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我们对美的认识,太肤浅

我们对美的认识,太肤浅



我们翻译这篇文章的理由


由于历史原因,黑人女性常被冠以浪荡女、黑保姆、男人婆三种刻板形象,与美丽无关,因而时常在美国社会中遭遇不公正、甚至残暴的对待。作者从柏拉图对于美的理解出发,提出运用人类天生对美的事物的保护心理,呼吁黑人女性展示自身美丽,扭转社会对黑人女性的审美观念,为自己赢取公平正义的对待。

——泮海伦


👇


黑人与美


作者:Enuma Okoro

译者:泮海伦

校对:罗玉池

推荐阅读:朱小钊

策划:泮海伦 & 王雅婧


We need a radical new paradigm for thinking about blackness that recognises beauty’s potential to save lives
美丽可以拯救生命,黑人需要定义崭新的形象范式



As an American born to Nigerian parents, I was raised primarily in the United States, the United Kingdom and Côte d’Ivoire. The women in my family – my mother, grandmother and aunts – are formidable characters but, throughout my childhood, stories about their physical beauty preceded them. In the various circles of family, friends and community, I grew up constantly hearing how beautiful these women were who surrounded me. I cannot recall a time when I haven’t looked at them without also thinking about their legendary beauty. The narrative was so ingrained in my childhood that it soon morphed from any possibility of subjective opinion to plain fact: I understood that equating a black woman with undeniable beauty was the norm not the exception.
作为一个尼日利亚裔美国公民,我的童年主要在美国、英国和科特迪瓦度过。我从小就知道,家族中的女性——我的母亲、祖母、姨妈们——也许个性剽悍,但都是为人称道的美人。因为我不断地从亲戚、朋友或是邻里口中听到,身边的这些女人是多么美丽动人。而我自己也从未对她们的美貌有所怀疑。这类表述在我整个成长过程中屡见不鲜,因此在我小小的脑袋里它很快从主观想法变成了一个显而易见的事实:将一位黑人女性与美丽联系起来是一件再正常不过的事情。

But because I didn’t grow up in a bubble, there were other influences by which I gauged my childhood understanding of beauty, and these more culturally sanctioned influences, promulgated on television and in magazines, had their own effects. Though I’d been told that I looked like my mother and grandmother, I was always examining my lips in the mirror, noting their fullness and plumpness, and wishing they were thinner. As a child, I thought small, thin lips were part of what made a face beautiful. In my engagement with the wider Western world, I was growing to understand, subconsciously and in countless ways, that by mainstream standards the features of black girls and women were not regular cues that pointed to the beautiful, and certainly not to the sort of beauty that demanded attention and care.
但我并非成长于真空中,有许许多多其他因素影响了我童年时期的审美观念。这些影响源自更加主流的文化,它们通过电视与杂志传播,并最终施加它们自身的影响。尽管我常常听到自己与母亲、祖母很相像的话,但仍时不时地在镜子里观察自己厚实饱满的嘴唇,希望它们能薄一些。幼小的我认为,薄薄的嘴唇是组成一张美丽脸庞的必要因素。在与广阔西方世界的交流碰撞中,无数的例子在我的潜意识中留下了烙印,黑人女性的特征并不符合主流的审美标准,不是那种能引起关注与爱护的美。

Having now lived in multiple countries on multiple continents, I’ve begun to wonder about beauty’s place in the sociopolitical discourse around belonging, and ethnic or cultural difference. How does an understanding of beauty intersect with notions of race and justice? What cues us to esteem something as beautiful, and are these cues inherent? Or, are there culturally mandated margins of beauty that lead us to make countless daily judgments about what is or is not beautiful? Can the ways we learn to recognise beauty have a potentially lifesaving impact on how we learn to care for bodies that don’t look like ours? These are some of the questions at the forefront of my mind as I think about being a black woman in the world.

旅居多个国家,足迹遍布各大洲之后,我开始在社会政治的话语下思考,在不同归属、种族以及文化差异中,美该如何定位。对美的理解是如何与种族、正义等概念交织在一起的?是什么驱使我们将某种事物推上美的神坛?这些美的标准是固有的吗?还是文化裹挟着我们按照它的标准每日机械地去评判美丑?是否学会欣赏美能帮助我们学会关爱那些与自身不相像的个体,从而起到挽救生命的作用?在我思考自己的黑人女性身份时,这些是我最为关心的问题。


