Week 8: My Beautiful Laundrette

Stuart Hall’s article addresses intersectionality and the expansivity of representation. He discuss not just the presentation of race but how such presentation is motivated and executed. Why this is so, and why it is of importance. In doing so he touches upon blackness in relation to politics going on to state that “the question of the black subject cannot be represented without reference to the dimensions of class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity” (Hall 444). What I found interesting was how Hall discussed the issue of representing only the “monolithic, self-contained, sexually stabilized and always ‘right on’ – in a word, always and only ‘positive’” (Hall 449), which was something that Cruising definitely struggled with last week. The issue of whether it was better to represent solely the positively connotated segments of the gay community, perpetuating limited representations of it. Or if it was better to allow for a more negative portrayal of a section of the gay community, which already had negative connotations, as it is important that all different types of the gay community be represented. Cruising could not decide or find a middle ground. This ultimately crippled the film, limiting the development of the characters and the ultimate representation of sexuality. In stark contrast to this, Hall asserts that My Beautiful Laundrette covers queer as well as racial topics accurately and honestly. It’s Pakistani screenplay writer with his knowledge of the need for thorough representation sounds to have successfully reflected both the “bad” and the “good”, providing  a humanistic and realistic take on an interracial homosexual relationship during the conservative climate of the Thatcher era. I look forward to seeing this in the film.

Works Cited:

Hall, Stuart. “New Ethnicities.” Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies. David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen (eds.). London: Routledge, 2005: 442-251

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