From Chapter 3 – Black Women as Cinematic “Other”
In the history of filmmaking, never has there been a period when the black female subject has enjoyed a prolonged spate of positive portrayals on screen. From the onset, black women’s cinematic representation has been an ambiguous one.
Waiting to Exhale directed by Forrest Whitaker
Taken from McMillan’s blockbuster novel, Waiting to Exhale tells the story of four women, each dealing with man troubles. Savannah Jackson (Whitney Houston), a TV producer who is having an affair with a married man; Bernadine Harris (Angela Bassett), a mother dealing with a messy divorce from a man who’s leaving her for a white woman; Robin Stokes (Lela Rochon) a young executive who is struggling with an aimless relationship; and Gloria Matthews (Loretta Devine), a single mother who pines for her ex-husband who has come out as gay. The women forge a friendship that carries them through their troubles.
In writing your response/comments to this post describe which stereotype each of these characters are and what scene clues us in that they are this stereotype. Incorporate quotes from the readings, such as the quote above, as well as outside sources. For example, cultural critic bell hooks in her essay “Mock Feminism: Waiting to Exhale,” critiques the film’s faux feminism. Feel free to incorporate quotes from this and other articles or essays in your arguments/ response.