History has much to account for. In 1810, Saartjie Baartman was taken from her home in South Africa and brought to Europe, where she was put on display to showcase her naked body and specifically her steatopygia, or protruding buttocks. After five years of exploitation, Baartman – known as the ‘Hottentot Venus’ – died. Her body was given to the French zoologist Georges Cuvier, who dissected her, and pickled her brains and genitals for research. Her bodycast and skeleton were on continued public display until the 1970s. The US historian Sander L Gilman wrote in 1985 that, for European scientists seeking to codify racial categories, ‘a paradigm was needed which would technically place both the sexuality and the beauty of the black in antithetical position to that of the white’. Baartman’s body made that paradigm concrete. As a result of popular interest in Johann Caspar Lavater’s Essays on Physiognomy (1789-98), there was already widespread belief in the idea of a natural and preferred aesthetic ideal, linked to moral character and embodied in the facial features of Caucasians. Now, through Baartman, argues Gilman, the black body was defined in opposition to that idea, as exotic, deviant and hypersexual.
这其中的许多问题,历史可以给出答案。1810年,南非土著萨尔特杰·巴尔特曼被卖到欧洲,随后她的裸体于各地展览,丰满夸张的臀部是重中之重。这样剥削性质的展览持续五年后,被誉为“霍屯督人的维纳斯”的巴尔特曼离世了。法国动物学家乔治斯·居维叶解剖了她的尸体,并将她的大脑与外生殖器单独留存用于研究。直到二十世纪七十年代,巴尔特曼的石膏塑像及骨架仍持续地被展出在大众视野中。1985年,美国历史学家桑德·L·吉尔曼写道,对于有志于明确区分不同种族类别的欧洲科学家们,“一个能将黑人不同于白人的性征与美严格体现出来的范式极其重要”,而巴尔特曼使得这个范式拥有了具体的形态。随着约翰·卡斯帕·拉瓦特尔的《论面相》(1789-98)引起广泛关注,人们都相信天然、首选的美学理想的存在,它与高尚的道德情操挂钩,并具体表现于白种人的面部特征之中。吉尔曼认为,通过巴尔特曼,黑人的身体被定义成这个美学理想的反面,即是怪异、反常与色情。

In the history of modern Western culture, the politics of perception has long been instrumental in legitimising social relationships and dynamics based on racial classifications. From the philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre and Frantz Fanon to contemporary literary and cultural critics such as Edward Said, Stuart Hall, bell hooks, Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright, the notion of ‘the gaze’ has been understood, with its varied qualifiers, to locate the viewer and the viewed in distinct social locations based on hierarchies of power and gradation of value. The effects of this way of looking and interpreting are so ingrained into how we engage with the world that we rarely think to interrogate our own gazing, to the point where it becomes a kind of blindness.
追寻现代西方文化的发展径迹,知觉政治学一直被用于合法化基于种族差异的社会关系和社会动力学。从让-保罗·萨特和弗朗茨·法农的哲学思想,到爱德华·萨义德、斯图亚特·霍尔、贝尔·胡克斯、玛丽塔·斯特肯、丽莎·卡特赖特等人的当代文学和文化批评,“凝视”这个概念已通过各种不同的修饰词被广泛接受,它根据权力阶层与价值等级的差异,将看与被看的对象置于不同的社会地位上。这种观察与解读的方式深深影响了我们的处世准则,以致于我们忘记了对自身的“凝视”进行审视,甚至陷入了一种盲目的境地。

译注:“凝视” https://www.hisour.com/zh/gaze-36004/amp/


I think about this as I remember being a college student attending a small and predominately white liberal arts college in the US Midwest. I’ll never forget the sociology class in which the professor staged one of those awkwardly forced ‘honest’ class discussions on race. After being told that we were all in a ‘contained safe space’ – as if that were possible – the professor invited us to share experiences when we’d observed acts of racism or prejudice perceived as normal or acceptable within the cultural contexts in which they occurred. One white girl in my group spoke of being at a diner back in her hometown in Texas with her brother and uncle, when an attractive young waitress approached to take their order. As the waitress left, her uncle caught his nephew gazing after her as she walked away. Nonchalantly, without any tone of humour or disrespect, her uncle piped up: ‘Yeah, she’s pretty for a black girl.’
我想起了自己的大学时光,这是一所规模不大、白人占大多数的文理学院,位于美国中西部。我忘不了社会学课上,教授组织了许多以种族为主题的课堂讨论,大家在尴尬的氛围下被迫“诚心”交流。其中一节课上,教授告诉我们“可以安全地畅所欲言”——我对此存疑——教授让我们分享自己的个人经历,是否在特定的文化情境下,某些种族主义行为在正常接受范围之内。我们小组的一个白人女孩讲道,自己和叔叔、哥哥在故乡德克萨斯州一起在餐厅吃饭时,有一位年轻漂亮的服务员接待了他们。服务员离开时,叔叔注意到侄子的视线紧随她而去。于是他以一种再正常不过的语气,既不幽默、也毫无不尊重地插话道:“以黑人来说她是挺漂亮的。”


It is easy to be angry at everything about this story. Black bodies in the US have always been represented as utilitarian and dispensable: that was the very premise under which black people were forcibly brought to the country in the transatlantic slave trade. Whatever we might wish to believe to the contrary, the reality is that the black female body in particular is fair game in the Western cultural imagination – something to be objectified, commodified, hypersexualised, made a spectacle of, ridiculed, devalued and rendered invisible. The consequences of such representation have played out painfully and endlessly throughout US history.
这个故事没有任何理由不让人气愤。在美国,黑人的身体总是被视为工具,无足轻重:正是在这个前提下,黑人在跨越大西洋的奴隶交易中被强制买到这个国家。无论我们多么不愿意相信,现实告诉我们在西方文化中,黑人女性的身体尤其被视为可以肆意凌虐的猎物——可以随意物化、商品化、情色化,被看笑话、被奚落、被贬低、被无视。这些表征背后活生生的案例贯穿美国历史,持续不断地带来惨痛的后果。

