Presentation Title

Jordan Peele's Get Out and Us: Analysis of Removing African American Stereotypes in Horror Films

Presenter Information

Ji Yoon Kim, Cerritos CollegeFollow

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Daniel Gardner

Start Date

23-11-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:15 AM

Location

Markstein 107

Session

oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

Within the tradition of horror films, when Black men have appeared, they appeared as minor characters and based on one-dimensional and racist stereotypes. Such stereotyped-based minor characters contrast with the representation of white men as major characters. However, Jordan Peele, winner for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards (2018) with his debut film Get Out, reverses the stereotypes that have continually been presented to the audience in horror films. By expanding the performance of Black males, the film suggests that Black masculinity is complex with a wide range of characteristics that exceed previous stereotypical representations. Chris, the film’s protagonist, embodies this new complexity. He is portrayed as being vulnerable, interdependent, intelligent, and non- violent. As part of this reversal, Peele fashions stereotypical representations of white identity, whether masculine or feminine, rendering it merely hegemonic. In doing so, Peele expands the screen presence of Black characters, thus correcting their historical absence of diverse representations but the abundance of stereotypical ones. I track how Peele continues this project in Us by reversing stereotypical portrayals of Black femininity by positioning a Black female character as both the protagonist and antagonist of the film. The complex representations of Black gender ideology at work in Peele’s films draw attention to the social consequences of cinematic stereotypes. Moreover, the massive circulation of Get Out and Us gives these complex representations of Black gender ideology the potential to become, in the terms of Homi Bhabha, insurgent images as they reject the traditional cinematic representations and the oppressive ideologies for which they stand. To support this argument, I’ll be applying ethnic studies, gender theories, and feminist studies to survey the following materials: the film Get Out and Us, and the documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror.

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Nov 23rd, 9:00 AM Nov 23rd, 9:15 AM

Jordan Peele's Get Out and Us: Analysis of Removing African American Stereotypes in Horror Films

Markstein 107

Within the tradition of horror films, when Black men have appeared, they appeared as minor characters and based on one-dimensional and racist stereotypes. Such stereotyped-based minor characters contrast with the representation of white men as major characters. However, Jordan Peele, winner for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards (2018) with his debut film Get Out, reverses the stereotypes that have continually been presented to the audience in horror films. By expanding the performance of Black males, the film suggests that Black masculinity is complex with a wide range of characteristics that exceed previous stereotypical representations. Chris, the film’s protagonist, embodies this new complexity. He is portrayed as being vulnerable, interdependent, intelligent, and non- violent. As part of this reversal, Peele fashions stereotypical representations of white identity, whether masculine or feminine, rendering it merely hegemonic. In doing so, Peele expands the screen presence of Black characters, thus correcting their historical absence of diverse representations but the abundance of stereotypical ones. I track how Peele continues this project in Us by reversing stereotypical portrayals of Black femininity by positioning a Black female character as both the protagonist and antagonist of the film. The complex representations of Black gender ideology at work in Peele’s films draw attention to the social consequences of cinematic stereotypes. Moreover, the massive circulation of Get Out and Us gives these complex representations of Black gender ideology the potential to become, in the terms of Homi Bhabha, insurgent images as they reject the traditional cinematic representations and the oppressive ideologies for which they stand. To support this argument, I’ll be applying ethnic studies, gender theories, and feminist studies to survey the following materials: the film Get Out and Us, and the documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror.