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Title: Cross-dressing and containment: Race, gender and spectatorship in Big Momma's House (2000) and White Chicks (2004)
Issue Date: 16-Apr-2018
Citation: NUR HASEENA BINTE JUPRI (2018-04-16). Cross-dressing and containment: Race, gender and spectatorship in Big Momma's House (2000) and White Chicks (2004). ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In this thesis, I explore race, gender, and spectatorship in Big Momma’s House (2000) and White Chicks (2004), both premised on the image of the empowered black protagonist. I argue that such films effectively negotiate an appeal to the black male spectator while retaining the interest of the assumed universal white male spectator. This is achieved through subtle methods of racial containment (as conceived by Philippa Gates), enabled through the mechanisms of cross-gender disguise. I posit that the films’ ability to straddle an appeal to both white and black male spectators establishes a hierarchy in spectatorial positions in line with the spectator’s race and gender – specifically, the white male spectator, the black male spectator, the black female spectator, and the white female spectator. I propose an understanding of spectatorship that is relative to these various positions, rather than dichotomized according to race and gender. This thesis first examines how Big Momma’s House uses gender on multiple levels, both as a form of containment and as a form of empowering the black male protagonist. However, this is achieved at the expense of black femininity, which is relegated to the position of least power. Subsequently, I use White Chicks to build on the propositions of the first chapter through the premise of crossing race on top of gender. In foregrounding the tensions between gendered power and racial power, I posit that constant objectification relegates the white female spectator to the position of least power.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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