译注:关于文化研究领域术语 representation 的翻译,根据《“表征”还是“再现”?一个不能再“姑且”下去的重要概念区分》(http://semiotics.net.cn/userfiles/images/66d880d97e7aefa1bdb2fdf0afcd45b5.pdf)一文,“用‘再现’指一般意义上的再现,用‘表征’指含有文化权力冲突意义的再现”,本文将representation译为“表征”。


From the time of slavery through to the American Civil War and into the ‘Jim Crow’ years, three significant tropes have been perpetuated, not least the black woman as the Jezebel, or the seductive sexual predator who welcomed the attentions of all men. The Mammy, meanwhile, was depicted as a physically large, desexualised and nurturing figure who could playfully scold white people while staying in her social place and still taking care of all their needs. Mammy became a public figure in the late-19th century when a woman named Nancy Green was paid to act as Aunt Jemima for a World Exhibition in Chicago. But the figure was further etched in the public imagination by roles such as ‘Mammy’, played by the actress Hattie McDonald in the movie Gone With the Wind (1939). The third trope was the Sapphire, caricatured as the loud, sassy, complaining black female that emasculated black men. According to David Pilgrim, a sociologist at Ferris State University in Michigan, this figure first appeared in 1928 on the hit radio (then TV) show Amos ’n’ Andy, created by two white actors, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll.
从奴隶时期,到南北战争,再到吉姆·克劳法期间,三个别有含义的词广为流传,尤其是“浪荡女”这个称谓,将黑人女性描绘为对所有男性来者不拒的荡妇形象。“黑保姆”则被描述成体格庞大、毫无女性魅力的乳母形象,可以用戏谑的语气责怪白人主人,但实际社会地位并未提高,仍然需要无条件满足主人的需求。十九世纪晚期,一位名为南希·格林的女性被雇佣来扮演芝加哥世界博览会上的杰迈玛大婶,黑保姆从此成为一个公众人物形象。而诸如电影《乱世佳人》(1939)中由女演员哈蒂·麦克丹尼尔扮演的奶妈类角色,则进一步令此类形象深入人心。第三个词是“男人婆”,夸张描绘了讲话大声、粗鲁无礼、满腹怨言的黑人妇女形象,对比之下弱化了黑人男性的男子气概。密歇根菲利斯州立大学的社会学家大卫·皮尔格林认为,这类形象首次出现是在1928年的热门广播剧(后推出电视剧)《阿莫斯与安迪》中,由弗里曼·戈斯登和查尔斯·科雷尔两位白人演员创作而成。

It takes more than a cultural movement to fully eradicate centuries of symbolic violence
单靠一场文化运动,无法彻底消除数百年来的符号暴力

As a black woman, there is no rung on the social stratification system, and no amount of wealth or fame, that can make one exempt from the possibility of being looked at through any one of these lenses. Even Michelle Obama, who so clearly and consistently challenged the norms of black female embodiment, had to endure insults aimed at her looks and behaviour while she was first lady of the US. At various points during her husband’s presidency, she was compared to a chimpanzee and a gorilla, and depicted as a sharp-tongued Sapphire.
作为黑人女性,我们既缺乏社会阶层的上升渠道,也没有财富与名誉的积累基础,根本无法逃脱这三种有色眼镜的审视。连美国前第一夫人米歇尔·奥巴马这样旗帜鲜明、坚持不懈地挑战黑人女性既定形象的杰出女性,都不得不忍受外界针对其长相、行为的侮辱。在奥巴马总统任职期间,她多次被比喻成猩猩,还被称为是尖酸刻薄的男人婆。

Between the pseudoscience of the 18th and 19th centuries and the cultural stereotyping of the 20th, black people have been subject to the kind of ‘symbolic violence’ described by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, whereby the discourses of representation create and reinforce a power differential between different social groups. How we look at black bodies is effectively in antithesis to how we look at white bodies. As Hall comments in his canonical essay ‘Cultural Identity and Diaspora’ (1989), when talking about the effects of colonial representations of blackness: ‘They Western colonial regimes had the power to make us see and experience ourselves as “Other”…’
从十八至十九世纪的伪科学,再到二十世纪的文化思维定势,黑人一直承受着“符号暴力”。“符号暴力”由法国社会学家皮埃尔·布迪厄提出,指表征性话语在不同的社会群体中制造并强化了权力不平等。实际上,我们对黑人身体的看法正好是白人身体的对立面。正如霍尔的经典论著《文化身份与族裔散居》在谈论到殖民主义表征对黑人的影响时所说:“他们(西方殖民政体)有权力让我们将自己看待并最终活成‘他者’……”

译注:符号暴力的受害者:大学生辍学现象透视——兼议布尔迪厄《再生产》、《继承人》和《国家精英》

http://www.cqvip.com/QK/97419X/20086/28682572.html


Not surprisingly, black artists have fought back. In the 1960s, African Americans began a cultural movement called ‘My Black is Beautiful’ to counteract negative and destructive stereotypes about black physicality. Exhausted by being told for centuries that black features are ugly or deviant or undesirable, the movement called on African Americans to recognise and embrace the beauty of all their physical attributes. But it takes more than a cultural movement to fully eradicate centuries of symbolic violence, underwritten by self-limiting stereotypes so potent they’ve been subconsciously internalised. The question is: what might it take to break free?
毫无疑问,面对这些黑人艺术家们没有坐以待毙。二十世纪六十年代,美国的非裔们开展了一场名为“黑人自美丽”的文化运动,以打破成见,为黑人被抹黑的外表与形体正名。几百年来,黑人特征一直被宣扬为丑陋异常、遭人嫌弃的,这场运动呼吁非裔们接受并认可自己所有的身体特质。然而,单靠一场文化运动是无法彻底消除符号暴力的,这些让黑人自我设限的成见经过长时间的浸染,早已根植在潜意识深处。那么,如何才能彻底打破定势,重获自由?

