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Burka Avenger

"Burka Avenger is a new Pakistani kids' show about a mild-mannered teacher who moonlights as a burka-clad superhero."


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

In reference to globalization, the origins of mythology and ideas of "super-heros" go back thousands of years to ancient mythology.  Often, these ancient gods or heros had something in common with their audiences, to identify with, as well as an exceptional skill that surpassed that of any human capability.  This Burka Avenger trailer shows that the Avenger fights evil in a superior way- by using books.  The commonality with Muslim audiences is depicted as wearing similar religious clothing, but also realizing that having that ability to battle with books is something both the superhero has, AND the general population.  This allows for identifying between the population and the hero in a way that shows they can be heros too.  Superman did something similar by "doing the right thing," and Batman too, by standing up to injustice at whatever level his opportunities permitted.  Showing a down-to-earth hero with powers and commonalities with the Muslim audience is a way of the artists of their society saying that these kids can be heroes too.  It plays down the extremes of actual violence, and replaces that with intellectual solutions and peaceful defending of the right thing to do. The blend of conventional heroic traits and the Pakistani culture is what makes this cartoon a statement for social change, and also what might keep them away from harmful activities by them being exposed to it at a young age.

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 19, 2014 12:45 PM

There is something to be said about how film and the media can be used as an effective tool to touch on broad cultural ideals. On a related note, I will be attending a conference soon in Boston on social studies education and one of the seminars I will be going to is how to use SciFi movies in the classroom. Ideals like equality, fighting oppression and free speech are timeless and span many cultures, in Pakistan, the Burka Avenger is that area's media outlet to discuss key social topics to young people.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, April 6, 4:25 PM

A modern day Batman/Superman, Burka Avenger, with great graphics and an in-depth plot. The television shows the Pakistanis children watch are the same type of shows that I watched growing up, and the shows that the modern day children of today’s youth are watching. The cross-cultural relationship seems so different, but at the roots it is the same. The kids in this show have friends, pets, enemies, a hero, a conflict; everything that an American television show would feature.  Whether the kids are facing a bully, a school closure from a villain, or a life peril from another villain, there undercover school teacher is there ready and willing to save the day. Everybody needs a hero to look up to, so this show is great for the Pakistani youth. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, May 6, 10:06 AM

I think this is wonderful.  It also reemphasizes the reality that all children are born without preconceived notions of what is right, what is wrong, what is good, or what is evil.  An American child might look at this and automatically think that the lady in the Burka is a "villain", due to American media and propaganda.  I can't help but think of the backlash that would surround this cartoon if they ever tried to put it on American airwaves.  

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Normative Gendered Messages

Normative Gendered Messages | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

 

Here are two shirts are from the Avengers.  Both are designed for their children apparel production line, but I don't have to tell you which one is marketed for boys and which one is marketed for girls.


Questions to ponder: How (and why) do companies use cultural ideas and values to market their products?  How do companies shape cultural ideas and values?  What impact do messages like this have on a society's culture?  Do seemingly subtle differences is pop cultural products like this matter?  

 

Tags: perspective, culture, gender,  popular culture.


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

Commercials don't always try to sell you stuff, they try to appeal to you.  Heroism appeals to people, but people are trying to sell you shirts that advertise comicbooks in a trinity of marketing efforts.  Social appeal, by referring to heros, sales by selling the shirt, and advertising comics.  I like comics, but I would rather spend money on comic books, or go into the world and make a difference and BE a hero (or eat a hero at a hoagie hut) than buy one of those shirts.  My spiritual beliefs are open to allowing the sales of these shirts, but my preference does not incline me to actually purchase one.  I am 'free' in this country to buy or not to buy a shirt.  I'm a long-time supporter of art, and I like the idea the shirt puts forward- supporting heroism and comic books, belief in scifi/fantasy art and concepts, and I agree that someone should buy that shirt... but I feel that I could do more by actually being a hero than telling people to be heros.  By using comic book heros, the advertisers say that nobody on this world is a hero, because they 'aren't real,' but also that anybody can be a hero by striving towards virtue of the pure ideal idols in the comics.

