Tags: capitalism, class, economic sociology, government/the state, historical sociology, inequality, organizations/occupations/work, political economy, social mvmts/social change/resistance, theory, violence, war/military, ideology, labor, neocolonialism, postcolonialism, postcolonial theory, propaganda, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This animated excerpt comes from the documentary, "Banana Land: Blood, Bullets and Poison." The clip recounts the events of December 6, 1928, when Colombian workers gathered to the protest the conditions of their employment under the United Fruit Company (UFC), which is now known as Chiquita. As the film explains, by the early twentieth century UFC had become a powerful multinational corporation, and in exchange for its role in helping to prop up repressive regimes in Latin America, the company was afforded cheap land, and in time, it came to develop a monopoly on the transport of fruit in the region. When workers organized to demand better working conditions, including 6-day work weeks, 8-hour work days, money instead of scrip, and written contracts, they were met with a violent response from the Colombian military. Protecting the interests of American economic elites, the United States government threatened to invade Colombia in order to quell the UFC worker protests, and in response, the Colombian government dispatched a regiment from its own army to do the job. The Colombian troops effectively created a kill box, setting their machine guns on the roofs surrounding the plaza where a group of protestors had gathered. After a five-minute warning to disperse, the troops opened fire killing women, men, and children. Other than a sobering reminder of the power corporations often wield over the lives of workers, especially when they have the backing of states, this clip would work well as a means of introducing some of the basic components of postcolonial theory, which can be understood as a body of thought that critiques and aims to transcend the structures supportive of Western colonialism and its legacies. In contrast to Marxist dependency theories and the world systems perspective, work in the postcolonial tradition tends to emphasize cultural, ideological, and even psychological structures born from the forceful and global expansions and occupations of Western empires (Go 2012). The banana strike and its violent conclusion is a vivid example of the way the United States has maintained a postcolonial grip on the running of foreign economies. In this case, a propaganda machine chipped away at international sympathy for the protesting workers, while at the same time, the U.S. was able to wield power over the Colombian government by mere threat of military force.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
Tags: children/youth, culture, emotion/desire, gender, sex/sexuality, violence, masculinity, rape, sexual assault, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: [Trigger warning for frank talk about rape] In this clip, Andrew Bailey performs a character who awkwardly explains his view that rape is hilarious when it happens to men. The monologue plays as the character's thinly veiled attempt to convince himself that the rape he experienced at the hands of his teacher was something other than a traumatic instance of physical and sexual abuse. At first, he seems to breathlessly struggle to convince viewers that rape is hilarious, then as his face reddens and his defenses appear to be eroding, he attempts to reframe his rape as an experience he actually wanted. After all, in his words he "was a horny 13-year-old boy, and [he] totally wanted to have sex, and now [he] totally had had sex with an adult he trusted." By the end of monologue the character's defenses have fallen away, and the audience is left with his raw testimony. He reveals a more thoughtful side to the character, who explains that he self-consciously chooses to see rape as funny because it is one of the few defenses he has for dealing with the experience. The video works well to underscore a number of ideas about patriarchy. For instance, in contrast to the premises behind many of the arguments posed by so-called men's rights activists, patriarchy very often does not operate as a zero-sum game. In other words, the idea that there is a war between the sexes, where a "loss" for women is simultaneously a "gain" for men is not always a useful idiom, and in fact, as feminists have long noted, patriarchy hurts men too (see for example, these posts featuring Michael Kimmel, Tony Porter, and check out this paper from R. W. Connell, who argues that under patriarchy men orient themselves to a hegemonic masculinity). Bailey's monologue can be used to remind viewers that men and boys are also victims of rape, but because patriarchy constructs the aspirational ideal of a man as someone who cannot be raped and always desires sex, men very often have trouble admitting their experiences, even to themselves.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
Tags: children/youth, inequality, violence, war/military, empathy, sociological imagination, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This powerful PSA uses the second-a-day video format to promote empathy for people in war-torn regions. Created by Save the Children UK, the video targets UK viewers who might feel removed from the traumas of war and conflict. It begins by showing a young (white) girl blowing out the birthday candles on her birthday cake, then moves through a variety of 1-second clips of the same girl in everyday situations. While the first shots are mundane and (presumably) familiar examples, the clips increasingly reflect situations of unrest, trauma, and war—illustrating brief but emotionally-charged effects on her family, health, and psychological well-being. The final clip ends with her in a (refugee) tent staring blankly at a single candle on a more modest birthday cake. The subsequent text reads: "Just because it isn't happening here...doesn't mean it isn't happening"; and viewers are encouraged to #SaveSyriasChildren. In addition to suggesting some of the disastrous effects of war on children, it is an excellent way to introduce topics like the sociological imagination and empathy. Viewers might consider how social structures in the various contexts shape these individual outcomes. In other words, how is this individual child's biography shaped by the external social and historical forces beyond her control? How do the clips reflect the very different political structures, social conflicts, and economic opportunities that will likely shape the girl's life in very different ways? In doing so, viewers are likely to recognize the importance of empathy in understanding the experiences of groups that are different from our own. For a similar video connecting the sociological imagination to empathy, see sociologist Sam Richards' Ted Talk. Thanks to Michael Miller for suggesting this clip!
