Black Feminist Thought
Watermelon Woman (1)
11 November 2014
Lesbian Interracial Relationships
In Cheryl Dunye mockumentary film
Dunye explores the
intersectional issues of race, sexuality and class within the lesbian community. The film follows the journey of Cheryl, an inspiring film director who is in quest of creating a documentary about Fae “Watermelon Woman” Richards, a black actress from the 1930s. Dunye subliminally parallels the life of Fae to Cheryl’s in the sense that Cheryl will discover that her life and Fae mirror each other. Both Cheryl and Fae are the same race, aspiring to be in the same professional field, share the same sexual orientation and lastly both are involved in an interracial relationship that did not sustain. Dunye uses the characters of Cheryl and Diana to illustrate the intersectional oppressions of race and class faced by lesbians in interracial relationships. She does this by establishing class distinctions of Cheryl and Diana and the disapproval of Cheryl’s interracial relationship of her friend Tamura.
Cheryl and Diana relationship holds a significant role in the plot of Watermelon Woman.
The two meet at Cheryl’s job where she works as a sales associate at local movie store and Diana is a customer at the same store. This alone establishes the class distinction between the two women. This scene depicts a black woman working and white woman have the leisure to enjoy movies and not have to worry about work.
This type of distinction has been around for centuries. Black women were always working taking over the many responsibilities of white woman and all while the white woman has the privilege of leisure to do as she pleases.
In Toni Morrison article “What the Black Woman Thinks About Women’s Lib” she th
one major clear
distinction of race in the early 20
century “white women were ladies … ...
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