In April 2016, the US musician and cultural icon Beyoncé released Lemonade, a visual concept album that explored black female agency, power, vulnerability and sexuality in ways that many considered empowering for black women. With a variety of images including those of everyday black women of all shapes and sizes, normally overlooked by the mainstream as not being worthy enough, Beyoncé calls into question how society undervalues the black female body. It could be argued that the visuals of Lemonade were a reclaiming of cultural space. And there is a certain type of black beauty being lauded here. It’s strong, it’s powerful, but a lot of it is also erotic and sexual, and though Beyoncé’s work has always pushed for women to own their bodies and their sexual agency, it still hasn’t fully achieved the uplifting celebration of a black female beauty that’s untethered from the erotic.
2016年6月,美国歌手、文化偶像碧昂斯发布视觉概念专辑《柠檬水》,在其中探讨了黑人女性的自主、力量、脆弱、性感等方面。许多人认为该专辑赋予了黑人女性更多的力量。专辑展现了各种身形体格的普通黑人女性形象,她们是被主流忽视的一隅,所具有的价值并未引起重视。碧昂斯通过展现她们的精神面貌,向社会轻视黑人女性身体价值的现象提出质疑。可以说,《柠檬水》中的画面是黑人女性重新获得文化空间的一次尝试。一种特定的美丽范式在其中得到了宣扬,它代表着强大、力量,但同时也充斥着色欲和情爱。尽管碧昂斯的作品一向鼓励女性掌握自己身体的自主权,但它们尚未将黑人女性的美丽从色情中完全脱离出来。

Lemonade was hailed by some critics as ‘a generational love letter to women of colour … like a political statement’. Even the African-American feminist critic bell hooks praised the singer’s appropriative use of antebellum fashions and portraits of ordinary black women poised as royals as a challenge to ‘the ongoing present-day devaluation and dehumanisation of the black female body’ – because it ‘shifts the gaze of white mainstream culture. It challenges us all to look anew, to radically revision how we see the black female body.’ However, says hooks, ‘this radical repositioning of black female images does not truly overshadow or change conventional sexist constructions of black female identity.’ In fact, hooks argues that Lemonade treads a dangerous line, because it still depicts black female violence as ‘sexy and eroticised’, which perception then feeds into the real-world treatment of black girls.
一些评论家将《柠檬水》褒扬为“写给这一代有色人种女性的一封情书……如同一份政治宣言”。非裔美国人、女权主义批评家贝尔·胡克斯赞赏了碧昂斯对南北战争战前时尚元素的巧妙运用,以及将普通黑人女性刻画为皇室成员的绝妙构思,这向“当前黑人女性身体遭受的价值贬低与非人性化待遇”发起了挑战——因为它“转变了主流白人文化的凝视目光。它促使我们每一个人去重新审视,彻底改变我们看待黑人女性身体的方式。”但是,胡克斯也说到:“这种对黑人女性形象的重新定位并未真正击溃或改变传统的歧视性形象塑造。”事实上,胡克斯认为《柠檬水》已触及红线,黑人女性的暴力行为仍然被描述成“性感诱惑的”,这种信息会渗透到现实生活中,影响黑人女孩的遭遇。

Beauty for black women is historically tied to reclaiming our full humanity and moral positioning
出于历史原因,美丽对于黑人女性来说,与重申我们的人性和道德定位息息相关

A study by the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality in 2017 found that adults perceived young black girls between the ages of five and 14 as ‘less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers’. This adultification of young black girls led to adults believing the girls needed less nurturing, less protection, less comforting and less support, and that young black girls ‘know more about adult topics’ and ‘more about sex’. For hooks, making progress is about changing the foundation upon which the conversation even begins. In her book Black Looks: Race and Representation (1992) she calls for ‘shifting paradigms, changing perspectives, ways of looking’. Creating new images and alternatives is essential but it is about more than that. It’s about taking the next transformative step and retraining the way we look, see and perceive. What is needed are radically new paradigms for thinking about beauty, and locating blackness within that paradigm.
乔治敦贫困和不平等法律中心2017年的一份研究显示,在成年人眼中,5至14岁的黑人女孩“比她们的同龄白人女孩更成熟、不天真”。黑人女孩的成人化令成年人相信她们不需要那么多的照料、保护、安慰与支持,她们“了解很多成年人的话题”,“懂得很多关于性的事情”。胡克斯认为,要正确认识问题就必须追根溯源,从源头上做出改变。她在《黑人的样子:种族与再现》(1992)一书中,呼吁“改变范式,转变观念,转换眼光”。创造新的黑人女性形象的确很重要,但要做的远不止于此。需要在转变的道路上更进一步,需要将我们观察、审视、理解的方式回炉重造。我们亟需一种看待美的全新范式,并把黑人置于这样一种范式中。