Submitted By: Paul Dean
Tags: crime/law/deviance, culture, gender, inequality, prejudice/discrimination, violence, mircroaggression, misogyny, patriarchy, rape, rape culture, sexual violence, slut shaming, street harassment, subtitles/CC, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: "Oppressed Majority" is a short film from Eleonore Pourriat, and it contemplates what the world would be like if men and women swapped statuses. The film's protagonist starts his day by checking the mail and politely listening to his neighbor complain about the dilapidated condition of their building. She concludes, "But I should really be talking to your wife." With this alternate French universe as her backdrop, the remark is a perfect example of the subtle brand of sexism Pourriat is able to successfully explore--what sociologists sometimes refer to as microaggressions. Later in the film, the protagonist encounters a group of young women on the street. He endures their catcalls, but when he finally stands up for himself, the women chase him into alley and rape him at knifepoint. While the obstacles confronting the protagonist as he goes about his day do not always result in physical harm, in each instance, he is the recipient of a rather vivid lesson about the place and position he and other men occupy in this fictional matriarchal society. In my view, the film works as a kind of thought experiment and confronts viewers with an unsettling question: If you're appalled by the treatment of men in this fictional society, why aren't you appalled by the ways women are treated in many real societies? For those who might object that the filmmaker is exaggerating to make her point, consider the fact that at least in the U.S. a nationally representative survey found that 87 percent of American women between the ages of 18-64 had been harassed by a male stranger; and over half of them experienced “extreme” forms of harassment including being touched, grabbed, rubbed, brushed or followed. Even more harrowing, a recent Centers for Disease Control survey calculated that 1 in 5 American women will endure a rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes. To be blunt, the film is shocking, not because it exaggerates, but because it encourages viewers to contemplate a truth. What is truly remarkable then is that people have become so numb to patriarchal aggressions; the assaults have become so normalized that it takes a work of fiction to coax people into truly seeing the society in which they live.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
Tags: gender, health/medicine, inequality, violence, domestic violence, gender violence, masculinity, partner abuse, power relations, sexualizing violence, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: What do you think of when you hear "gender-based violence"? While the term gender-based violence is primarily associated with men inflicting violence towards women and girls, it is important to analyze why the reversed scenario—women inflicting violence towards men—is often disregarded. Pink's video "Please Don't Leave Me" is a stark example of the way that gender-based violence towards men is perceived as somehow less serious than men inflicting violence towards women. This video is centered around Pink's various (violent) attempts to prevent her partner from leaving. She keeps her partner as a prisoner in her house and relentlessly begs him to stay. It is important to note that gender-based violence disproportionately affects women because of unequal power relations between men and women. For instance, women account for 85% of domestic violence victims in the United States. Questions to consider alongside the video include: Why is it that we do not see a problem (or see less of a problem) when a woman physically and/or emotionally abuses a man? Why do some people perceive gender-based violence against men as humorous? Might this affect the number of men who report gender-based violence? What are some examples of violent actions and/or language in this video? (e.g., "I can cut you into pieces," "You're my perfect little punching bag.") Does Pink try to make violence sexy? Is sexualizing violence problematic? Would people be more critical of this video if the characters' genders were reversed? It may be helpful to clearly define gender-based violence so that students can critically analyze the video according to accepted definitions of what qualifies as gender-based violence. Gender-based violence of any kind is unacceptable and should not be used as a form of entertainment. As a society, we should actively speak out against images that work to normalize violent behavior. To learn more about gender-based violence check out the European Institute of Gender's website.
