Jane Caputi is Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Florida Atlantic University. She has written many articles and authored three books, including Goddesses and Monsters: Women, Myth, Power and Popular Culture. She also has made two educational documentaries, The Pornography of Everyday Life (distributed by Berkeley Media) and Feed the Green: Feminist Voices for the Earth (distributed by Women Make Movies).
"'Color Nature Gone'? Shiny Whiteness in Posthuman iconography"
In popular iconography (film and TV, advertising, poster art) , the posthuman regularly is signified by shiny whiteness, indoor spaces, thinness and hairlessness of any human-like figures (e.g., the Svedka “Fembot” in the vodka ads). Possible associations include the white lab coat – a visual metonymy for the scientific method, or futurism as in 2001 A Space Odyssey. But whiteness also is a signpost for sterility, for a purification of all associated with fructuous and mortal nature – green plant life as well as green rot, black earth, blue sky, red fire, carnality, animality, matter, leaky, hairy, mortal bodies, the bloody maternal/feminine, the dark skin of stigmatized "others." A colorless world –and its relation to ecocide was deplored in a 1974 song by the Native American band XIT, “Color Nature Gone.” I illustrate this iconography and further consider the relation of symbolic whiteness to ecocide and related systems (sexism, racism, ableism, speciesism).