White people are not literally or symbolically white; nor are they uniquely virtuous and pure. Racial imagery and racial representation are central to the organisation of the contemporary world but, while there are many studies of images of black and Asian people, whiteness is an invisible racial position. At the level of racial representation, whites are not of a certain race. They are just the human race, a 'colour' against which other ethnicities are always examined.
In White, Richard Dyer looks beyond the apparent unremarkability of whiteness and argues for the importance of analysing images of white people. Dyer traces the representation of whiteness by whites in Western visual culture, focusing on the mass media of photography, advertising, fine art, cinema and television.
Dyer examines the representation of whiteness and the white body in the contexts of Christianity, 'race' and colonialism. In a series of absorbing case studies, he discusses the representations of whiteness in muscle-man action cinema, from Italian 'peplum' movies to the Tarzan and Rambo series; shows the construction of whiteness in photography and cinema in the lighting of white and black faces, and analyses the representation of white women in end-of-empire fictions such as The Jewel in the Crown, and traces the disturbing association of whiteness with death, in vampire narratives and dystopian films such as Blade Runner and the Aliens trilogy.
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adventure films Ahmed Alien films argues Arnold Schwarzenegger Barbie beauty BFI Stills Blade Runner bodybuilders British central century Chapter characters Christ Christianity cinema civilisation colonial context Crown Granada Television culture D-FENS Daphne dark darker death Deckard discussed emphasis episodes Ercole especially European fascism feeling figure film gender Gordon Scott Granada Television Granada Television 1984 hair Hari Hercules hero heterosexual human ideal imagery imperialism Indian instance Jewel Lady Chatterjee Lady Manners Lillian Gish literally look Maciste Marina Warner memsahibs moral movie lighting muscle narrative non-white notion organisation painting peplum photographic media photography position Posters and Designs purity race Rachel Kempson racial Rambo rape realised Reg Park relation representation of white represented reproduction Ronald Merrick Sarah seen sense serial sexuality shot skin colour star Steve Reeves suggests symbol Tarzan things Western white face white male white women woman