What if Female Toys Got Equal Play? A Review of Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 opens on a female-empowerment high, with Mrs. Potato-Head displaying mad train-robbing skills and Jessie skillfully steering Bullseye in the ensuing chase. From there though, the bottom drops out of the film’s female quotient.

Out of seven new toy characters, only one is female – the purple octopus whose scant dialogue is voiced by Whoopi Goldberg. This is far worse than the one female to every three males ratio documented in children’s media by The Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media.

The film revolves around now 17-year-old Andy leaving for college. His mom (who has yet to be given a name) insists (in rather nagging fashion) he store or get rid of all his “junk.” The bag of toys containing Woody et al mistakenly ends up in the trash, resulting in the toys landing in a prison-like daycare (way to turn the knife on working parent guilt, that one).

In typical Pixar fashion, male characters dominate the film. Though the film ends with young Bonnie as the happy new owner of the toys, making way for more sequels, Woody would have to become Wanda and Buzz become Betty in future films in order for the series to break Pixar’s male-only protagonist tradition (as in Wall-E, A Bug’s Life, Cars, Monster, Inc, The Incredibles, How to Train Your Dragon…).

Bo Peep is inexplicably missing in this third installment, leaving even fewer females. Barbie has a larger role this time around though, as an overly emotional, often crying girlie-girl. She is also a traitor of sorts, breaking away from the gang to go live with Ken in his dream house.

As for Ken, he is depicted as a closeted gay fashionista with a fondness for writing in sparkly purple ink with curly-Q flourishes. Played for adult in-jokes, Ken huffily insists “I am not a girl toy, I am not!” when an uber-masculine robot–type toy suggests as much during a heated poker match. In the typical way homophobia is paired with misogyny, the jokes about Ken suggest that the worst things a male can be are a female or a homosexual.

Admittedly, Barbie ultimately rejects Ken and is instrumental in Woody and Co’s escape, but her hyper-feminine presentation coupled with Ken’s not-yet-out-of-the-toy-cupboard homophobia make this yet another family movie that perpetuates damaging gender and sexuality norms.

While the girls in the audience are given the funny and adventurous Jessie, they are also taught women are coy and  talk too much (as with the flirty Mrs. Potato-Head, who, according to the new character Lotso needs her mouth taken off), that when they say something smart it’s so rare as to be funny (as when Barbie says “authority should derive from the consent of the governed”), and that even when they are smart and adventurous, what they REALLY care about is nabbing themselves a macho toy to love (as when Jessie falls for the Latino version of Buzz – a storyline, that, yes, plays on the “Latin machismo lover” stereotype).

As for non-heterosexual audience members, they learn that being gay is so funny, that the best thing to do is hide one’s sexuality by playing heterosexual, and that it’s quite normal (and humorous) when others mock homosexuality and/or non-normative masculinity.

Yes, the film is funny and clever. Yes, it was enjoyable and fresh. Yes, it contained the typical blend of witty dialogue coupled with a virtual feast for the eyes. But, no, Pixar has not left its male-hetero-centric scripts behind. Nor has it moved beyond the ‘everyone is white and middle class’ suburban view of the world. As such, it’s associations with Disney, the mega-animated-instiller of gender and other norms (as so well documented in Mickey Mouse Monopoly) indicates that animated films from Pixar will not be giving us a “whole new world” anytime soon…

What if Disney’s princess-of-color weren’t so green? (A review of The Princess and the Frog)

As I headed out to see Disney’s latest film, The Princess and the Frog, I was looking forward to see the long overdue representation of a princess-of-color. As Disney hardly has a reputation for racial inclusiveness, yet alone the breaking down of race, class, and gender norms, I didn’t expect to have my feminist socks blown off.

After 96 minutes of enjoyable animation and some good music, I would say I was pleased with parts of the film, dismayed by others. What irked me the most was that Tiana, the first ever Disney WOC protagonist, was a FROG for the majority of the film. Her turn to GREEN was especially disappointing as I was enjoying viewing a smart, sassy, capable black woman helming a Disney script.

Thanks to the evil machinations of “the shadow man,” Tiana becomes a frog – and remains in amphibian form until her marriage to Prince Naveen releases her back to human form. Though she works hard along the films journey, showing more gumption, wisdom, and bravery than the rather foppish Prince, what ultimately allows her dreams to come true is the same institution that offered happy endings for Cinderella et al – marriage.

