Category Archives: video essay

Stranger Things and the Danger of Nostalgia

The hit Netflix series Stranger Things is a love letter to iconic pop culture media of decades past. But there are dangers in leaning too heavily on nostalgia because media makers can sometimes end up reproducing harmful patterns along with their retro aesthetics, especially when it comes to action hero masculinity and belligerent romance conventions […]

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How The Shawshank Redemption Humanizes Prisoners

On a narrative level The Shawshank Redemption is a movie about the power of hope in the face of extraordinary hardship. But underpinning Andy Dufresne’s story we also find a blistering critique of the prison system and criminal justice policy in the United States. VIDEO LINK FOR EDUCATORS• Internet Archived video link + download RESOURCES• Just Detention […]

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Sexual Assault of Men Played for Comedy

Sexual assault of men as comedy is so ubiquitous and so normalized that you may not have even noticed it shows up everywhere. Most popular comedic actors engage in this type of humor. The jokes are typically designed to demean, humiliate, control, or emasculate a male character for being the victim, or potential victim, of […]

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How The Last Jedi Defies Expectations

The Last Jedi is a movie that’s designed to defy fan expectations. Nowhere is this subversion more evident than in the way the film handles its three male heroes. The surprising character arcs for Poe, Finn, and Luke (especially as they relate to women) are part of the reason for the intense fan anger directed […]

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Abduction as Romance

Abduction as Romance is a media trope where a man kidnaps or imprisons a woman and she eventually falls in love with him. Abduction as Romance is one of a series of popular media tropes where violence against women and abusive male behavior is presented as necessary, exciting, or romantic. VIDEO LINK FOR EDUCATORS • Internet […]

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