(Warning: There's some offensive language and imagery in this trailer, including the use of the "N" word. But it was the best overview of the film I could find. I apologize if it offends anyone.)
A quick caveat for this week's feminist flashback: not everyone would categorize blaxploitation as feminist since it is, by definition, about exploitation of certain racial and gendered tropes. Significantly, blaxploitation is a genre very-much based in the 1970s – urban crime, the war on drugs, post-civil rights. Gary Morris’s article on the genre in Bright Lights Film Journal defines it fairly well:
The plots of most of these films — and they are conventionalized enough to confidently treat them as a group — are pastiches of old Warner Bros. melodramas, with dashes of MGM fashion glamor — via the street — thrown in. Most are gangster melodramas with elements of social protest, dominated by a single (male or female) charismatic personality. They fall loosely into two overlapping categories. First are the stories of the pimp or pusher at a crisis point, caught between the needs of his people (black nationalism) and sellout pressure from The Man. […] The second is the straight-on revenge drama, in which a character — often female, more violent and less conflicted than her male counterpart — single-handedly destroys a white-based power structure that's harmed her, her family, and by extension the black community.
Many people -- particularily reviewers -- found (and find) blaxploitation films to be degrading and unrealistic. However, in a 1977 interview, Pam Grier (star of Foxy Brown, among other things) stated
I feel I portray all images of a woman on all levels because I am product of my environment. As far as people insisting that I have been cast in blaxploitation movies, I don't know what black exploit means. All the roles I have had were reflections of our society. Those were real people from real elements. The heroiness I portrayed always showed concern for the terrifying social conditions and it is only in this area that I feel I meld with the screen characters I depicted.
Even though it's violent, hyper-sexualized and gratuitous, I love Foxy Brown because Pam Grier's character is kick-ass. What do you all think? How do we define feminism in text when so many other factors--violence against women (and men), racist stereotypes, revenge, etc.--seem counter to that ideal?