Yet, despite Disney’s apparent inability to imagine an ending that does not involve a poofy dress and “fairy tale wedding,” it does break some important ground in this film. It shows the racialized class divide of New Orleans without stereotyping poverty, it conveys that women can be successful business owners (and witch doctors), it includes a song championing diversity and inclusiveness — it even pokes fun at the silly wish-upon-a-star princess type that is its bread-and-butter via Charlotte.

While I enjoyed the loving derision heaped on Charlotte’s character, I wondered about the way the film sexualizes her. Puckering her lips, loading on the sexy make up, and wiggling her breasts into boob-highlighting dresses, the film hints that females who inhabit their sexuality are shallow man-hunters. So, on the one hand, mocking a female who only cares about princess dresses and who dreams of nothing but wedding a prince, was a step in the right direction, presenting her as an annoying, empty-headed, cleavage exposing ninny smacked of the misogynistic tradition running through Disney history – a history that castizes any woman who is too powerful, too rich, too sexual, too anything but potential wife…

Further, the stereotypical hill-billy representation of the frog hunters and the lightning bugs rubbed me the wrong way. The two-fingered idiocy and gap-toothed naivite of these Bayou characters traded in the typical “oh, aren’t these backwoods people dumb” humor that also colored earlier films such as The Rescuers and Pete’s Dragon. So, to answer the question posed by Aviva at Fourth Wave Feminism, …, yes, this film does make me “twitch a little with stereotype-overload”!  But, to be fair, “Cartoons by their nature trade in caricatures” (as pointed out in this NYTimes piece). However, too often, the caricatures work to enforce negative stereotypes and beliefs about marginalized societal groups – women, people of color, the working class, etc, while the “good guys” are just that – guys (and usually white wealthy ones, ALWAYS hetero ones).

And being that its Disney, Tiana will no doubt join the long parade of female characters who build upon the princess franchise – inculcating little girls with the message that pretty dresses and handsome princes are what one should REALLY be wishing for – along with a room filled with Disney merchandise, of course. As Brooks Barnes of NYTimes writes, “The Disney Princess merchandising line is a $4 billion annual business and the company has plans for Tiana to be everywhere. Get ready for Tiana dresses, elaborate dolls and Halloween costumes.” (For more on Disney’s Princess Franchise, go here.)

Yet, to end on a positive note, the films focus on a strong-career minded woman who, for once, was not “the fairest of them all” was pleasing. As Rose Afriyie feministing writes, The idea that men can and should play a role in food preparation and that women can own their own business while building viable, healthy relationships was so groundbreaking for a movie with the word “princess” in the title. As Afriyie further notes, Tiana’s representation mitigates the “welfare queen” stereotype.

My ten-year-old daughter felt the film had good messages, citing the “Dig a Little Deeper Song” and Mama Odie’s character especially (as well as the way the film mocked the princess meme via Charlotte). Like her, I left the theatre with a smile on my face. However, I would have been happier had Tiana’s screen time had been less green – if she had been featured AS a human-of-color rather than a plucky frog-woman…

What if you could buy social justice? (Part 4: The Church of Disney)

As What Would Jesus Buy documents, over 15 billion a year is spent on advertising to children. This advertising is ramped into overdrive during the holiday season. Or, as Renee from Womanist Musings, puts it, “Santa is Coming, Let the Shameless Consumerism Begin.”

Renee rightly worries about “the message we are sending our children,” the message of “Show me you love me, buy me something doesn’t really feel like a celebration of anything other than capitalism.” Of course, wee ones don’t see the love-through-buying for the sinister capitalism it is (unless they are lucky enough to have parents like Renee who teach them to analyze the world around them, that is.) Yet, even with socially-conscious parents, kids would be hard pressed not to internalize the consumerist messages they are inundated with – messages that tell them all good things in the world – fun, adventure, love, camaraderie, etc come through buying things. (I know I certainly internalized these messages in my consumer worshipping family.)

