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I'm an Irish guy living in France. I like music, books, creative writing, art, history, vegetarianism, people, and chocolate.

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Tuesday 7 April 2009

Sexism, Strength and Dominance: Masculinity in Disney Films

This short video ties in with what I was talking about in my Fey Pride post. I don't want to pick on Disney in particular—it has become something of a cliché to say that Disney conveys right-wing values (racism, sexism, consumerism, etc). But it's nevertheless true that entertainment and the media have a huge influence on the development of children. Sometimes it's done in a deliberate way, (ads are used to make sure children become model consumers) sometimes not (for example depictions of violence are probably a reflection of society and are broadcast because, well, violence sells, more than being a conscious attempt at promoting violent lifestyles). It's certainly the same for gender roles, as this short video clearly demonstrates.

I'm working on my dissertation a lot these days—about evangelicals and their attitude to power—and I found out that the first American evangelicals were actually very progressive. In the 18th century, they were opposed to slavery, women could vote in church meetings and preach, they were pacifists and were in favour of social justice. This changed in the South of the USA when evangelicals grew in power, at the beginning of the 19th century. Evangelicalism became the religion of the elites, used as an opiate of the masses to keep the slaves and the poor in check and to support the slave-system. Evangelicalism was stripped of its more radical aspects. Women and young people were no longer allowed to preach. Blacks were set aside. Pacifism was ridiculed. A rhetoric of war began to be used : a real "Southern male" was to be manly, dominant, physically strong, and if possible own slaves. Because a century later the South of the US would have a tremendous influence on evangelicalism, both in America and worldwide, this conception of masculinity would prevail among many evangelicals. You still find it today. If only conservative evangelicals would reclaim their progressive roots, what a change it would make to the world!


Anonymous said...

Easily I agree but I think the collection should acquire more info then it has.

Groovy Shamrock said...

Yes, you're right. It should be done more "scientifically". But I suppose it's hard to argue something seriously in the ten minute span that Youtube allows...

Anonymous said...

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