Some critics see power as working through ”the gaze”. The ones who watch are those who have the power. Those who are being watched are those who are controlled. It is described this in Focault’s book The Birth of the Clinic, but also Focault’s book about the history of the prison.
Here Foucault shows us the panopticon by Jeremy Bentham, the all-seeing prison.
The concept of the gaze have become very important to feminist thinkers, and to queer criticism (who both study how concepts of the body and gender are constructed as systems of power in society). The gaze is a process of objectification and pacification. In movies there is a portrayal of women that essentially makes them subordinated to male ideas of women’s bodies. The movies construct an ideal body and an ideal gender. Women are rendered objects to watch in the dark anonymity of the cinema.
In art there has been a reaction against the ”politics of the body” and the ”genderization” of the female and the construction of the female identity. (Through the gaze and the processes of objectification in for instance cinema).
In post-colonial criticism the concept of the gaze has also become important. Most news about the Middle-east is written in the west, bys so-called experts and journalists. Often the east is described as violent, filled with terrorism, and victims. The peoples in the Middle-east rarely have the power to tell their stories.
Abou naddara, an anonymous art collective, tries to give a dignified image of human life in Syria. Not the bleeding and dirty body of the war reports, not the victim, not ”the other”. Here the woman as presented as human, as us, as ”the same”.
The Danger of a single story
1. What is the main point that Adichie makes in her TED talk when she describes her experience of reading Western children’s books?
2. At the end of her TED talk, what is Adichie urging us (her audience members) to do?
3. What is the relevance of Adichie’s message to everyday life
Bring two quotes for next Tuesday and their justifications.