A man considers how he protects himself from sexual violence.
Tags: gender, inequality, violence, male privilege, patriarchy, rape, rape culture, sexual assault, victim blaming, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This video clip, which was produced by a senior-seminar class at James Madison University focused on the sociology of interpersonal violence, exposes the lived realities of navigating a rape culture under patriarchy. By asking women and men what they do on a daily basis to protect themselves from being sexually violated, the video highlights the myriad strategies that women are socialized to employ in an attempt to protect themselves. Men, by and large, do not think about the threat of sexual violence in their lives, nor do most men, on a daily basis, do anything to protect themselves from such a threat. This is not to say that men are never raped or assaulted, but to highlight the realities of a culture in which women, but not men, are systematically targeted for acts of sexual aggression. Violence is one resource used in the reproduction of gender inequality, and as the video points out 100% of women experience the threat of that violence. Many men do think about this because it is not an issue that affects their daily lives directly. Many women don’t think about it in these terms because men’s violence against women is normalized under patriarchy. Importantly, the video is not intended to demonstrate things women "should" be doing. Instead, it highlights the realities of women's lives. Whatever decisions a woman makes regarding her safety, they are arguably the right decisions for her, but victim blaming persists when it comes to men's violence against women. As the video notes, it is never the victim's fault. We are often quick to ask what a woman did or didn’t do following an assault, but we rarely ask why a man assaulted a woman; nor do we ask why acts of men’s violence against women are normalized within our culture. Something to bring to the discussion is the fact that although women are targeted for acts of aggression by men, and although women's lives are constrained in important and material respects as a result of that, we still expect women to bear the brunt of the effort to challenge gender inequality. Men, as the recipients of male privilege (including the "privilege” of not having to carry the weight of being systematically targeted for acts of sexual aggression), have cultural space and influence to stand up—as allies to women—and challenge the patriarchal oppression of women, including men's violence against women. Although not all men are actively engaged in efforts to reinforce patriarchy and gender inequality, all men receive the conferred advantages of male privilege under patriarchy (but not all men have equal access to the patriarchal dividend as a result of other aspects of identity). As a result, men who are not actively anti-sexist are passively reaping the benefits of a sexist system. This video can stand as a springboard for class discussion about interpersonal violence (specifically men's violence against women), the rape culture, patriarchy, male privilege, victim blaming, and strategies of resistance.
Submitted By: Matthew Ezzell
Hummingbird chronicles an effort to help street kids in Brazil.
Tags: children/youth, emotion/desire, inequality, rural/urban, social mvmts/social change/resistance, violence, domestic abuse, homelessness, human rights, pedagogy of affection, poverty, sex trafficking, street children, subtitles/CC, 21 to 60 mins
Summary: Often, after learning about the numerous social problems plaguing our society, students ask: "But what can we do?" and sometimes they express a sense of hopeless by suggesting that "things will never change." Hummingbird, an award-winning documentary film, was in some ways created in this same spirit of curiosity about the possibility of change amidst seemingly insurmountable social problems. Filmmaker Holly Mosher explains at the outset of the film why she visited the Brazilian city of Recife: "I visited because I wanted to see if it was really possible for kids who have lived all their lives amongst violence and misery to become part of a society that has always rejected them." The film chronicles the story of how two nonprofits in Brazil use the pedagogy of affection to help street kids and women break the vicious cycle of domestic violence. The pedagogy of affection is a method of social change whereby people help people, steeped in the belief that affection, touch, and caring are essential to holistic health and personhood. Viewers are encouraged to consider the various ways social change is effected and represented in the film, and specifically the role of grassroots organizations and communities that embrace hope and "an indefatigable spirit in the face of threats, financial difficulties, and a culture seemingly unable or unwilling to reform itself." At the 44:19 minute mark, Cecy Prestrello, co-founder of the non-profit Coletivo Mulher Vida (Women’s Life Collective), recounts the following story: "There was a fire in the forest. And all the animals were running around, crazed. Then a hummingbird began to pick up water in its beak and put it on the fire. And the lion stopped and watched. He said 'Are you crazy hummingbird? You have to protect yourself, like all the others. What are you doing?' The hummingbird replied 'I am doing my part…and what about you? What are you doing?'" Prestrello's perspective on social change would pair well with Allan G. Johnson's piece, "What Can We Do? Becoming Part of the Solution."
Submitted By: Holly Mosher
Alvin, age 17, from Harlem, NYC
Tags: crime/law/deviance, inequality, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, violence, criminology, new york city, police, racial profiling, 11 to 20 mins
Summary: [Trigger Warning: this clip contains profanity and some incidents of violence.] "We're gonna go out there and we're gonna violate some rights." These are the words of a police captain, as reported by a New York Police Department (NYPD) veteran of over 10 years. This exposé produced by The Nation reveals the NYPD's blatant racial profiling/stop-and-frisk practices. The video begins with an audio recording of an actual stop-and-frisk incident of a Latino man for "looking suspicious," then moves to interviews with anonymized police officers about the policy and practices involved with it. Not only does the video expose the racial profiling of the targets, but the pressure put on line officers by sergeants, lieutenants, and captains to continue issuing summons and performing arrests, both to keep their jobs and to get promoted through the ranks. This video would be excellent for any course on criminology, justice studies, race, or law to discuss the intersection of power, race, inequality, and/or corruption.