Children are constantly barraged with the message “YOU MUST CONSUME! BUY! BUY! BUY!” They get it from the internet, television, movies, billboards, radio, and print media. This is exactly why cites like Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood are so necessary. Their mission statement, in part, reads:

CCFC’s mission is to reclaim childhood from corporate marketers.  A marketing-driven media culture sells children on behaviors and values driven by the need to promote profit rather than the public good.  The commercialization of childhood is the link between many of the most serious problems facing children, and society, today…When children adopt the values that dominate commercial culture-dependence on the things we buy for life satisfaction, a “me first” attitude, conformity, impulse buying, and unthinking brand loyalty-the health of democracy and sustainability of our planet are threatened.  CCFC works for the rights of children to grow up-and the freedom for parents to raise them-without being undermined by commercial interests.

And, Disney is one of the, if not THE, commercial interest shaping young children’s lives into a consumer driven existence. As documentaries such as MickeyMouse Monopoly and theorists such as Henry Giroux and Jack Zipes argue, Disney is “the most popular cultural commodity in America.”[i]

Disney, in addition to teaching children gender/sexual/class/body norms, as well as about the glories of patriarchy and empire, also teaches children to be consumers. Or, as Giroux puts it, Disney “sells not only its products but also values, images, and identities that are largely aimed at teaching young people to be consumers.” [ii] Giroux takes this claim even further, arguing that in contemporary US culture, “consumption is the only form of citizenship being offered to children.”[iii]

This claim is interesting when put in the context of one of the most well-known images/locations of the theme park itself, “Main Street, USA.” This supposedly wholesome slice of Americana, the one that park-goers first experience when they visit Disneyland, serves not only as a gateway to the rest of the park, but also supports the idea that Disney trades HEAVILY in turning citizens into consumers, and especially consumers of the Disney brand.

While Main Street is meant to replicate the “small town” feel of an America long gone, it only does so on a surface level. Although the storefronts and some window displays try to transport park-goers to days gone by, the products the stores sell are most certainly in keeping with today’s global marketplace of mass-sweat-produced products. Moreover, Main Street does not offer anything but consumption – unless you count the restrooms and the Abe Lincoln exhibit (which also housed the recent 50 years of Disney exhibit). Oh, and of course, the large row of ATMs…

Now, while I do think we offer narratives of citizenship to children other than “I shop, therefore I am,” a big part of “civilizing” children is teaching that their consumerist desires and acts translate into being a “good American.” And this message certainly doesn’t stop as these consumer-Disneyfied-citizens grow.

Moreover, it is not only the Disney corporation that “works to transform every child into a lifetime consumer of Disney products and ideas” — people like GW Bush also promote consumerism as a way to fight terrorism, to make America safe and strong, to show patriotism…[iv]

However, Disney sows the seeds of this consumerist mindset. As such, Disney, like Wal-Mart, needs to be critically (and actively) taken to task. Yet, Disney and Wal-Mart both actively subvert thinking. As Jack Zipes argues “the Disney film is geared toward nonreflective viewing. Everything is on the surface, one-dimensional, and we are to delight in one-dimensional portrayal and thinking.” As he further notes notes, Disney films encourage people to “stop thinking about change” and “to long nostalgically for neatly ordered patriarchal realms.”[v]

Wal-Mart similarly encourages “non-reflection.” The happy face symbol is perhaps the most fitting representation of the surface mentality Wal-Mart tries to promote – don’t think about your problems or the world’s problems, just smile as you stroll through the aisles of happy-face strewn Wal-Mart (which look the same no matter what town/country you are in and thus obfuscates any sense of situational/geographical contexts). In fact, the use of the happy face as a symbol equates to what Zipes argues is the modus operendi of consumerism – to convince us that consuming will make us happy. In his words, “commodification has no purpose other than to capture and play upon-in order to profit from-our desire for pleasure and happiness.”[vi] As Zipes further argues, it is crucial to remember that “These desires and whishes are not ours-even when we think they are or would like them to be-because we tend to forget what the culture industry does to our children and ourselves.”[vii]

What Would Jesus Buy offers an excoriating critique of Disney, referring to Mickey as the “antichrist” and infiltrating a Disneyland parade to spread the “stop shopping” message. The film also features Disney’s use of sweatshop labor (for a post on this topic, see here) and sweatshop labor activist extraordinaire, Charles Kernaghan. As the director of the National Labor Committee, Kernaghan has played a key role in exposing the exploitive labor practices of Disney and other corporations. The aptly named Toys of Misery as well as the NLC website reveal the very unhappy face behind the Disney magic.

