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Posted October 12, 2003
The truth about National Geographic revealed
If you have ever thought about the Western gaze, the Other, exoticization of women of color, Western misrepresentations of other cultures, sale of representations of bodies of color to white audiences-- this book is for you. As it turns out- all the theory feminists/ race theorists have been writing about the intersection of race/ class/ gender materialize in this 'coffee table' magazine. Case in point: There was a case reported from National Geographic in the 1960s of a partially naked Polynesian woman being darkened 'in order to render her nudity more acceptable to American audiences.' Lutz 82. The president of National Geographic at the time, Melville Payne, explained, 'We darkened her down, to make her look more native-- more valid, you might say.' Id. Translation: white audiences literally buy the magazine because what they think is more exotic (and appropriate to gaze upon) is BLACKER. And it reflects the common criticism that only non-white women are nude in Nat. Geo. (To readers, it reaffirms their place in the world, etc.) The editorial decisions made for this magazine make you wonder. The examples in the magazine, and the example of the magazine itself, easily lead one to think of racist parallels across our society... Buy this book, it is great, especially for those interested in Women's Studies, African American Studies, and those who critically question anthropology.
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