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U.S. Women of Color

In the view of bell Hooks (52), in the past, a black film was usually seen as a film by a black filmmaker that focused on an aspect of black life. In Spike Lee's Crooklyn, Hooks (37) saw a black family that dared to be different, living in a world that is inherently multicultural and describes Troy, the protagonist through whose view the film is rendered, as embodying ôall the desirable elements of sexist-defined femininity" (Hooks, 41).

In a very different film, Robert Luketic's Legally Blonde, the character of Elle Woods is a Los Angeles Barbie who conquers Harvard Law School while representing the class and privileged status of a Porsche-driving wealthy California suburbanite (McCarthy, 19). The critical difference between the two characters of Troy and Elle is that Troy represents Lee's take on the bourgeoisie black family (Hooks, 43) and the patriarchal dominance of the male within the nuclear family while Elle represents the greater autonomy enjoyed by privileged white females.

Philip Kerr (44) describes Elle as representative of Marilyn Monroe and not of Jackie Kennedy and as ôpretty in pink Pradaö while facing very real challenges in being accepted by Ivy League academics. Troy, in contrast, is a young girl whose mother's death pushes her into womanhood and who literally takes the place of the lost mother (Hooks, 43). In both instances there is very much a sense of frustrated feminism although Elle is a feminist only by default.

The representation of black masculinity found in Spike Lee's story is that of a heterosexual and a patriarch (Hooks, 89). Troy's father is a jazz musician supported by his wife and yet as Hooks (86) infers, this male longs to occupy power situations despite his inability to support his family. In reviewing the movie, Stuart Klawans (882) suggested that a strong black mother is set against a relatively ineffectual black father and though the parents clearly love on


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U.S. Women of Color. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:21, August 08, 2020, from