To some extent, this project is already underway. This July, The New York Times ran a feature highlighting the work of the documentary photographer Kwame Brathwaite, who chronicled Harlem life during the 1950s and ’60s, creating images that personified black beauty. Alongside his brother Elombe Brath, he created the ‘Naturally’ beauty pageants that featured only black models. The US pop star and recent beauty-industry maven Rihanna lauds the work of Brathwaite as the inspiration behind Fenty, her debut fashion line. There are also noticeable strides being made to expand the narrative of what it means to be beautiful in mainstream culture. After models such as Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek and Tyra Banks became popular and recognisable, fashion shows began to feature more black models, such as the Nigerian Mayowa Nicholas. The British-Ghanaian model Adwoa Aboah made the cover of British Vogue in 2017; and this year, the Kenyan-American model Halima Aden made history as the first woman to be featured in the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition wearing a hijab and burkini.
从某种程度上来说,这件事已经在落实中了。今年七月,《纽约时报》开设专题刊载了纪实摄影师夸梅·布拉思韦特的作品,他记录了纽约哈林区二十世纪五十至六十年代的生活,展现了黑人美女的个性化图像。他还和哥哥伊隆必一起创办了“自然”选美大赛,参赛者皆为黑人模特。美国流行明星、新晋美妆产业专家蕾哈娜称布拉思韦特的工作是自己首次亮相时装品牌Fenty的灵感来源。另外,主流文化中美的具体表现也有所丰富。超模娜奥米·坎贝尔、艾莉克·慧克、泰拉·班克斯等人走红后,时装秀上开始出现越来越多黑人模特的身影,尼日利亚超模梅约瓦·尼古拉斯就是其中之一。2017年,英国加纳混血模特Adwoa Aboah登上了《Vogue》英国版封面;今年,肯尼亚裔美国模特哈利玛·亚登又创造历史,成为第一位戴着头巾、穿着布基尼登上《体育画报》泳装特辑的女性。

But the push to reclaim the narrative on beauty has to extend beyond rebalancing black representation. Beauty for black women is not just about meeting a certain aesthetic, but is historically tied to reclaiming our full humanity and moral positioning. What is accepted as beautiful in the public domain affects the personal freedoms of black women on multiple levels, from the seemingly mundane to the life-threatening.
但是重获美丽的表述权力不应局限于调整黑人的表征。美丽对于黑人女性来说,不是单单迎合某种审美,而是出于历史原因,与重申我们的人性和道德定位息息相关。公共领域中美的标准会多层次地影响黑人女性的个人自由,无论是看似无关紧要的场景,还是威胁生命的时刻。

In 1998, the US philosopher Elaine Scarry delivered the prestigious Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Yale University. In ‘On Beauty and Being Just’, she built an ethical argument for beauty’s connection to virtue that hinged on the claim that beauty is salvific, in creating a life-granting pact between the perceiver and the perceived. The idea of beauty as lifesaving is a philosophical line of reasoning that goes back to Plato, who suggested that the impulse to save what is beautiful arises because, at some level, we recognise in beautiful things an aspect of lifelikeness, and this recognition works to draw our attention further to more of what is beautiful in the world. Thus beauty begets a greater awareness of beauty. And with that comes a greater sense of personal stake and responsibility to extend care to everything that has a likeness to The Beautiful.
1998年,美国哲学家伊莱娜·斯卡里在耶鲁大学坦纳人类价值讲座上发表了演讲。在“关于美丽和公正”的话题下,基于美丽可以在观察者与被观察者之间施加生死攸关的积极影响这一观点,她发起了一场探讨美丽与美德之间联系的辩论。美丽可以挽救生命这一哲学推论可以追溯到柏拉图。柏拉图认为,人有挽救美丽事物的冲动,这种冲动源于我们在美丽的事物中或多或少地感知到了生命力,而感知又驱使我们将注意力放到更多美丽的事物上。因此,美丽招致了更多对美丽的关注。随之而来的是更强的个人风险意识与责任感,对一切与美丽相关的事物都关心备至。

Scarry focuses in her lecture on the beholder, not the beheld and, following Plato, on objects and ideas, not people. Her claim is that a recognition of beauty can lead to distributive justice, because recognising beauty is akin to recognising fairness and symmetry: ‘beautiful things give rise to the notion of distribution, to a lifesaving reciprocity, to fairness not just in the sense of loveliness of aspect but in the sense of “a symmetry of everyone’s relations to each other”.’ Beauty saves the beholder and, by extension, the larger community by moving us to just actions.
与柏拉图一样,斯卡里将其演讲的重点放在观察者而不是观察对象上,放在物体与思想上,而不是人上。她的观点是,由于认可美就像是认可公平与对称,认可美能带来分配公平:美的事物催生了分配和互惠互利的概念,进而带来了公平,这种公平不仅限于事物美丽之处,也在于人际关系的平衡性。美丽驱使我们做出正义的举动,拯救了观察者以及这之外更广大的社会。