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Sabrina Conroy's curator insight, July 15, 2013 11:42 AM
We live in a world where this shouldn't even be an issue right? Aren't woman supposed to be equal, earn equal wages, equal respect, 'anything you can do, I can do better' kind of thing? So, why do subliminal and not so subliminal messages like these still exist? You find this type of thing ALL over the world but here in America, we focus on it more. We were once a leading nation on the topic of women equality so as a leader who is trying to set examples for the rest of the world, how can we find this stuff still appropriate?
Ana Cristina Gil's curator insight, November 6, 2013 9:15 PM

Companies before they put any product in the market they do research first for example; what people are buying, they take in consideration gender and culture. And why is that? Because they are not going to create a product that no one is going to buy. The impact that this type of messages like this have on a society’s culture. No matter how many laws are make in favor woman equality are created we are being  perceived as the weak sex, that we need the help of a man to do anything. Sadly but true this type of campaign it was sales

Michele Baker's curator insight, March 12, 2014 11:39 AM

This is a really depressing trend, and one that, as the parent of a daughter, I am all too aware of. It's way past time we start rethinking the way we dictate gender roles in children.

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The Body in Public Space

The Body in Public Space | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

Here are some seemingly eclectic topics.  All of them center around the appropriateness of the body being displayed publicly and the cultural norms that shape how we think about the issue.  I've included a sensational restroom, public nursing, top-free protests, and of course, the Kate Middleton scandal.

 

Tags: culture, popular culture, gender, place, space.


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I think the men who prohibit public breast-feeding of babies should be starved.  I have a baby cousin, whom I love dearly, and I would hate to delay his lunch as much as anyone else would hate to have their own lunches delayed.  To prohibit public-breastfeeding is cruel, discriminatory, and hypocritical, as these prohibitors were likely publicly breastfed at some point in their infant days.  A message overall about other people acting 'scandelously'- get over it.  Grow up.  I don't like having to hear from or about you, and it takes away from my definition of a perfect world when I see people starving my baby cousin.  Culture should accomodate to the entirety of the population, not a majority.  After all, as for babies- we've all been there, and as for old people- we'd be lucky to live that long, but we'll llikely be there too.  I don't think we should be governed by someone that some people elect and other people don't vote for, because it's really not fair... it would be better and a compromise to not be governed at all!  So don't be critical, be understanding... Peace and Love!

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melissa stjean's comment, September 20, 2012 1:54 AM
Thousands of women each year sun bathe topless around the world.. Do we make a major scandal about those women? No. But when Kate Middleton does it, its a recipe for disaster. How is it different from a woman nursing her child in public? Well, Kate was sabotaged by paparazzi on their private honeymoon while women openly chose to nurse in the public.
Victoria Morgia Jamolod-Umbo's comment, September 26, 2012 10:11 AM
Hilarious! The breasts of women are human parts of a woman which should be respected because it is where a human being feeds. It is a symbol of life.
Don Brown Jr's comment, September 30, 2012 8:07 PM
This cartoon clearly shows how breast are sexually marketed in our society and how we will can accept the fashionably sexual display of breast in public yet consider breast feeding offensive. In many ways this cartoon seems to show how some social norms seem to interfere with common sense as we should be more critical of the sexual advertisement of breast while breast feeding on the other hand should at the very least be tolerated.
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In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports

In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"Private girls' schools are now allowed to hold sports activities in accordance with the rules of Shariah, or Islamic law. Students must adhere to 'decent dress' codes and Saudi women teachers will be given priority in supervising the activities, according to the Education Ministry's requirements.  The decision makes sports once again a stage for the push to improve women's rights, nearly a year after two Saudi female athletes made an unprecedented appearance at the Olympics."  This news comes at a time when Saudi Arabia has allowed women to ride bikes (sort of).

 

Tags: Saudi Arabia, culture, gender, religion, Middle East.


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I never really understood the idea of telling people to or forcing them to act certain ways.  Our lives are not 'ours;' they belong to the world around us, within us and without us, not us.  I think that the girls being allowed to do certain things, like sports, is a good thing, not great.  Sports, in my opinion, are not the essence of life.  I believe in pursuing spirituality, and I think it is good that the girls are allowed to play sports in accordance with Islamic law, but in this ever-changing world that we live in, my own non-extending personal thoughts are that any law from a religion, should encourage opportunities, not prevent or encroach on them.  Cultures are different, and I'm not even really about to suggest my thoughts to anybody that might take it harshly, but it seems to me that whatever cultural laws and traits that inhibit functions such as sports, or have done so, are being put there by someone else that clearly is not as negatively affected by the 'laws.'  I know police that have smoked marijuana, I know politicians that have broken the law, and I see these things as "Eh, whatever," because it doesn't really affect me.  I wonder who, even in accordance to the cosmic beliefs of Islam (I'm open to a deity as an answer), put these laws here that have restricted school sports...

