Sexism and Racism in Film: Straight Outta Compton

Sexism and Racism in Film: Straight Outta Compton

On my blog, I’ve discussed the new film that is currently in development, documenting the rise of American rappers N.W.A. The Straight Outta Compton bioepic casting call came under heavy criticism for being racist, as the casting agent was asking for four different “classes” of “girls,” which were organised around skin tone. The focus on lighter skin tone of Black women as an ideal of beauty has a long and profoundly damaging history. This ideal positions darker skin tones as less beautiful, and attaches additional stigma to Black women. I show that even in a film about successful Black men, being a “dark” Black woman is analogous to being “out of shape,” unattractive and poor. There is an additional interplay between racism, sexism and class in this “colour code” which is further implied in the casting call, through the focus on hair. By stipulating that the “beautiful class” of women should have straight hair, and that the less desirable “classes” have weaves, we see how Black women’s femininity is penalised in film and by rap culture.

Read more on my blog:

(Image a woman lookng down. Text reads) The most noticeable aspect of the objectification of Black female bodies in rap videos.. is the colour caste system gets reintroduced and affirmed. -bell hooks #sociology #feminism #socialscience

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