Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Not Your Erotic, Not Your Exotic

This is a poetry performance by Suheir Hammad on the notorious Def Jam Poetry titled, Not Your Erotic, Not Your Exotic. Suheir is one of my all-time favorite poets and feminists. Her poem, though only a minute and a half, speaks in a profound way to the exotification of women of color.

1 comment:

  1. When I listened to this, it really reminded me of the "Singing the Gender Wars" article that we read. In the poem, Suheir warns not to "seduce yourself with my 'otherness'" which relates very closely to a comment made in the article about how "the building of stereotypes 'perpetuates a needed sense of difference between the 'Self' and the 'object,' which becomes the 'Other'" (page 62 of reader).

    This idea of 'self' and 'object' is quite revealing about how some members of dominant cultures view their relationship with 'others'. Namely, a certain set of individuals either self-identifies or is coded by society as the 'subjects,' those who control situations and act upon the 'objects'. This mentality, in turn, portrays the 'objects,' often racial minorities/ exoticized women as passive participants who are only there to be used or evaluated by the subjects, but have no agency of their own. It is through this pattern of viewing some as subject and others as object that the 'objects' are made out to be somehow 'other' in order to justify treating and/or perceiving them differently.