Many activists and scholars (and bloggers!) are working to spread awareness about the uglier aspects of consumer capitalism. To my knowledge though, there has not been near as much focus on Disney-Mania as a quasi religion. Yet, I think the analogy is an apt one – children are raised in the Church of Disney, taught to praise the god-like icons of Mickey and the princess posse (are they the nuns?), and schooled in the necessity of making pilgrimages to Disneyland, or at least the Disney channel.

Jennifer Porter, a Canadian professor who offers a course in “Disney as Religion“, makes a similar argument:

My current view is that Disneyism, as a religion, is a reality. But it’s at an infantile stage (even though some would argue that it started with Walt’s approval of the Mickey Mouse Club back in 1928 as a way to recruit young practitioners (aka, audience members for his cartoons). There are cathedrals (the theme parks), acolytes (myself, other Disney authors and subject matter authorities), and even worship meetings (NFFC groups, MouseFest, and online discussion boards).

And, if one takes the definition of Church as “institutional religion as a political or social force,” Disney is most certainly a Church. It acts as a religion via rituals, traditions, and practices, via the “spiritual leaders” of Mickey et al (and Walt), and via the devotion, zeal, and worship it promulgates. As an institution, it has immense political and social force, shaping the ways we view ourselves and the world.

Further, in relation to labor issues and consumerism specifically, Disney is not only the master of creating lifelong consumer desires, but also is adept at hiding the realities behind its exploitive corporatist agenda, and agenda that is not new, but that has colored Disney from the outset. To illustrate, let’s take a brief look at the gendered labor divisions of Disney in the 1930’s:

“The early Disney shop, not unlike other organizations in the 1930s, strictly divided labor into that performed by men and that relegated to women…the production staff was overwhelmingly male except for the 200 women in the Painting and Inking Department.”[viii]

The women referred to here by scholar Elizabeth Bell yielded on average 250,000 paintings for each feature film (they painted over artist’s tracings on each ‘cell of film’). Yet, these women were not recognized for their work that made the films possible. As Bell puts it, “The hands of women, painting and transcribing the creative efforts of men, performed the tedious, repetitive, labor-intensive housework of the Disney enterprise.”[ix] Similarly, today, the hands of sweatshop laborers (most of which are children’s and women’s hands) are not recognized for their labor. In the “Church of Disney,” such laborers are put under erasure, as the reality of their work would tarnish the image of this “magical” corporation.

For those of us who believe that such practices are deplorable, even if we are drawn into the “magic of Disney,” it is crucial to question our worshipping practices. For my part, I have not barred my kids from Disney films, but have encouraged them to view Disney through a critical lens. And, yes, we have made our pilgrimages to the park (we live a mere 90 minutes away), but, I am always pleased by comments from my children that reveal they are not suffering from blind faith. “Why is Ariel naked but all the prince’s have clothes?” asked my daughter some years ago. “Why do they make you walk through a store every time you leave a ride?” queried my son. So, I readily admit, we are drawn to the faith, but we are trying ever so hard to resist the messages of this powerful opiate.

(Up next: Part 6: Wearing Justice: T-shirts, Bracelets, and Ribbons, Oh my!)


[i] From Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children, and the Culture Industry, Jack Zipes, New York, Routledge, 1997, page 1.

[ii] From “Mouse Power: Public Pedagogy, Cultural Studies, and the Challenge of Disney,” The Giroux Reader, Henry A. Giroux, Paradigm Publishers, Boulder, 2006, ed Christopher G Robbins, page 220.

[iii] Ibid, 222.

[iv] Ibid, 222

[v] From”Breaking the Disney Spell,” Jack Zipes, From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender, and Culture, ed. Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, Laura Sells, Indiana UP, Bloomington, 1995, 21-42, page 40.

[vi] From Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children, and the Culture Industry, Jack Zipes, New York, Routledge,  1997,page 6.

[vii] Ibid, 8

[viii] From “Somatexts at the Disney Shop: Constructing the Pentimentos of Women’s Animated Bodies,”  by Elizabeth Bell, From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender, and Culture, ed. Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, Laura Sells, Indiana UP, Bloomington, 1995, 86-103, page 107.

