The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Monday, February 25, 2008

Out of Focus

I have to thank Renita Weems for her blog last week challenging the LowerMyBills ad and its pornographic focus on a Black woman's ample, gyrating butt. It put me in mind of an incident a few weeks ago that I had left largely unexamined until I considered the ubiquity of images of Black women that focus on our behinds.

During the Australian open, Roger Rasheed former coach of Australian Lleyton Hewitt came under fire for comments he made as the camera lingered on Venus Williams' behind. Rasheed said, "Take a look at this now. Make or think as you will, ladies, but for me, that's a pretty good sight." While I agree with those who objected to Rasheed's comments, a more appropriate question comes to mind about why the camera was on Venus's butt in the first place. The person running the camera made the first and most egregious decision to turn Williams, who is a world-class athlete, into one big body part as her behind filled the screen long enough for Rasheed to take notice.

In her blog post, Dr. Weems calls our historical attention to Sara Baartman whose body parts were the focus of discussion in the 19th century and remained on display in a museum well into the 20th century. Black people in particular must remember our history. Sisters have to demand that we not be carved up in people's minds, including brothers'. And it least if they carve us up, mentally reducing us to our hips, breasts, lips, noses, etc., then they ought to be ashamed to announce it.

5 comments:

rjweems said...

I'll be eager to see what role Michelle Obama assumes as First Lady if her husband wins the White House.

I fear that black women are pinning a lot of hopes on her and giving her a bigger-than-life role once she moves into the White House. I suspect that Michelle Obama will be forced into a traditional First Lady role by her husband's advisors and handlers. Hillary Clinton got her butt whipped when she tried to use her position as First Lady to get health care reform going. There's no reason to doubt that Obama will face the same resistance on any effort on her part to step outside the box.

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