Monday, February 27, 2006

'date movie' poster & the 'hottentot venus'

I've just received this email below from the 100 Black Men of London, an organisation that seeks to promote Black history through educational events and films. It complains about a poster for a movie, that I actually might have seen in passing in the last few days. I'll definitely take another look when next I see it.

Read about the last journey of the Hottentot Venus.

Obviously, Date Movie sounds like the kind of stock 'gross out' lavatorial humour movie we are bombarded with these days, the contents of which are bound to offend someone or other. The question perhaps, should be: how serious is the offence? I'll be checking the links out myself, but I'm interested to know what others think. The email, below.


Last year we screened a documentary titled Sarah Baartman, the Hottentot Venus.
It was a very popular film and over 450 people attended. The film was about how a South African woman was imported to Britain in 1810 and made to perform and squat in a cage so that Londoners could admire her buttocks and genitalia. The London crowd was particularly interested in the shape and size of her posterior which were seen as both an indication of her oversexed nature and her inferiority. To see an illustration of Sarah Baartman and appreciate her historical relevance, visit ...

On the Friday 24th February on page 7 the Metro published an advert for the Film Date Movie. The film is
distributed/advertised by 20th Century Fox. Front and centre of the poster is a black woman squatting on
heels with her behind to the viewer. Her face is seen in profile and the emphasis is on her behind. Her (padded out ) buttocks are inserted where the O in movie would be. Above the picture is a caption which reads : 'From wedding planners to wedding crashers, they all get it in the rear!'

To see a picture of the advert for yourself send a blank e-mail to,

To see a slightly different version of the poster visit 20th Centruy fox site. In this version the womans behind is made to vibrate.

In two weeks time it will be International Womens Month and we will be screening films that respect the achievements of African women from all over the world. Many women of African descent will have the kind of body shape which is caricatured and objectified in the poster and the film itself.

For an example visit
(you may need to copy the address into your adress browser)
It is clear that the woman's bottom is a major attraction and object of fun if not sexual interest for the viewers. Those of you who saw the documentary will appreciate that this portrayal is part of a history of the sexual objectification of black women.

If you view the advert as offensive, degrading, or poor taste please take the time to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority which investigates complaints of taste and decency and has upheld similar complaints in the past.

Also send an e-mail to The Editor at stating your views on the imagery

To ask for the Fox vibrating behind to be removed e-mail visit

On the 11th March at our Heroic Black Women Day there will be a report on how many people took the time to complain and the results

1810 Saartjie Baartman (1789-1816) --19th century icon of racial inferiority and black female sexuality; known as the "Hottentot Venus" . In London and Paris, as crowds gazed at the bare bottom and vagina of Saartjie Baartman, observing its supposed excessive size with prurient interest. She was supposedly a "Hottentot," a vivid European construct which sought to place a kind of super-barbarism, an ultra-"negro" savagery, on this perversion of the unfortunate Khoisan of South Africa. Full article


Blogger sokari said...

This is disgusting - thanks for exposing it and will definately email it and repost it. The whole thing is sickening.

10:50 am, March 03, 2006  

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