Submitted By: Patricia Louie
Tags: bodies, gender, media, sex/sexuality, violence, music video, rape culture, sexual violence, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: [Trigger Warning for sexual assault] As defined in Transforming a Rape Culture, "A rape culture is a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women." Robin Thicke's huge summer hit, Blurred Lines (it reached #1 in 14 countries), has been widely discussed as an example of rape culture. In fact, it has been so controversial that at least 5 universities in the UK have banned the song. They argued the song objectifies women, and "is a man suggesting that there are ‘blurred lines’ when it comes to sexual consent" ; the ban is meant to “end rape culture ... on campus.” While Thicke states he wrote the song about his wife (who nonetheless can be raped by their husbands), and that the lyrics have been misconstrued, the lyrics are strikingly similar to the words rapists have often told their victims. This argument was made in an excellent blog post by Sezin Koehler at SocImages, where Koehler linked the song lyrics to testimonies from Project Unbreakable, an online photo exhibit of "sexual assault survivors where they are photographed holding a poster with a quote from their attacker." For example, the main lyrics (repeated 18 times) of "I know you want it" is a line given to many victims, and implies that women really want sex when they say they do not. As he sings "Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you. He don’t smack your ass and pull your hair like that," Thicke's misogynistic fantasy conveys that "a woman doesn’t want a 'square' who’ll treat her like a human being and with respect" (Koehler). Even if viewers give Thicke the benefit of the doubt concerning the intention of his lyrics, one still has to consider the effects of the video's message on its audience. As this video excerpt from Dreamworlds 3 illustrates, music videos (like other forms of popular culture) socialize us into prescribed gender roles regarding sexuality. And in a video where the women are all scantily clad (or nude in the unedited version of the video), and never speak, they reproduce a view of women as passive objects meant to fulfill men's fantasies. Meanwhile, men are trained to think of themselves as dominating figures meant to aggressively pursue what they desire, and to disregard women's stated sexual preferences. Viewers may also be interested in the many parodies of the video, including the Law Revue Girls' "Defined Lines" where they respond “Yeah we don’t want it/ It’s chauvinistic/ You’re such a bigot ... You can't just grab me/ That's a sex crime.”
Submitted By: Paul Dean
Tags: crime/law/deviance, knowledge, media, psychology/social psychology, violence, cultivation theory, terrorism, tsa, subtitles/CC, 00 to 05 mins
Access: The Colbert Report
Summary: Neuroscientist Steven Pinker shares his book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. This video explains (without mentioning it) cultivation theory, which is the idea that the more you watch the news, the more you have a tendency to overestimate the crime rate. Specifically, the video discusses terrorism, and Americans' fixation on it as a source of danger, when more mundane sources like flammable pajamas and peanut allergies cause far more deaths. This video works well as a means of introducing cultivation theory, but it is also a good starting point for a more general conversation about how the media misleads the public about how dangerous the world is and from where dangers come. Note that The Sociological Cinema has previously explored the way media is used as a tool for dispersing propaganda in a democratic political system (here), and also as a supplicant to the demands of corporate power (here).
Submitted By: Nickie Michaud Wild
The 1991 Tailhook scandal exposed the U.S. military's rape culture.
Tags: crime/law/deviance, culture, gender, organizations/occupations/work, prejudice/discrimination, violence, war/military, masculinity, rape, rape culture, sexual assault, sexual harassment, 11 to 20 mins
Access: Retro Report
Summary: Long before two boys from Steubenville High School in Ohio raped a young woman and bragged about it on social media, the U.S. had a rape problem. A recent Centers for Disease Control survey now estimates that in the United States about 1 in 5 women are the victims of rape or attempted rape at some point in their lives, but such national statistics mask what happens within particular institutions. In the U.S. military, 1 in 3 servicewomen are sexually assaulted, and in 2011, 22,800 violent sex crimes were reported. What this means is that military women in combat are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire, and adding insult to injury, the soldiers who commit rape have an estimated 86.5% chance of keeping their crime a secret. They have an even better chance— 92%—of avoiding a court-martial. From the Tailhook scandal in 1991 to the recent arrest of Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski—the chief of the Air Force's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office—the above video from The New York Times tracks the history of sexual assault in the U.S. military. In order to make sense of the prevalence and persistence of such assaults, sociologists argue that we need to face the fact that the problem is entrenched and systemic; the assaults need to be examined as manifestations of rape culture, which refers to "a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women" (Buchwald, et. al). Thus, as reported in the video, when a senior officer dismisses reports of sexual assault at the Tailhook Convention by expressing the belief that, "That's what you get when you go down the hall with a bunch of drunk aviators" (at the 3:20 mark), the officer can be understood as drawing from a repertoire of myths that collectively characterize a rape culture—namely that such assaults are inevitable and perhaps natural. Similarly, when the officer leading the Tailhook investigation remarks that "some of these women were kind of bringing it on themselves" (at 4:30 mark), he is effectively blaming the victims for their assaults. The fact that these remarks were spoken by men with formal and legitimate power is added evidence that the sentiments run deep within the military, but it is also significant that these remarks are somewhat compatible, and taken together, formulate a relatively coherent logic. The video can be used to illustrate a pernicious thread of thinking from the military's rape-cultural repetoire: First, servicewomen who do not learn their places in male-dominated spaces will inevitably be raped, and second, their rape will be no one's fault but their own. On this score, Germaine Greer's famous observation has a certain resonance: "Women have very little idea how much men hate them." (Note that The Sociological Cinema also takes up the concept of a rape culture here, here, here, here, and here)
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
MLK and Malcolm X differed on their attitudes toward violence.