As I reflect on my experience as a black woman in the US, where I was born, and in West Africa, where I have lately lived, I’ve noticed elements of Scarry’s argument rising to the forefront of my mind. I wonder, for instance, if beauty’s salvific potential holds when the emphasis is placed not on the beholder but on the beheld, and the beauty in question pertains to female bodies? Scarry suggests that beautiful things are afforded a certain gift of life, since our natural desire is to protect and preserve them. So what might it mean for black women to be perceived as beautiful in a way that afforded them, too, care and protection, and elicited just actions from those around them? This, for me, would be a new and provocative way to think about the salvific nature of beauty. The analogy acquires more force if you consider Scarry’s notion of ‘lateral disregard’, or ‘the problem that whatever benefits accrue to an object through its being the focus of our attention are not being equally enjoyed by nearby objects in the same class’. Scarry wants to argue that beauty can rebalance the equation, because of ‘the corrective pressure it exerts against lateral disregard’. Beauty, she cautions, is something we ignore at out peril; it is ‘life-affirming, life-giving’, and ‘if, through your careless approach you become cut off from it, you will feel its removal as a retraction of life’.
当回想起我在美国和西非——一个是我的出生地,一个是我最近生活过的地方——作为黑人女性的体验时,我发现斯卡里观点的一些要素占据了我的脑海。我不禁想道,如果我们把重点放到观察对象而不是观察者身上,再将所讨论的美丽套用在女性的身体上,那么美丽对生命的挽救作用会如何发挥呢?斯卡里说,美丽的事物被赋予了生命力,而我们的本能驱使我们保护它们完好无损。那么如果黑人女性被认为是美丽的,被赋予来自周围人的关爱、保护、正义的举动,将意味着什么?对于我来说,这将意味着用一种全新的、积极的方式去看待美丽拯救生命的秉性。考虑到斯卡里提出的“横向漠视”概念,即“一件物体因受到我们关注而得到诸多好处,但这些好处并未平等地被它周围的同等物体们享有”,黑人女性与美丽事物间的类比尚需很多努力去实现。斯卡里想要论证的是,美丽可以平衡这种不平等,因为“它向横向漠视施加了正确的压力”。她告诫道,美丽是无视外界危险;是“确保生命力,赋予生命力”,“如果你不小心与美丽绝缘,你会感受到在它离去的同时你也被剥夺了生命力”。
 
Before reading Scarry, it never occurred to me that being considered beautiful in this ethically bound way as a black woman might increase my chances of survival in a place such as the US or, as Scarry puts it, that beauty ‘assists us in the work of addressing injustice’. What if the white police officer in Texas who arrested and assaulted the young black woman Sandra Bland in 2015 had been reared in a culture that taught him to recognise an inherent beauty in bodies that looked like hers and mine? In the article ‘Say Her Name: Recognizing Police Brutality Against Black Women’ (2018), Kanya Bennett – senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union ­– calls attention to how black women need to be advised on the best ways of engaging law enforcement because such encounters often ‘turn violent and even deadly’. She then goes on to share a roll call of black women who were killed by police in seemingly innocent circumstances. The violence against black female bodies is real and consistent.
在读到斯卡里以前,我从未想过在美国这样的地方,被赋予这种道德意义上的美丽将会为黑人女性的生存带来多大意义。或者就如斯卡里所说的,美丽“是我们对抗不平等的有利武器”。2015年德克萨斯州一名白人警察逮捕并性侵了年轻黑人女性桑德拉·布兰德,如果他是在认可布兰德和我这样的黑人女性固有美丽的文化中长大的,事情会如何呢?在《说出她的名字:承认警察对黑人妇女的暴行》(2018)一文中,美国公民自由联盟高级立法顾问坎雅·贝内特呼吁给予黑人女性最好的法律援助,因为类似的相遇常常“演变成暴力死伤事件”。接着,她又分享了一连串黑人女性在无辜的情况下被警方杀死的案例。针对黑人女性身体的暴力行为正真实并持续地发生着。
 
We cannot wait on others to define us, shape our narratives, make the changes we know must be made
我们不能等待别人来定义我们,塑造我们的自我表述,替我们做那些必须做的改变

How much, I wonder, has been lost to the West by the refusal to see beauty in blackness or to celebrate the humanity, the full aliveness, of black people? Instead, we have a history that commemorates the lifeless body of blacks, from the Jim Crow lynchings to present-day atrocities, and that, in effect, views the aliveness of black people as life-threatening to privileges afforded with the social constructs of racialised whiteness.
我深深怀疑,由于对黑人的美丽视而不见,对黑人的崇高人性和生机活力不屑一顾,西方到底失去了多少?从吉姆克劳法时期的私刑迫害,到今天的残暴行为,历史见证的是死气沉沉的黑人躯体,并将黑人的活力视作高贵白人社会特权的极大威胁。
 
The normative standard of beauty that for centuries has been linked (and limited) to characteristics of whiteness includes an unspoken but powerful call to protect and safeguard bodies recognised as beautiful in public space, across relationships, and in the wider cultural imagination. In US history, we see that parsed out in the genteel respectability and unquestioned protection afforded to white women. Meanwhile, middle-aged black women such as Rosa Parks (and countless others) and ill women such as Henrietta Lacks (whose cells were used for medical research without her consent) had to fight to be treated with dignity and respect. The construction of white womanhood has been as calculated, intentional and parsed out as the construction of black womanhood.
几百年来,通行的美丽标准一直与白人特征联系在一起(并仅限于白人特征),它包含了一个无声但强烈的信息,即保护并守卫那些在公共空间内、亲密关系中以及更广阔的文化想象里被视作美丽的个体。回顾美国历史,这个讯息可以从给予白人女性的假模假样的绅士举动、无条件的保护中提取出来。与此同时,中年黑人女性罗莎·帕克斯(以及无数其他人)和海瑞塔·拉克斯(未经本人许可细胞就被用作医学研究)却必须为自己的尊严与他人的尊重而战斗。与黑人女性的地位一样,白人女性的社会地位是经过精心策划、有意培植和特意区别的。
 
