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Orientalism in Popular Culture

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Izzy Moody

on 6 March 2013

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Transcript of Orientalism in Popular Culture

WOMEN OF THE MIDDLE EAST Women of the Middle East are often portrayed in western media as helplessly oppressed, and silenced by their religion. For instance, when speaking about Arab women, the news media will use images of women in hajibs and niquabs that convey the stereotypical idea of the Arab's extreme religiousness. The photo above is from an article about the Afghan's intent to help support the mentioned shelters. Rather than using images depicting the essence of community and women's empowerment the government has promoted in these places, the newspaper chose to use the image above, which reinforces the misrepresentation of the oppressed Middle Eastern female. ORIENTALISM In addition to its highly offensive theme "Arabian Nights," the orientalist views of the west are also found in other aspects of the movie. For instance, the character of Aladdin is a quintessential model of the western stereotype of an Arab- a poor beggar, Aladdin is bare chested, and has a pet monkey and steals. The idea of extreme wealth, and greed is also depicted in the film, as well as the symbol of the mystical Arab beauty, as Jasmine adorns the costume of a belly dancer. And, as discussed in class, the film portrays the Middle East as dangerous and barbaric in numerous ways. The video below features the lyrics to the song mentioned previously. Examples of orientalism can be found in numerous places in western media, including films, news sources, and television, as they each promote various misrepresentations of the Middle East. WOMEN The orientalist view of Arab women often is often over sexualized, and made out to be a symbol of the so called mysticism of the Middle East. This is seen especially by European painters during the 19th century, as they depict women as objects of sensuality and wonder. The such paintings convey the concept to the viewer that the Middle East is an intriguing, exotic land. ORIENTALISM IN FILM One of the more prominent forms of orientalism in western pop culture is its strong presence in the movie industry. Since the creation of film, the Arab has forever been cast as the villain. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a perfect instance of this, as it depicts the Arabs as the dangerous enemy. Such stereotypes can be detected easily even upon viewing the trailer for the film- pay particular attention to the final 30 seconds, when Jones faces three arabs with swords, masked in turbans. EAT, PRAY, LOVE Although subtler than previous examples of orientalist views in the U.S., the film (based off of the novel) Eat, Pray, Love, illustrates the Middle East as a place of wonder. Just released in 2010, the film starring Julia Roberts is one among several that have romanticized the east, making it out to be "someplace timeless, otherworldly, incomprehensible, waiting to be discovered by Westerners in search of self," as said by NPR's Mia Mask. In Popular Culture Orientalism Works Cited Serpentina: http://worthyorientalgentleman.com/?cat=4

Aladdin: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-b6e2HQ_vtys/T6k1x7rJeLI/AAAAAAAAACc/Gmfbski9k34/s1600/11466aladdin.jpg

Orientalism and Women: http://static.thesocietypages.org/socimages/files/2011/08/17.jpg
http://static.thesocietypages.org/socimages/files/2011/08/23.jpg

Eat, Pray, Love: http://pleasebekindrewind.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/2010_eat_pray_love_046.jpg
http://www.aceshowbiz.com/images/still/eat_pray_love05.jpg

IMAGES ORIENTALISM IN FILM, CONTINUED THROUGH ORIENTALIST ART OF THE 19TH CENTURY. AS VIEWED THROUGH WESTERN MEDIA, 21ST CENTURY IN ALADDIN Izzy Moody INFORMATION Mask, Mia. "Eat, Pray, Love, Leave: Orientalism Still Big Onscreen." NPR. NPR, 18 Aug. 2010.
Web. 05 Mar. 2013.

Pennington, Rosemary. "Sociological Images." Sociological Images RSS. Muslim Voice, 24 Nov.
2008. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.

Schwartz, Adam. "Sociological Images." Sociological Images RSS. The Society Pages, 9 Aug. 2011.
Web. 05 Mar. 2013.

"Snake Charmers, Belly Dancers, and Bedouins: Orientalism vs the Real World."
Modernherstory. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.
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