Tags: social mvmts/social change/resistance, violence, civil rights, malcolm x, mlk, strategy, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: One of the key debates within social movements is about the use of violence or nonviolence as a strategy to bring about social change. This video is an edited montage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and Macolm X, respectively discussing the use of violence or nonviolence in the fight for civil rights. Thus, it juxtaposes key arguments in this debate by well-known activists (for better or worse, the clip also opens and closes with the Rocky theme song!). It also works well with readings that more systematically analyze this strategic question. One of the most famous positions (from a left perspective) advocating violence as one possible movement strategy is Ward Churchill's Pacifism as Pathology: Notes on an American Pseudopraxis. However, most movement activists and scholars support non-violent strategies. For one example of this, see George Lakey's (co-founder of the Pacifist organization, Movement for a New Society) response to Churchill, "Nonviolent Action as the Sword that Heals." Viewers are encouraged to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of nonviolent social protest and the role of violence in achieving social change in the past: should social movements always be nonviolent? Did the use of violence (or threat of violence) help or hinder the struggle for civil rights? What factors shape when violence is or is not a legitimate strategy for advocating social change?
I would like to thank Alper Yalçinkaya for suggesting this clip. The image above is a charcoal and pastel drawing by Ylli Haruni.
Submitted By: Paul Dean
This scene emphasizes the importance of consent.
Tags: children/youth, foucault, gender, sex/sexuality, theory, violence, rape, sexual consent, sexual violence, subtitles/CC, 11 to 20 mins
Access: Fáðu já (English subtitles available)
Summary: [Trigger Warning: This film includes scenes depicting and discussing rape and sexual violence.] Fáðu Já! (“Get a Yes!”) is an educational film from Iceland on sexual consent. The film functions on two levels: 1) it analyzes, and is a good way to initiate discussions on, sexual relationships and violence; and 2) it offers an illustration about cultural differences in the public discourse about sex education and sexual violence. First, sometimes with humor and sometimes with sobering seriousness, the film addresses a number of issues about sexual relationships and is aimed at teenagers. Topics include: the dangers of learning about sex from porn or music videos; the fundamental importance of getting consent from one's sexual partner; acknowledgement of the positive dimensions and frequent awkwardness of sexual activity; knowing sexual boundaries; the definition of rape; and the prevalence and dangers of sexual violence. Second, the film is an interesting illustration of cultural differences around public discourses of sex. Many viewers (especially American viewers) may be surprised to know that this film was shown to teenagers in all schools across Iceland on January 30th, 2013. As noted in this review, the film "is part of a government-sponsored awareness initiative that is focused on violent crimes of a sexual nature against children." It had the support of Iceland's Ministry of Education, Ministry of Welfare, and the Ministry Internal Affairs, with the purpose of developing "preventative material regarding sexual violence." According to an interview with one of the film's creators, "The response was overwhelming. The project got a whole lot of media attention and was featured on pretty much every talk show in the country. The reporters and journalists ... all interviewed us, more or less. The reviews were extremely positive and I barely heard any negative feedback. Some of the older, ‘cooler’ teenagers said that it was obviously made for the younger kids – but we think the film is for everyone who has ever reached puberty." Finally, the video is theoretically interesting from the perspective of Foucault, who in The History of Sexuality (1978), links discourses of sexuality to power. On the one hand, the video was shaped by official ministries and is tied to expert knowledge, and it clearly links positive sexual activity to relationships of love. On the other hand, and contrary to discourses that shame adolescent sexuality or characterize it as unnatural (Foucault 1978: 104), the video acknowledges its positive dimensions. The video also does not explicitly define acceptable forms of sexuality (at least not beyond consensual sex associated with love), thereby partially decentering this conversation by encouraging viewers to know and create their own boundaries. Furthermore, from a feminist perspective, the film can be seen as empowering victims of sexual assault. (Note: when showing this video in the US, instructors may want to provide the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE)
Submitted By: Anonymous
Got any videos?
Are you finding useful videos for your classes? Do you have good videos you use in your own classes? Please consider submitting your videos here and helping us build our database!