[ix] Ibid, 107

What if F-words (fat and feminist) were stripped of their negativity? A review of Bolt

My daughter and I went to see Bolt last night. Probably my favorite thing about the film was the representation of Penny’s mother. She was fat. But, her fatness was not focused on, it was not used to characterize her, it was not used as code for “she is dumb.” Rather, it was represented as normal, as average, as not having anything to do with what type of woman or parent she was. She was a nice character who played a very small role in the film, yet this representation of fatness as something NORMAL, as just another body type, is HUGE as it so rarely happens.

Usually fat is used to indicate a character is dumb, funny, evil, lazy, gluttonous, and/or diseased. Often the fatness of the character becomes the primary focus – they are seen as fat first, and as human second, it at all. Fat is used as a sight gag in many movies – so much so that fat bodies themselves create an expectation of humor. If you are fat and not funny, you are breaking expectations.

Many films have done “fat-face” (akin to black-face and yellow-face). Fat face is like the ‘lookist’ equivalent of the racist tradition of black/yellow-face. Yet, when actors like Gwyneth Paltrow, Edie Murphy, and Tyler Perry don fat suits for laughs, it is seen as funny – rather than discriminatory.

Thus, Bolt broke relatively un-trod ground in its depiction of fat as normal. Imagine if the majority of films and television shows gave us this “fat is normal” message; imagine how this could change the body hatred that has become widespread in the US. Imagine too how it would hurt the sales of the multi-billion dollar diet/fitness/surgical industry that seeks to make us all – fat, thin, short, tall, hairy, bald – find fault with our bodies.

This “love yourself as your are” message fit in with the grander narrative of the film – Bolt learns to like himself despite the fact he is not the super-dog he though he was. We would do well as a culture to learn this same lesson.

My second favorite thing about the film was the representation of Penny. She is brave, heroic, independent, and caring, or, as one review refers to her, she is “fully equipped with the habitual spunk of a Disney New Feminist.” Her lightening speed scooter riding skills are Bond-worthy and, for once, we have a chase scene where the female is neither sexualized nor incompetent.

While in the TV show she and Bolt star in, he is her repeated savior, in real-life, the two are equally heroic – Penny for her refusal to give up when Bolt is lost as well as for standing up to her evil studio boss, and Bolt for his refusal to give up the hope of returning home to Penny. While the end of the film involves Bolt saving Penny from a burning building (in typical male must save female narrative style), it is ultimately Penny’s mother who saves them both by realizing that the Hollywood life is not a good place for dogs or girls.

Thus, while the film does not shout it’s pro-feminist, pro-fat message loud and proud, it certainly goes a lot further than the likes of Wall-e or Kung Fu Panda in putting strong females front and center, and, in the case of Penny’s mother, stripping the fat body of its negativity. For these reasons, as well as for the wise female feline Mittens and the sly debunking of masculinized fan-culture in the character of Rhino the hamster, the film is worth a watch. And, as someone who has never managed to stay awake through a Bond movie (so repetitive, so yawningly macho, so tediously sexist), I would recommend it over Quantum of Solace any day

Published in: on December 1, 2008 at 11:37 am  Comments (10)  
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What if the satirical was more common than the stereotypical?

 

Comedy often utilizes broad generalizations and relies on an extreme, in your face approach. However, some comedy does so in order to critique and undercut problems within society, some does so in order to bolster and promote sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.  Satire falls in the former category. It aims to show society its foibles, to mock them, to subvert norms. The latter type of comedy, however, does not have the aim of changing people’s minds, let alone society, but merely is out for laughs. It is the difference between Jonathon Swift and Andrew Dice Clay, between South Park and The Howard Stern Show, between Margaret Cho* and Esther Ku

Swift railed against racism (spefically of the anti-Irish variety) and classism, South Park satirizes homophobia, religious fanaticism, racism, Cho criticizes heteronormativity, gender essentialism, body image norms. Conversely, Clay and Stern promote and encourage sexism as fun and funny, Eshther Ku perpetuates racist attitudes and indicates stereotypes are TRUE, rather than problematic.

