Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reflection on 11.15 Class Discussion

The video Reel Bad Arabs (2006) opened my eyes to a lot of films that I've never seen. I wonder if any of the films were directed by women. As Sam had mentioned, Dr. Jack Shaheen repeatedly incorrectly uses the term Arabs throughout the film. I was wondering why no one in his field had mentioned this to him. It saddens me that no one he worked with noticed. The terms Middle Eastern, Arab, and Muslim are often used in place of one another and I'm glad it was brought up in this class. I wish younger students were taught about this because I think that the younger we are, the more certain ideas are repeated, and get cemented. 

I remembering watching the Disney movie Aladdin (1992) when I was younger. Of course, I had never thought of it in that way. I had never paid attention to the lyrics of the song and connected it to a culture. But listening to the opening song in class the other day, suddenly I was shocked and ashamed. How and why had I never thought about this before? Would you let children watch this? Is there more harm than good being done by a seemingly innocent animated children's movie? For some reason, this reminded me of McDonalds and how, in the past especially, younger children were targeted as consumers. Toys and other "fun" things were used to grab children's eyes.

It made me seriously think about all of the other Disney movies and the stereotypes that are being used. I remember reading "Holly and Melissa's Multicultural Curriculum" and wonder how children are influenced by watching these ideas. The sad truth is I don't think that the influence can be truly deciphered. I think it is a combination of one's environment, family, friends, and individual ideas that come together. 

One quote that Dr. Shaheen said was that people become "comfortable with their prejudices." There is truth in this and I think many television shows perpetuate (there's that word again!) stereotypes because it is easier than gaining an understanding of the complexities of an individual or a culture. 

In watching the clip from Sex and the City 2 (2010), I thought it was ironic that Sarah Jessica Parker's character was judging the women for being "voiceless" and suppressed when she was the one who had to flash a part of her body in order to get a ride. I mean, was that supposed to be an example of a "liberated" woman? How is this showing a woman who is embracing and is empowered by her sexuality? 

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