Submitted By: Anonymous
Scene from the Disney film "Beauty and the Beast"
Tags: children/youth, gender, violence, femininity, types of domestic abuse, socialization, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: Although it may happen behind closed doors, domestic violence is a public issue that has serious psychological, social, and physical consequences. This short clip (start 0:00; end 3:41) from the documentary Mickey Mouse Monopoly (2002) is useful for illustrating how pop cultural messages in children's media socialize girls (and boys) to accept and overlook intimate partner violence. This clip brings to light the normalization and romanticization of partner abuse in Beauty and the Beast. As scholars in the documentary argue, the film teaches girls that a woman should be patient and supportive of her abusive partner in order to help him change his behavior (i.e., transform into a prince). Such messages are harmful when, in reality, women and girls should be encouraged to leave abusive relationships and seek help if their partner is mean, violent, and coercive. After screening the clip, instructors might ask some of the following questions: What are the types of partner abuse we see in this clip? How does Disney sugarcoat the Beast’s abuse as “just a short temper?” How might these messages about the normalization and romanticization of partner abuse be dangerous to children? The clip is a great segue into a broader discussion of how femininity is represented in Disney films. What desirable feminine qualities are associated with princesses (e.g., beauty, helplessness, passivity, etc)? What kinds of undesirable qualities are associated with female villains in Disney films (e.g., independent, single, agentic, powerful, ugly, etc.)? For additional teaching resources, check out this study guide for Mickey Mouse Monopoly, complete with assignment ideas and additional discussion questions.
Submitted By: Patricia Louie
A Navajo nádleehí.
Tags: gender, sex/sexuality, violence, gender binary, Native American culture, third gender, two-spirit people, 61+ mins
Access: PBS (includes Trailer; Clip 1; Clip 2; Clip 3)
Summary: This documentary from PBS's Independent Lens series centers on the story of Fred Martinez, "a boy who was also a girl" who was murdered as a teenager, making him "one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history." The film explores non-binary gender traditions or "two-spirit people" in the indigenous cultures of North America. As explained here, "Most tribes were aware of the existence of two-spirit people, and many still have a name in their traditional language for them. For example, The Din éh (Navaho) refer to them as nàdleehé or one who is 'transformed', the Lakota (Sioux) as winkte, the Mohave as alyha, the Zuni as lhamana, the Omaha as mexoga, the Aleut and Kodiak as achnucek, the Zapotec as ira' muxe, the Cheyenne as he man eh, etc. (Roscoe, 1988). Some tribes had different names for two-spirited men and women." Several short clips from the film are available from PBS. I use Clip 1 (2:24) to help students think beyond the gender binary of contemporary American society. PBS's website for the film offers some educational resources, including a map of gender-diverse cultures across the globe. For additional information about the film and how to purchase it, click here.
Submitted By: Michelle Sandhoff
Bollywood actor and filmmaker Aamir Khan
Tags: abortion/reproduction, demography/population, gender, marriage/family, violence, domestic violence, gendercide, india, infanticide, patriarchy, sex ratio, subtitles/CC, 61+ mins
Summary: The cultural preference for sons in India and China is well known and widely discussed, and demographers observe that both countries have distorted sex ratios, due in part to a rise in sex selective abortions since the 1980s. According to estimates based on census and sample registration data, in mainland China the sex ratio stood at 120.6 boys per 100 girls in 2008, while it stood at 110.6 boys per 100 girls in India for 2006-2008. In some Chinese provinces and Indian states, the ratios are even higher than these national-level estimates. For instance, in Jiangxi, Anhui and Shaanxi provinces in China the sex ratios are 137.1, 132.2 and 132.1, respectively, and in India's northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, the sex ratios are 119.6, 118 and 114.9, respectively. This video is from the Indian television talk show Satyamev Jayate and takes on the issue of sex selective abortions in India. The video can be used to supplement discussions on distorted sex ratios. In particular, it can be used to highlight the domestic violence that often accompanies the preference for sons but tends to be neglected in the demographic literature, given its tendency to focus exclusively on numbers and trends. From about the 6:10 mark to about 19:30 minutes, the audience hears the testimony of two women who were coerced into having sex selective abortions and have faced considerable harassment from their husbands and in-laws for their failure to have sons. Instructors can further use the video to begin a discussion about how the problem of imbalanced sex ratios can be addressed. Since patriarchal notions that men are more valuable than women underlie the trend toward coerced sex selective abortion, a truly systemic approach will likely include an attempt to dismantle patriarchy itself.