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Hector Alonzo's curator insight, November 9, 2014 9:37 PM

Women in Saudi Arabia are usually restricted to life in the house and cannot be unaccompanied in public, but allowing Saudi women to play sports is a leap into the future of women's rights in the Middle Eastern country. The women shown in the picture above are seen in traditional dress while training, showing the governments enforcement of rules in this historic move into the future.

Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 4:24 PM

I was happy to see an article like this. It's about time that these women are being given equal opportunities. Although they have a long way to go this is a step in the right direction. Saudi Arabian girls are being allowed to have sport related activities within their private schools. This did surprise me a little just because Saudi women's rights are very limited but this is a simple improvement just to the general health and well being of these girls. Two females competed in the last years summer Olympics representing Saudi Arabia and their efforts were not shown on Saudi TV. These women competing has opened a few doors to allowing more than just men to engage in these activities. Usually sports were only for the elite women who could afford gym memberships or attend well known colleges. Even though women cannot compete internationally or sign up for clubs or leagues this is a step in the right direction.

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 4:47 PM

This is an interesting article about slowly allowing women in Saudi Arabia to participate in sports. While playing soccer or swimming or running may not seem so important to us in the West, it is a big deal for Saudi women. Saudi Arabia has some of the strictest laws in the Middle East regarding women's rights, and so even a very partial and gradual allowance for women to engage in sports is a big step. It shows perhaps a slight softening of adherence to Shariah law, which would hopefully eventually allow women more freedom in the realms of education and work, as well as in everyday life. 

 

Too often are people quick to judge and characterize other cultures or religions by the most extreme examples. While it is true that laws in Saudi Arabia are extremely restrictive to women, progress such as this, though small, may well act as a stepping stone for increased freedoms for women. People outside of Saudi Arabia and Islamic culture must realize that this kind of progress does happen and is, in fact, happening right now. To simply dismiss Saudi culture as misogynistic and oppressive is to write the whole culture off. While progress is slow and less than ideal, we should look to Saudi Arabia's Islamic neighbors and see that many of them are not so oppressive to women. Allowing Saudi women to participate in sports, therefore, may be setting up the country to increase women's rights and join its relatively more liberal neighbors. This is certainly a sign of positive change, and one that should not be ignored. 

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European women marry, give hope to Samaritans

European women marry, give hope to Samaritans | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank (AP) — The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture.

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I know a man who is Indian, and his grandparents came from India.  He tells me that their people do not formally or very much at all approve of interbreeding between their people and other cultures.  He says Indians stick with Indians, and that's how it's supposed to be.  I think in the future that the genetic diseases will be abolished by selective characteristic modification through reproductive alteration using technology- I think DNA modification will become a popular trick in both reproduction and everyday life that will allow for the end of illness.  This would allow people to marry into other cultures without fear of genetic complications, but they would still have that cultural barrier my Indian acquaintence referred to.  That same dude has some funny insight about Italians and other cultures, and noted that Italian-Americans are not really Italian at all.  We had a couple of interesting discussions regarding different cultures, and he told me that he is 100% Indian.  I don't mean to seem degrading AT ALL but the first thing that popped into my head was how people breed dogs to be purebreds, which are coveted and expensive, as well as pure.  I'm a blend of many different nationalities, and I'm proud of it... The universe is a blend of many nationalities, and I ever-ponder my connection with the Universe, and it's nice to know that I have a commonality with the Universe!

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Cam E's curator insight, February 18, 2014 12:00 PM

It's a very interesting and sad phenomenon when groups that thrived in the past begin to dwindle to a point where the acts of individuals can decide the entire future of the demographic. It brings in questions of tradition and if those people have a duty to propagate their genes to keep their group alive. I can only imagine how tense the environment could be when single accidents or deaths could mean the end of your people.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 2014 12:14 PM

This article describes a how the small religious group, the Samaritans, have seen their numbers shrink to unsustainable levels and have been forced to turn outside to find wives. These men are importing brides from places like Ukraine because of a significant gender imbalance and heightened risk of birth defects due to genetic homogenization over the centuries. These circumstances present an fairly unique case of migration, one which should it become a standard practice, could have an effect on the culture of the Samaritan communities.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 9:43 PM

The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture. Five young women from Russia and Ukraine have moved to this hilltop village in recent years to marry local men, breathing new life into the community that has been plagued by genetic diseases caused by generations of intermarriage. Husni Cohen, a 69-year-old village elder, said the marriages are not ideal, since there is always a risk that the newcomers may decide to leave. But in a community whose population has fallen to roughly 360 people, he saw little choice.