" - The Guardian "Blatantly anti-Muslim!" - The Hollywood Reporter Bell Hooks (1992) Dyer, Richard (1997) Questions to consider While you watch the clip consider whether the observations are comedic or ridculing?
Is the use of stereotypes justified by the context