Greenface – Exploring green skin in contemporary Hollywood cinema
Author(s): Hammond, Brady
In the natural world human skin color has a limited range of pigments varying from dark brown to light pink. Still, even this small spectrum has been enough to fuel countless histories of prejudice where skin color has provided the justification for hate and violence. In the Western world where whiteness is presented as the norm this has often manifested itself as prejudice against those who are not white. However, given the primacy of whiteness in certain cultures authors such as Richard Dyer have argued that whiteness itself is invisible and is thus itself not perceived as a color. This invisibility has led others to develop further theories regarding color in visual media. For instance, in CHROMOPHOBIA David Batchelor states that ‘color has been the object of extreme prejudice in Western culture’. This prejudice, he argues, manifests itself by either dismissing color outright as ‘superficial’ or by denigrating it and ‘[making it] out to be the property of some “foreign” body – usually the feminine, the oriental, the primitive, the infantile, the vulgar, the queer or the pathological’. In this formulation white is safe and color is dangerous. Throughout color cinema in the 20th century there have been numerous instances which illustrate this point.
Hammond, Brady: Greenface – Exploring green skin in contemporary Hollywood cinema. In: NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, Jg. 2 (2013), Nr. 1, S. 213–232. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5117/NECSUS2013.1.HAMM.
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