Submitted By: Manjistha Banerji
Tags: children/youth, emotion/desire, gender, violence, femininity, masculinity, socialization, subtitles/CC, 21 to 60 mins
Access: Films On Demand
Summary: In this archived episode of ABC News 20/20, John Stossel investigates why girls and boys express their feelings differently. Drawing from an interview with Dr. William Pollack of the Harvard Medical School and author of Real Boys, and researchers from Emory University and the University of Connecticut, Stossel encounters what was still a fairly radical idea in 1998: parents, peers, and "society" encourage girls to express their feelings but stigmatize boys for doing the same. As Pollack explains, the consequence of this is that girls tend to feel more comfortable with their emotions and are able relieve their stress and sadness by talking about their emotions. Boys, in contrast, are unable to express their feelings and often act out with violence against others. Despite the expert testimony and research on the subject, Stossel and his colleagues seem reluctant to give up the idea that boys are biologically determined to hide emotion, and in the clip's conclusion, he expresses the evolutionary fantasy that men are biologically predisposed to hide emotions because they had to "stand in the woods with a spear [and] be quiet." The clip works well as a means of discussing the powerful influence of socialization to a topic rife with biological determinism. Before I show the clip in my class I have students write down the number of times they have cried in the last 6 months, and I ask them to make a note of how many times they cried in front of others. Then, once the clip is finished, I ask them to compare their answers to the ones given by the children in the clip and to reflect on their own socialization.
Submitted By: Nihal Celik
Tags: bodies, children/youth, crime/law/deviance, gender, sex/sexuality, violence, human trafficking, prostitution, rape, sex trafficking, sexual violence, violence against women, 00 to 05 mins
Access: New York Times
Summary: In this Op-Ed Video, Pulitzer-prize winning columnist Nicholas Kristof interviews a survivor of childhood sex trafficking in Manhattan (see accompanying article). The woman was forced into prostitution at age 16, and at age 19, she was able to escape her pimp and gain her freedom. In the video, the woman describes how, as an emotionally and economically vulnerable teenager, she was tricked by an older man into a relationship and then forced into prostitution. Her pimp threatened her with violence, and she was sold from one pimp to another, and forced to have sex for money in New York and other cities along the East Coast. The video discusses how pimps recruit their girls and the role of websites like backpage.com in facilitating sex trafficking. Backpage (owned by Village Voice Media) features girls as young as 14 (although they are advertised as being at least 18) years old, makes $22 million/yr from its adult ads, and is now the "premier website for human trafficking in the United States." Many viewers may assume that victims sex trafficked in the US come from other countries, but in fact, the majority of sex trafficking victims in the US are domestic victims. Viewers may reflect on the role of the pimp in this process, and why pimps are often glorified in American popular culture.
Submitted By: Paul Dean
Tags: abortion/reproduction, historical sociology, government/the state, politics/election/voting, theory, violence, weber, civil liberties, democracy, melissa harris-perry, social contract theory, states rights, thomas hobbes, 11 to 20 mins
Summary: The social contract refers to the individual's acceptance of some social rules and limitations in exchange for the protections and benefits from the state. The concept was initially developed in the philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau; however, sociologist Max Weber further specified the social contract as it relates to violence by highlighting how all forms of political organization including democracy, entrust "the state" (e.g. government at all levels) as the only social institution that can legitimately use physical force. In this video, political scientist and pundit Melissa Harris-Perry applies this Weberian approach by arguing that the State of Virginia failed to force women to undergo an invasive procedure, known as a transvaginal sonogram, prior to having an abortion because social consensus concluded it was not a legitimate use of force (or even violence) by the government. In other words, the state was in breach of the social contract. For a similar discussion on the same political issue, Rachel Maddow explores the fringe pro-life movement’s use of illegitimate violence against abortion doctors in her full-length documentary, The Assassination of Dr. Tiller.
Submitted By: Jason Eastman
Rape humor on prime time television
_Tags: discourse/language, gender, media, violence, comedy, media literacy, rape culture, symbolic violence, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: Before watching this remix of the 2012 television season's many rape jokes, take a minute to view an excerpt from the documentary Vietnam: American Holocaust, where American soldiers testify that they raped civilian women during the Vietnam War. "We found one hiding in a bomb shelter," one soldier explains, "She was taken out [and] raped by 6 or 7 people." You might also watch this recent speech from Tony Porter, where he recounts a moment from early adolescence when he came upon a group of older boys raping a mentally disabled girl from his neighborhood. Rape most easily stirs anger and depression, so a joke about it would seem to be a risky proposition for any comedian; yet that is exactly what happens with relative frequency in a number of new sitcoms this television season. The remix above features scenes from 2 Broke Girls, Wilfred, Up All Night, Workaholics, Whitney, Two and a Half Men, Modern Family, Glee, Work It, and a few others. More than just insensitive content in an era when 1 in 5 American women experience rape or attempted rape at some point in their lives, the use of rape as humor can potentially minimize the brutality of this crime. While humor can sometimes be an effective means of leveling social criticism (as argued elsewhere on The Sociological Cinema), that does not appear to be what is happening in the scenes that compose this remix. This short clip provides an excellent foray into discussions about how rape humor is part and parcel of rape culture (defined here). The humor stands to reinforce deeply problematic values, norms, and ideas of that culture, especially when they are blended with other more innocuous punchlines and canned laughter from a studio audience.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
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!