Saturday, March 30, 2019
Sarah Baartman and Sandra Laing
Sarah Baartman and Sandra LaingMackenzie DicksonThe lives of Sarah Baartman and Sandra Laing were heavily complicated due to colonialism, followed by pseudo-scientific ideas concerning their gender and bleed.Sarah Baartmans true identity is still unk non even her real establish is still a mystery. some(prenominal)time during the 19th century Baartman arrived in England and was dubbed The genus Venus Hot extot by the media and attendees of the inhumane circus-like act that Baartman was forced to perform. Baartmans life was controlled and ruined by smockmangaze, leading her to ferment a good- not a person. Whitemangaze is the westernized perception of dense women as objects and commodities, entities viewed exclusively through the prism of- either the lure or repulsion of- their corporeality (Werbanowska, 19). The film Black Venus makes an effort to indicate the range of reactions of the blank male-dominated crowd, from disgust to attraction. The crowd was even encouraged to ph ysic anyy assault Baartman. Baartman was not a person she was a dupe of colonialism busy by western culture that ultimately led to the reduction of all non-white women to the role of (not necessarily sexual) objects. The fetishization and otherwiseization that Baartman suffered as a result of colonialism steams from need for transcendence (19).The use of pseudo-science was utilize to establish this sense of superiority desired among westerners white people wanted to hear that Afri chiffoniers were biologically unequal to Europeans. In 1816, Parisian scientists decl atomic number 18d Baartman was the missing link separating beast from man (Spies, 2). She, along with other non-white people, was viewed as a rude from a world populated by grotesque monsters- fat-arsed females, blood-thirsty warriors, pre-verbal pinheads, midgets and geeks (Werbanowska, 19). Parisian zoologist Georges Cuvier dissected Baartmans corpse and preserved her genitalia, spine, and star out of scientific c uriosity and potential obsession. As demonstrated in the opening scene of Black Venus, Cuvier provided pseudo-scientific evidence to connect Baartman with apes and baboons, focusing on Baartmans bottom, skull, and her preserved genitalia- which he subsequently passes around the room. Moreover, comparing African women with uninstructed animals such as apes and baboons speaks to the European fantasy of the ignoble savage whose delusive lack of acculturation implies all sorts of uncivilized sexual behaviors (20). Pseudo-science performed by white men like Cuvier enforced the stereotype that African women are savage sexual beasts, who are commodities rather than an individual.The current day Venus Hottentots can be seen throughout the media theyre called video vixens. Typically, video vixens are attractive, young person, black, females that fall victim to the same fetishization and exploitation that Baartman faced in the 19th century. Baartmans story has become synonymous with a past of sexual exploitation, lasciviousness, and likewise, that has presented opportunity for ruminating on the phenomenon of young black women play the roles of video vixen or ghetto chicks (Henderson, 528-529). Baartman and current day video vixens function under the colonial and patriarchal gaze which perceived them almost exclusively through the prism of their racecourse and gender (Werbanowska, 26). Some video vixens interviewed in the VH1 Documentary Sexploitation on the Set insist they are not being work rather, they are using their body as a form of empowerment. It is undisputable that video vixens are a commodity they are selling their body and their image in order to fix profit and recognition. The black females who take rolls as video vixens are exploited the same way Sarah Baartman was. They are oppressed because of their race and gender, than transformed into a commodity by profiting from exposing their bodies.In 1966, young Sandra Laings race was called into question by the Race Classification Board in South Africa Laing was about ten at the time. In the first episode of the series, The Power of an Illusion, race is depict as a clear distinction among humans genes do not have to be closely looked at to determine an individuals race. This was not the eggshell for Laing, who was born from two white parents but had darker skin- thus, appearing black. The film, Skin, depicts the troubles Laing suffered through a time of racial segregation (Apartheid) and lack of legitimate science. Similar to Baartmans story, race is a societal construct used to place non-whites lower in the hierarchal structure, which leads to a life with or without resources, privilege and power (Younge, 106). Pseudo-sciences used to prove/disprove Laings race was based on her physical appearance. As demonstrated in the film, the members of the RCB inspect Laings hair, bottom, and mouth. Another researcher offered the invoice of a genetic throwback, meaning Sandras white parents carried African genes. This was the only viable explanation for Laings skin color, but the courts found it absurd (Skin). The fact of the matter is that race is a biological myth, but it was believed that race was rooted in biology, and cogitate to other, more complex internal differences. Like athletic ability. Musical aptitude. science (Race- The Power of an Illusion). In the end, Sandra was ruled lawfully white. Despite being legally white, Sandra was shunned by other white people. After finding solace in black communities, Sandra faced legal regulations that prevented her from furthering her life because she was legally white. The forced racial categorization certainly complicated Sandras life.Works CitedBlack Venus. Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche , MK2, 2010. Film.Episode One The Difference Between Us. Race- The Power of an Illusion, directed byChristine Herbes-Sommers, California Newsreel, 2003. Television.Henderson, Carol E. African American Review. African American Revie w, vol. 44, no. 3,2011, pp. 528-530., www.jstor.org/stable/23316222.Sexploitation on the Set. VH1 Video Vixen Documentary. VH1, 2005. Television.Skin. Directed by Anthony Fabian, BBC Films, 2008. Film.Spies, Bertha M. Saartjie. African Arts. 2nd ed. Vol. 47. Regents of the U of California, 2014.Print.Werbanowska, Marta. Reclaiming the Commodified Body The Stories of Saartjie Baartmanand Josephine Baker in the Poetry of Elizabeth Alexander. Ethos A Digital Review of Arts, Humanities, and Public Ethics. Ed. Katherine Walker and Benjamin Mangrum. Ethos, 2014. 18-32. Google Scholar. Web.Younge, Gary. The Margins and the Mainstreams. Museums, Equality, and Social Justice. Ed.Richard Sandell and Eithne Nighingale. Routledge, 2013. Google Scholar. Web.