chapter  19
15 Pages

The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female spectators: bell hooks

Thinking about Black female spectators, I remembered being punished as a child for staring, for those hard, intense, direct looks children would give grown-ups, looks that were seen as confrontational, as gestures of resistance, challenging authority. The "gaze" has always been political in my life. Imagine the terror felt by the child who has come to understand through repeated punishments that one's gaze can be dangerous. The child who has learned so well to look the other way when necessary . Yet, when punished, the child is told by parents, "look at me when I talk to you"- only, the child is afraid to look. Afraid to look but fascinated by the gaze. There is power in looking.