American Identity and the 1890s masculinity crisis was a result of the uprising of one of the first feminist movements. The media emphasized this “moral panic of boys,” and as a result, such things as the electric belt and other technologies were developed to enhance one’s manhood. The establishment of explicitly male-centered activities such as Boy Scouts of America and other groups were also formed in order to reassert male place and dominance in our society.
The male reaction, or lack thereof, to Elle Magazine’s feminism campaign spearheaded by actress, Emma Watson, emphasizes how our culture is currently in a much different state than when feminism first arose. The image provided shows three famous men in our culture wearing t-shirts that point out how both genders can be feminism-supporters. We can see how the media and celebrities’ endorsement of ideas greatly affects how we react to and define our American identity.
Do you think the recent popularity of feminism is a result of celebrity endorsement and the popularization of the idea that it is “cool” to accept change nowadays?
Disney’s adaptation of the story The Hunchback of Notre Dame emphasizes Douglas Baynton’s point that disability has become a means to justify particular individual’s ostracism from our society. This movie based off the book by Victor Hugo features a hunchback bell-ringer named Quasimodo who has spent his life displaced from the rest of society with only his imaginary gargoyle friends and his Master as a form of social interaction.
The fact that Quasimodo is portrayed as having a Master who manages him and only having imaginary friends implies to the viewer that he is both incapable of being a normal, self-governing human and engaging in social interaction with normal people.
Additionally, it is intended that viewers of the film simply accept the normality of Quasi’s ostracized life, using the animation of his physical deformity as a means for justification. We are not left wondering why he is not welcome at the annual festival, since we see his character portrayed clearly as a cripple– as if that were justification enough.
Would you say that the idea of “normality” has been used in society as a means of managing and categorizing populations?