KU film series attacks 'sexist and misogynistic' U.S. culture

Shannon Spada
Koch Intern

Total Shares

  • The University of Kansas will host a film series this fall about how American culture “bombards young men with sexist and misogynistic messages” and reflects “anxieties about strong women”
  • The monthly documentary screenings, which also feature films about a "self-described transgender-dyke" and "colorism," are followed by a discussion period for students to explore their themes.
  • The University of Kansas will host a film series this fall about how American culture “bombards young men with sexist and misogynistic messages” and reflects “anxieties about strong women”

    According to the university’s website, the school’s Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equality will present a different documentary each month from September to December, each of which will be followed by a discussion of the film’s themes.

    "Representations of superheroines reflect society's anxieties about strong women."   

    The series begins in September with Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, which “presents an enlightening and entertaining response to the male dominated superhero genre,” according to the description.

    “In addition to revealing the ways that representations of superheroines reflect society's anxieties about strong women,” the university adds that “Wonder Women! explores the ways girls and women struggle to achieve confidence, strength, and agency in a sexist culture.”

    [RELATED: ‘Manspreading’ a sign of ‘sexist environment,’ student claims]

    October’s video features “self-described transgender-dyke, reluctant-polyamorist, sadomasochist, and recovering-Scientologist” Kate Bornstein, whose film Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger documents her activities “as she explodes binaries and deconstructs gender with her characteristic wit, style, and candor.”

    The third film in the series, The Empathy Gap: Masculinity and the Courage to Change, is billed as an examination of  “how American culture bombards young men with sexist and misogynistic messages.”

    According to the description, the film “looks at the ways these messages short-circuit men's ability to empathize with women, respect them as equals, and take feminism seriously,” and then presents an alternative by showing “how men who break with sexist and misogynistic norms live happier and healthier lives.”

    [RELATED: Schools offer ‘safe spaces’ to combat ‘toxic masculinity’]

    The last documentary, Dark Girls, explores the issue of “colorism,” which the video defines as “prejudice or discrimination based on the relative lightness or darkness of the skin.”

    While the description asserts that this is generally a phenomenon “within one’s own ethnic group,” the film will endeavor to “[situate] colorism within its larger context of white supremacy and colonialism” in an effort to “illuminate the traumatic effects of structural, interpersonal, and internalized racism and sexism on dark-skinned women in the United States and across the globe.”

    Campus Reform reached out to Program Coordinator Dr. Megan Williams, who is listed as the point of contact for information about the film screenings, but did not receive a response.

    Follow the author of this article on twitter: @spaduhhh



    Shannon Spada

    Shannon Spada

    Koch Intern
    Shannon is a Koch Intern for Campus Reform. She attended Hofstra University and graduated in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
    More By Shannon Spada

    Latest 20 Articles