Rachel, Miu & Thomas: Power Through Uniformity

The women in Chi-Raq find power by uniting under one common goal: to abstain from lying down on the “conjugal couch” until their men end the street violence that has claimed countless lives throughout Chicago. As individual women, the gender power dynamic favors the man; however, when they unify through abstinence they find a way to play a role in their community’s politics. Lee demonstrates this cohesiveness with two aesthetic affective structures: audio and visual uniformity.

Audio uniformity can be characterized by the repeated rhythmic chants that the women of the movement repeat throughout the film. Examples of this can be seen as Lysistrata leads a chant about how the women will “Deny all rights of access and entrance” into their bodies from their male partners. Moreover, it can also be found in the “No Peace, No Pussy” chants that are started outside the military building and are echoed throughout the world.

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Visual uniformity comes in the form of choreographed dance and movements. For example, in 1:08:24-1:09-23, Lysistrata teaches women the “no peace, no pussy” choreograph as a form of solidarity. Similarly, when the men come into the military base with their keys (1:30:00-1:33:33), the women all defy their oppression through choreographed homogenous movements.

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Although the women ultimately achieve unification, noncompliance threatened their political strategies. Some women rejected the chant and identified stronger as sexual objects for their men. When Lysistrata and Miss Helen persuade other women to join the movement, some women refuse to abstain from sex, but when their individual concerns are qualified with the larger issue of gang violence and innocent deaths, they eventually choose the larger movement advocating for peace.

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Post by: rnghe, ms and tgilligan16

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