end of the International Womaen's Day week

From: Mike Cole (mcole@weber.ucsd.edu)
Date: Sat Mar 13 2004 - 17:00:35 PST

Last evening, to continue our education and reflectiona about herrschaft,
my wife and I went to see "Osama," an Iranian film about a girl who goes
through puberty as the Taliban take over in Iran. It was a very painful
experience, but one we both recommend.

The ending is not a happy one.

We got home early. There was an American movie about a girl who is sexually
assaulted and murdered.

The aesthetics and cultural contexts were wildly different, the fates of
the two girls slightly different (the Iranian girl is not killed, but no
one reading this message will wish to trade places with her or allow themselves
to dwell too much on it). But the cultural assumptions underlying the
two stories bear some eery similarities.

Common, of course, is male violence against females. De facto assumed in
the American film, de jure/de facto in the Iranian film. The supernatural
plays an important role in both stories. Ismlamic fundamentalism in one case,
psychics in the other. But what most distinguishes the films at the
ideological level is where responsibility is placed. In the Afghan film,
responsibility is at the socio-cultural level. There are individual differences
and decent men, but overall, the society has condoned/been coerced into
accepting draconian, generalized, public herrschaft. In the American film
its a matter of individual personality disorder, as if, an abberation, that
a persistent mother and a psychic overcome, but require men, using their
strength, to pervail.

Altogether thought provoking and disturbing. And, although a film, I believe
excellent material for theoretical analysis of culture, gender, and development.

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