Unit 3: Professor Fache

Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism.

Dignity and Debt

Cesaire’s article is describing Sara Baartman in the sense that blacks were all looked at in the same light. Sara was made to believe her life in Europe would allow her freedom, but in reality is a slave used for profit. The reference of masters makes me think back into the movie as Sara travels around with animals for the performance and appeasement of white people. The master controls what she can do on stage and suppresses her true nature. The colonization of Sara is shown as the degrading choices of clothing, touching and acting during her performances. Sara was constantly dehumanized when she was alive and then more so after her death. Through the portrayal of her body pictures and genitaial she became a scientific project for others enjoyment and curiosity. Sara’s colonization created an artifact persona taking away her human aspect. The lens of society created a scientific observation of Sara that is seen as a way to “thingification” to compare and reference her bodies to others. 

Thinking back to this Unit 3, when I first watched Abdellatif Kechiche: Black Venus I was in shock and awe that someone was actually treated in such a manner. The lack of human dignity and respect also crossed my mind, as Sara was not granted basic human rights, but treated as a slave. Her health degraded throughout the movie without anyone to actually care for her well-being. The way her body was objectified for scientific purposes was used as a way for the masters and scientists to receive money from her body. Thinking forward to today’s society women are still objectified for their bodies and the gaze of men. However, I feel that we as women have come a long way especially in terms of the body positivity movement. Everybody is seen as beautiful and accepted, receiving the respect and dignity Sara begged for in the past. 

Abdellatif Kechiche: Black Venus 

Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism. New York: Monthly Review Press. 2000. pp. 29-78.

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