Yet, recognizing the difference between comedy that aims to shine a light on negative aspects of society in order to encourage those laughing to do something about injustices verses comedy that shines a light merely to suggest “ha, ha, isn’t injustice funny” can be tricky…

Take as an example ‘fat humorists’ – both those that are fat and those that do ‘fat jokes.’ Some fat comedy is satirical and aims to reveal our obsessions about bellies and everything else are inane (Joy Nash’s Fat Rants and Eve Ensler The Good Body come to mind), while some encourage the audience to laugh AT fatness and fat people rather than at our stupid societal bodily norms (John Pinette).

Sadly, the type of comedy/entertainment that does not aim to change our thinking or better society is the more common. Stereotypes ooze from every type of popular culture, suggesting that all black men are criminal, all Latinas are maids, all Indians work at mini-marts, all Middle Easterners are terrorists, all fat people are dumb, all gays love fashion, all poor people are lazy, etc, etc.

While stereotypes can be used in a satirical manner in order to try and reveal to the audience that their ways of categorizing the world are not only laughable, but dangerous, most popular culture bolsters stereotypical thinking rather than subverts it. Disney comes to mind here.

As the “man in chair” character of the post-modern musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone quips, “Audiences today are too sophisticated for broad racial stereotypes… Those have been banished to Disney…you know… for the kiddies to sort out.” As this line indicates, many like to think they are ‘beyond stereotypes’ or living in a post-racist society. Yet, as Disney (and every other MSM output machine) reveals, our entertainment is overflowing with racist/sexist/classist/homophobic stereotypes. The Arab thugs who will cut off your hand for stealing an apple (Aladdin), the backwards Asians who enforce arranged marriage and are war-mongers (Mulan), the black people as apes and whites as heroes (Tarzan), the Latino as lecherous, scroungy mutt (from Lady and the Tramp to the forthcoming Beverly Hills Chihuahua), the Native American as incoherent and backwards (Peter Pan) or as loving those who commit genocide on their peoples (Pocohantas).

In other media, we see Latinas as maids only (Will and Grace, Weeds), transgendered people as serial killers (Nip Tuck), fat people as stupid, lazy, and incompetent (Wall*E), Eastern Europeans as human traffickers and mafia thugs (Crash, Dark Knight)… We don’t tend to see disabled people at all… (except in those feel good narratives that frame disability as a plight to be overcome…) And, in general, anyone deemed as “Other” in any way are rendered either invisible or, if shown, are depicted in a negative way.

Due to the pervasiveness of comedy that aims only for laughs and not for any higher form of satirical catharsis, lots of people don’t even seem to recognize satire when they see it. For example, in their papers analyzing popular culture, my students often apologize for liking South Park, The Family Guy, Borat, Dave Chappelle… (and, to be fair, there are instances where these examples border on the merely comedic rather than the satirical). What these apologies indicate is a failure to recognize the satirical intent of shows like South Park. Yet, if the satirical intent is not recognized, does the comedy truly work as satire? If the audience doesn’t ‘get it,’ is the satire then only perpetuating the very norms it critiques?

I am particularly worried about this given some recent comments from students. For example, after watching Mickey Mouse Monopoly (a great documentary that takes Disney to task for not only its corporatism, but its perpetuation of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc), one student said (in reference to the ubiquitous representation of Mexicans as little, irritating dogs), “But Chiuahau’s are a Mexican dog! I don’t see the problem.”

When discussing racial stereotypes, I get the usual, “But they are true, all Asians are bad drivers” (by the way, this was said in one of my classes by a male student who had an Asian female student sitting directly in front of him). I asked her in jest, “So, did you nearly run him over on your way to school today?” He was embarrassed, as he should have been, and turning the tables allowed this student and others to talk about how hurtful such comments/beliefs are. Just yesterday, a student again argued  racial stereotypes are true and offered the example “all Indians really are cheap.” The audacity with which people share such blatant racism scares me deeply.

What I wonder is this:  if the satirical were more common than the stereotypical, would audiences (and my students) more readily be able to tell the difference between that which is offensive for laughs and that which offends in order to prompt analysis, rethinking, change…? If there were more entertainment that leaned towards the satirical, would we, as a society, lean more towards changing our problems rather than just laughing at them?

*Margaret Cho certainly walks a fine line between the satirical and the stereotypical. Lately, some of her comedy has leaned a bit too far towards promoting existing inequalites (woman as sex object) and racist stereotypes (Korean parents as overbearing). For two recent post that discuss Cho in this vein, see here and here.

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