The French established their own as well along the Mississippi River. Many settlers were dissenting Christian groups who came seeking religious freedom.
When pondering this question, most kids have given at least passing consideration to one fantastical if improbable calling: There is an understandable allure to the superhero position — wearing a special uniform possibly with powerful accessoriessaving the world from evil, and let's not forget possessing a wickedly cool special power like x-ray vision or the ability to fly.
|History of American comics - Wikipedia||What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?|
But new research by Hillary Pennell and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz at the University of Missouri suggests that, at least for women, the influence of superheroes is not always positive. Although women play a variety of roles in the superhero genre, including helpless maiden and powerful heroine, the female characters all tend to be hypersexualized, from their perfect, voluptuous figures to their sexy, revealing attire.
Exposure to this, they show, can impact beliefs about gender roles, body esteem, and self-objectification. Consider, for example, superhero movies like Spider-man or Superman. These action-packed films typically feature a strong, capable, intelligent man fighting a villainous force.
The goal of course is to save humanity, but more often than not there is also an immediate need to rescue a damsel in distress. The female victim is typically delicate, naive, and defenseless, but at the same time sexy and beautiful.
What she lacks in strength and cunning she makes up for in kindness and curves. It is not surprising or insignificant that she is often the object of the hero's affections. The X-Men films, for example, feature a number of empowering female characters like Storm, Jean Gray, and Dazzler, each of whom wields a unique special ability and displays impressive cognitive and physical competence.
Perhaps exposure to this new generation of female heroines will result in more egalitarian gender beliefs, higher body esteem, and greater prioritization of physical competence over appearance. Their skin-tight outfits accentuate their sexuality with plunging necklines and bare skin, and many of their names e.
To explore the effects of watching sexualized female victims and heroines, Pennell and Behm-Morawitz asked female college students to watch a minute video montage of scenes that either featured female victims from the Spider-man series or female heroines from the X-Men series.
After watching one of these video montages, participants completed a survey that assessed gender role beliefs, body image, and self-objectification. A number of other measures e.
Gender role beliefs were assessed via the Attitudes toward Women Scalewhich evaluated participants' views about men's and women's responsibilities at home and in the workplace, appropriate attire and appearance in public, rationality and problem solving skills, and physical strength.
Body image was measured using the Body Esteem Scalewhich requires individuals to rate personal satisfaction with general appearance and specific body parts e.
Finally, the Self-Objectification Questionnaire required participants to indicate the importance of their body image and body competence to their personal identity.
Relative to participants in the control condition, those who viewed the sexualized-victim female character did indeed report less egalitarian gender beliefs. It seems that watching the beauty-in-need-of-rescue reinforced traditional gender roles, but did not create the desire to appear more like her physically.
What happened when women instead watched the agile and proficient superheroines? Did these characters serve to empower women? The superheroine montage did nothing to improve egalitarian views about gender roles, though at least it did not lower those views.
Pennell and Behm-Morawitz argue that the sexualization of the superheroine characters serves to reinforce rather than challenge stereotypical gender role beliefs, and this effect may overshadow any benefit derived from observing a strong, intelligent, capable female character. Watch out, as these superheroines pack a bigger punch: Relative to control participants, women who watched the X-Men montage reported lower body esteem.
They also ranked the importance of physical competence more highly.
Pennell and Behm-Morawitz suggest that women may admire the power and status of superheroines and consequently desire to emulate them. Because these sexualized superheroines have unattainable body dimensions and engage in unrealistic physical feats e.
Thus, while the roles for women in superhero movies have evolved from the helpless, easy mark to the commanding, mighty protector, the central appeal of these characters as sexual goddesses is the same.
These new findings add to a growing literature demonstrating that the gender-related information conveyed in popular media can affect personal perceptions and cultural standards about gender. One recent study even found that regular viewers of a reality television show featuring pregnant teens had more favorable attitudes about teen pregnancy and believed that the benefits of teen pregnancy outweigh the risks.
Clearly the things we watch, even if fantastical or sensationalized, affect our beliefs. Superhero movies and other forms of entertainment, which are often viewed as a temporary escape from reality, may in fact be shaping our realities in ways that are more harmful than heroic.
And have you read a recent peer-reviewed paper that you would like to write about? Please send suggestions to Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook. Gareth, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, is the series editor of Best American Infographics and can be reached at garethideas AT gmail.The American essay “The Oversoul” by Ralph Waldo takes the reader into the world of the Indian holiness, which passed through a person’s all life (Jones 56).
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for only $/page. The TIME Magazine Archive presents editor's picks of the best covers and articles. William Cronon, editor, is America’s leading environmental historian. A winner of the MacArthur Fellowship, he is the author of Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England () and Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (), and currently serves as Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Three aspects of significance include the history of comic books, the use of comics for social commentary, and the cultural impact comics have had on our daily lives.
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