"Exotische Wilde" - Grenzfiguren als Symptome einer neoliberalen Bilderpolitik?


  • Kerstin Brandes




Kerstin Brandes

“Exotic Savages”. Borderline Figures as a Symptom of Neoliberal Image Politics?

In May and June 2006, an advertisement, published by Germany’s large TV magazine HÖRZU as part of its latest campaign, caused vehement and widespread protest. It represented a white man in a business suit and a scantily clad African woman with a lip plate, combined with the campaign slogan: “at some point, one doesn’t accept just anything”. Opposing the protest, the Deutscher Werberat, the self-regulatory body of the German advertising industry, insisted that the poster represented an emancipated relationship between two consenting adults. This article discusses the controversial opinions regarding the sexist and racist nature of the advertisement. It argues that the black woman portrayed functions as a borderline figure, challenging the precarious crossroads of neoliberal claims of visual normalization and the conditions of anti-sexist/anti-racist critique in the field of vision. Exploring the various images of black femininity and representational types that the image evokes – from the female (black) beauty to the African tribal woman to the monstrous female – the article provides an analysis of the interaction between a Western/European/White collective visual memory and the history of the mutual production of beauty norms and racisms.