There has been a long history of the cinematic negation and distorted delineation of the black female body in cinema. From the myopic cross-media stereotypes of the black woman as "mammy" to silencing the pseudo "unrapeable" black woman "for the sake of racial unity," black women have been either completely erased or misrepresented so as to perpetuate the superiority of white womanhood as object of the phallocentric gaze. Recent studies have shown that as a result of this treatment of the black female body in cinema, black female spectators undergo a unique cinematic experience than that of both the black man and white viewer. Black women create what Black feminist film theorist bell hooks refers to as an "oppositional gaze," resisting the complete negation or marginalized portrayal of black women in the film and questioning this absence, becoming active participants rather than passive spectators. To better understand this notion of an oppositional gaze on behalf of the black female spectator, I will take a close look at scenes primarily from director John Stahl's 1934 film "Imitation of Life" and discuss the black female gaze and presence in relation to the phallocentric gaze and the portrayal of the two black characters, Delilah Johnson, as played by Louise Beavers, and her mixed daughter, Peola, as played by Fredi Washington. In the film, Beavers represents the marginalized Mammy stereotype, or the desexed, nurturing, and self-sacrificing servant always ready to please her white master. Black female spectators, unable to accept this stereotypical portrayal of black womanhood, must put on the "oppositional gaze" in order to "enjoy" the film. However, with the character of Peola, the tragic mulatta figure, the black woman viewer is able to at least sympathize for one black character.