Afrofeminism in Franco-African Cinema: A Study of the Representation of the Black Woman

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2020-12

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Abstract

This thesis will discuss the representation of black women in West African cinema. I analyze the portrayal of African characters in regards to their autonomy. Black female bodies serve as agents of social change, used by their owners as weapons against outside factors; patriarchy, racism, backward traditions, religious fanaticism, corrupt governments, and polygamous institutions. These women willingly defy these forces by questioning their authority, facing up against their oppressors, vocally expressing their critiques, fighting back through physical force, embracing their sexualities, and shielding others from bodily and emotional harm. Not only do I offer an interpretation and analysis of these various films but I enter them into a discussion alongside academic texts and other literary works by scholars, activists, directors, philosophers, and authors. Together these sources shape a new way of viewing the black woman, outside of preconceived notions founded on stereotypical representations of them by European forces, and patriarchal figures. The women represented here live outside the male gaze. They are women fighting for Africa, for their sisters, for progress.

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Keywords

Afrofeminism, Franco-African, Cinema, Postcolonial, Female genital mutilation, Moolaadé, Xala, Mavoungou, Jihadist.

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