Mickey Mouse Monopoly (Review)

Mickey Mouse Monopoly

Directed by Miguel Picker (2001)

Film Review

Mickey Mouse Monopoly is an examination of the perniciously sexist and racist ideology promoted by Walt Disney Inc, one of the six media conglomerates that control nearly all global communication and culture. In addition to producing blockbuster films and TV programming, Disney owns TV and radio stations, movie theaters, Internet sites and theme parks worldwide, as well as the ABC TV and radio network.

According to Dr Henry Giroux, author of numerous books exploring Disney’s role in propagandizing youth, Disney uses the “spectacle” of innocence to conceal their ruthless exercise of corporate power.

Because Disney is such a dominant player in the development of children’s thinking, the company plays a vital in shaping how members of industrialized society view issues of race, class and gender. For this reason, psychologists, sociologists and media critics are extremely concerned about the blatantly sexist and racist messaging in Disney films.

This documentary skillfully intersperses “expert” commentary with clips from specific Disney films (demonstrating anti-woman, anti-Hispanic, anti-African American, anti-Asian and anti-Arab messaging) and interviews with children about their reactions.

As a woman, I’ve always been most concerned about Disney’s portrayal of female characters (both human and animal) as coy, manipulative, seductresses who are incapable of functioning independently of men. This was the primary reason we did not watch TV in our home while my daughter was growing up.

The Life and Loves of a She-Devil

The Life and Loves of a She-Devil

BBC (1986)

Film Review

A dramatization of Fay Weldon’s 1983 classic, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil is a satire about the sexist and exploitive nature of romantic love.

The heroine is a very ugly woman named Ruth who ingeniously manipulates her husband’s innate sexism to wreak vengeance on him and his beautiful rich mistress Mary Fisher.

Both the book and the dramatization focus on society’s use of romantic love to glamorize the vast amount of unpaid labor women perform for men and society in general.

As Weldon puts it (in the words of a Catholic priest Fisher “seduces”), “love robs women of their identity and creative selves.”

The video below comprises all four episodes in the 1986 series.

What are Men Thinking about Women?

With or Without You: What are Men Thinking about Women

Directed by Tom Sands and Ramsay S James (2012)

Film Review

In this highly amusing documentary, the filmmakers ask random men on the street a series of questions about women. They intersperse their answers with so-called “experts”* who have made a life study of male-female relationships.

The overall impression I took away is that men feel a strong expectation to talk about women in terms of their booties, boobs and legs. However most of the men in the film (including the so-called experts) share a strong expectation for women to fulfill deep-seated emotional needs and feel angry and bitter when women fail to do so.

Aside from some really bizarre and convoluted pronouncements, a few of the experts came out with some really valuable insights:

• Human courtship is contaminated by a range of political and sociological factors (I was disappointed the film failed to explore some of these.).
• A man who doesn’t fully know and accept himself is unlikely to have a successful relationship with a woman.
• A man who doesn’t know and accept his feminine side (so-called “feminine” traits such as empathy, nurturing, instinct and intuition) is unlikely to be successful in love.
• Men’s anger towards women nearly always stems from unresolved conflict within themselves or towards their mothers.

*Psychologists, psychotherapists, a sex therapist, a tantric master and an Anglican priest.

Stop Telling Women to Smile

Stop Telling Women to Smile

Directed by Dean Peterson (2014)

Film Review

Stop Telling Women to Smile is a public art project by African American artist Tatyana Falalizadeh. Her goal is to fight the daily street harassment young women face in New York and other cities (I, too, experienced street harassment until well into my forties).

In this type of harassment, packs of men make obscene catcalls and noises at random women as if they own them.

Falalizadeh interviews women about the intense humiliation and degradation this causes. Each woman identifies the specific message she wishes to convey to her abusers. Then Falalizadeh paints the women and puts up the posters in neighborhoods they frequent.

Examples of messages include:

“Stop Telling Women to Smile.”
“I’m Not Here for You.”
“Women Aren’t Outside for Your Entertainment.”
“Keep Your Thoughts About My Body to Yourself.”