In the film Coffy, we met our main character as a junkie prostitute but then realize she is a nurse and is using that persona to pursue the dealers who got her baby sister hooked on drugs. We talked about Coffy being the good girl and the bad girl. How do these opposing persona’s play out in the film? We also talked about Coffy is more than one sterotype, please discuss and explain why? How does it relate to the good girl vs bad girl persona. Also, give examples of where this stereotype exist in current films/tv shows. How do the men view/treat her in the film, give exmaples. In preparing your comments, think about some of the things we talked about in class as well as the non-verbal sexual behaviors overview I sent you. As always, please refer to the readings from previous classes and scenes from the film.
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
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.
There is a lot to admire about this story of four attractive and accomplished women. Their friendship and their celebration of black womanhood and sisterhood as well as their portrayal of professional women in contemporary film. As noted in the L.A. Times article,”Waiting to Exhale’ breathed life into films with ethnic casts and a woman’s point of view 20 years ago.” But, as we discussed in class, this film still subscribes to many of the traditional stereotypes that have plaqued black women throughout the history of film. 20 Years Later, what does ‘Waiting to Exhale’ mean to Millennial women?
Please incorporate the readings, any additional resources like articles and our class discussions. Make sure you review your response before posting, for grammar and spelling errors.
Consider the conversations we’ve had about romantic heroines and love objects vs sex objects and write about how it relates to Claudine. Which one is she more, or is she both? Claudine was portrayed as a Welfare Queen and a Jezebel throughout the film, in your response to this post talk about how this stereotyped framed her as well. I would like you to read this article, “Six Annoying Women Character Tropes in Black Romantic Comedies,” there is a section that relates to Claudine. I also added an article about The Moynihan Report that created the concept of the Welfare Quees. As always, incorporate the readings assigned, plus our discussions about the above topic with the two articles into your post. Below is a link to the film for those of you who missed the first or second half.
Warning: Before posting, write your thoughts in a word document. Please check for spelling and grammar and read it out loud to make sure your points make sense. If possible have someone read them as well, to make sure your argument/thoughts are clear. Make sure you are presenting your ideas to the best of your ability.