In the summer of 2017, during the Charlottesville race riots at the University of Virginia, I read Taylor Harris’s essay about having to explain to her then six-year-old daughter about the campus protests and then watch her little girl’s face as it registered that her black skin made her worth harming to some people. As people of colour, we know that one of the many reasons that representation matters across creative fields and varied business industries is because consistent and persistent public narratives have a powerful impact on what people perceive to be true and normative. But we also know that we cannot wait on others to define us, to shape our narratives, and make the changes we know must be made. The stories we tell about ourselves, and to ourselves, will help build the type of world that honours us in all our fullness. The more we tell such stories, the less room there is for anyone, including ourselves, to doubt them.
2017年夏天,正值弗吉尼亚大学爆发夏洛茨维尔种族骚乱之际,我读到了泰勒·哈里斯的文章。文中写道作者不得不对当时六岁的女儿解释正在发生的校园抗议,并看到她知道自己的黑皮肤会影响一些人对自己的价值判断后,稚嫩的小脸上流露的神色。作为有色人种,我们知道创作领域中、各行各业里,表征都极其重要。其中一个原因是,稳定、持续的公众表述对人们评判事物真实、正常与否影响重大。但我们也必须知道,我们不能等待别人来定义我们,塑造我们的自我表述,替我们做那些必须做的改变。那些我们勇敢对自己述说的、关于自己的故事,将帮助我们创造一个完完全全尊重黑人的世界。这些故事讲得越多,留给任何人包括我们自己的质疑的空间就越少。
 
A powerful contingent of black women artists, writers and activists – Toni Morrison, bell hooks, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, Margo Jefferson and Claudia Rankine – have used their work and their platform to highlight and help shift the narratives around black female bodies, not just in terms of how they are perceived and treated, but also how they take up space. And a younger generation is picking up the baton because there is still so much at stake in the negative perceptions and treatment of black female bodies. The US musician Solange Knowles is just one example of the ongoing cultural curation involved in changing the paradigms. Her essay ‘And Do You Belong? I Do’ (2016) laments, through a litany of racial offences against her and her family, how black people are consistently made to feel uncomfortable in white spaces. The following year, she curated ‘An Ode To’ – a private performance at the Guggenheim Museum where she further explored these issues. Her work has spurred university courses, as well as the creation of organisations where black women feel safe to explore their experiences of racial discrimination and devise possible solutions.
一群杰出的黑人女艺术家、作家、活动家——托妮·莫里森、贝尔·胡克斯、艾丽丝·沃克、 奥德丽·罗德、玛格·杰斐逊、克劳迪娅·兰金——用她们的作品以及创造的平台将黑人女性的身体表述推上舞台中央,并助力其转变。这不仅改变了它们被看待和对待的方式,还改变了它们在公共空间的位置。但现在对黑人女性身体的负面评价与粗暴对待方式仍然威胁着我们,年轻的一代们正接过上一代人的接力棒。美国歌手索兰格·诺尔斯就是改变范式的文化代表。她的文章《你是其中的一员吗?我是》(2016)通过陈述她和家人长期受到的种族歧视,为黑人在白人空间中持续遭受不公待遇表达了惋惜。2017年,她在古根海姆博物馆进行了非公开表演《一首赞歌》,进一步探讨了这些话题。在她的努力触发下,一些大学开设了相关课程,一些机构得以创立,提供黑人女性自由表达种族歧视遭遇、并寻求解决办法的机会。
 
Four years ago, I moved to Nigeria. In the thick of intensifying police violence against black people and growing racial tensions in the US, I needed to experience a different narrative. When a young black woman in the US says she feels more tense or hyperaware of her safety upon finding herself to be the only black woman on a subway, or at a bar or a party, or when walking by a group of white young men, it is as though the collective history of the treatment of the black female body in the US has been indelibly imprinted on her consciousness. Being in such contexts can trigger fear like a haunting, a ghost that still has the ability to literally terrorise the flesh.
四年前,我搬到了尼日利亚。在警察对黑人的暴力行为愈演愈烈、种族关系剑拔弩张之际,我需要离开美国,体验一种不同的黑人表述。一名年轻的美国黑人女性说,当她发现自己是地铁上、酒吧里、派对中的唯一一名黑人女性,或是在一群白人男性旁边行走时,她会不自觉地紧张起来,警惕地担心自己的安危,仿佛整个美国黑人女性身体遭遇的历史被不可磨灭地铭刻在了她的意识中。在这种背景下,内心深处的恐惧极易被触发,扰乱我们的神经,侵蚀我们的肉体。
 
In Nigeria, I felt the immediate effect, even if I couldn’t always express it, of being black in a place where blackness is the majority, both literally, as a population, and figuratively, in regard to who establishes the social and cultural norms on a daily basis. Whenever I’d return to the US, I’d always feel something significantly different about being in both locations. There was a freedom and a lightness in Africa that I didn’t feel in the US – that, in fact, disappeared within a few hours of being there. It took me months before I could actually put my finger on what that difference was. But when I finally did, it seemed the most obvious and understandable thing in the world to me: whenever I was in Africa, I would literally forget that I was black.
尽管有时候说不清道不明,但在尼日利亚我一下就感受到了一个黑人身处黑人主导社会的效果。黑人不仅在人口上占主导,也是社会以及文化日常规则的制定者。无论何时我回到美国,都能感受到身处两地的截然不同。我在非洲感受到的自由与轻松,在到美国的短短几个小时之内就消失得无影无踪。我花了几个月才能确切地说出这其中的差异,它是世界上最明显、最容易理解的道理:无论何时身处非洲,我都会忘记自己是个黑人。
 
To exist daily in a place where you, and people who look like you, are seen as the normative standard of beauty is transformative. It can affect your confidence and bring with it a nuanced sense of safety in public spaces. Walking into a store or going to the hairdresser, sitting casually in a nice hotel lobby or eating alone at a restaurant feels like an altered experience, because there is no questioning at all based on race about whether or not you are welcome. No one questions your motives or your means. No one makes assumptions about your background, your education, your placedness. And no one questions your worth with a mere glance because you are black. In Africa, my skin colour was never the primary lens through which I was seen and evaluated by the world. It is an astonishing thing to experience on a regular basis as a black adult.
每天生活在一个与你相似的人被当成美丽标准的环境中所带来的变化是巨大的。你的信心会得到提升,在公共场所中一种微妙的安全感也会随之而来。走进一家商店或是理发店,在一个精致的酒店大堂随意坐下,在餐厅里独自进餐,一切的体验都变了,根本不用因为种族而担心自己是否受欢迎。没有人会质疑你的动机或方式。没有人会揣度你的背景、教育、处境。没有人会仅凭一瞥发现你是黑人就贬损你的价值。在非洲,皮肤的颜色从不会成为我被外界观察和评判价值的第一标准。作为一个黑皮肤的成年人,能够常态化地体验这些,对我的冲击是巨大的。
 
Returning to the continent where, as a child, I had been imbued with an alternative idea of beauty, and where blackness wasn’t automatically ‘othered’, is not without its own issues. The lingering effects of colonisation are still apparent in a continuing ‘colourism’ that sees lighter black skin as more beautiful than dark black skin, and underwrites a commercially viable market for skin-lightening creams. There remain hierarchies of beauty standards even in a country where black is beautiful. And unfortunately, the reality is that being a woman anywhere, regardless of colour, comes with its own complex understanding of what it means to feel welcome or safe in public spaces.
回到童年生活的土地,在这里我曾经被灌输了截然不同的审美观念,在这里黑人并没有被不自觉地“他者化”。但这里也不是完全没有问题。殖民主义的遗风仍然以“肤色主义”的形式存在,认为浅色黑皮肤比深色黑皮肤更美,并由此催生出了美白产品市场。即便是在一个以黑人为美的国家,美丽的标准也依然存在着等级之分。不幸的是,无论在哪里、无论什么肤色的女性都对公共空间受欢迎程度或安全感有着各自的复杂理解。

Nonetheless, it is vital to have specific and nuanced public discussions about what groups of people are recognised as beautiful and, by extension (to borrow Scarry’s argument), deemed compelling enough to elicit care and attention. I have lived in five countries across four continents, and I have experienced the varied ways one can move through the world in this black skin, depending on how the history of blackness has been constructed and perceived. Having that sort of insight has greatly affected the way I think about ethnicity and race, belonging and bodies, and the stories we tell about these things. There are stories we simply have to continue to refute and to resist. And there are some stories we have to learn to tell and to keep telling, until they become the new truth. Our stories, like beauty, can be salvific.
然而,我们必须进行具体的、审慎的公共讨论,来决定哪一人群应该被认为是美丽的,延伸来说,也就是哪一群人有充分的理由获得关爱与关注(借鉴斯卡里的主张)。我在四大洲五个国家生活过,体验了一个人顶着黑皮肤在这个世界穿行能有的种种经历,主要取决于各个地方黑人的历史是如何构建、被如何看待的。这些经历深深影响了我如何去思考种族与人种,归属与身体,以及我们对这些问题的讲述。有一些故事需要我们持续地批判与拒绝。还有一些故事需要我们学着去讲,并坚持讲下去,直到它们取代前者成为现实。我们的故事,比如关于美丽的故事,可以挽救我们的生命。


👇


参考阅读:

潘知常:审美救赎何以可能 

艺术不能改变世界,但是,它能够致力于变革男人和女人的意识和冲动,而这些男人和女人是能够改变世界的。 


http://www.aisixiang.com/data/111407.html

黑人公主被漂白:西方艺术抹杀黑人形象的反思


http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20190114-how-black-women-were-whitewashed-by-art




我们对美的认识,太肤浅

  • 本文原载于 aeon

  • 原文链接:https://aeon.co/essays/how-we-think-about-beauty-and-blackness-can-save-lives



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我们对美的认识,太肤浅


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