Week 5: Unexpected Consequences

February 21, 2018

Week 5 Theme: Unexpected Consequences of Propaganda

What are some unexpected consequences of propaganda? 

AGENDA We held our live Zoom synchronous class on Wednesday, February 21 at 4 p.m. 

  1. What are you learning? Reviewing your completed work
  2. Features of a close analysis of propaganda: View and discuss Hwages by Majed Alesa
    • Who is the author and what is the purpose?
    • What techniques are used to attract and hold attention?
    • What lifestyles, values and points of view are presented?
    • How might different people interpret this message?
    • What context and additional information is needed to evaluate this message?
  3. For discussion: What might be some positive and negative consequences of propaganda in entertainment?
  4. Review class participation, LEAP 2 assignment, reading and homework activities.

PLEASE COMPLETE Week 6 (Public Interest Propaganda) class assignments listed on the Pathwright website before Wednesday February 28 at 4 p.m.

CLASS PARTICIPATION. If you missed the “live” synchronous class on Feb 21 at 4 pm, you must watch the class in the video below. After viewing the music video, Hwages by Majed Alesa, learn more about the context of life for young women in Saudi Arabia by  reading 1 – 2 credible information sources and use that information to evaluate this message in relation to its potential positive and/or negative consequences. Put your answer in the “Leave a Reply” section below on this page.

Screenshot 2018-02-22 10.03.19

7 Comments

  1. I rated this piece of propaganda as beneficial. It shows Muslim women in a positive light and as the caption says a “Non-stereotypical” way. The video grabs your attention with the cheerful tone of the song and also with the activities the Muslim women are doing; playing basketball, riding skateboards/rollerblading, dancing, being at a festival and more. I believe that the author’s main purpose was to spotlight gender equality by targeting fans of Saudi pop-culture. Also, I thought that the point that was discussed in the class video regarding the bright colors being worn to make a “We’re here”-type statement was very intriguing and possibly why that aspect was included in the video. I read an article on The Cut website** giving insight into a weekly routine of a Saudi woman. The weekdays were strictly studying/working while the weekends would allow time to party, however with most things being are not allowed because of the strict laws so most of it is underground. In the video we see the women go to areas such as a carnival and nightclub. Also in the article, another Saudi woman talks about how she never goes out because her father won’t let her, and he makes all of the decisions for her, and she talks about how her family decides her fate, studies, clothes, etc. and she says that without the internet she would have committed suicide, which could possibly be because she is able to see different perspectives on equality and relate to stories about others in the same position. I think that these real-life stories from young women living in Saudi Arabia relate to this piece of propaganda as being a beneficial piece because it reflects exactly what the women in the article are thinking, and sometimes still do despite the strict laws, but want to do it more freely.

    ** https://www.thecut.com/2017/09/young-women-living-in-saudi-arabia-interviews.html

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  2. I would rate the music video as a beneficial piece of propaganda because it is promoting kind of a feminist agenda and shows that women are able to do things that they were traditionally not supposed to do in Saudi Arabia (like driving, playing sports, etc.). I thought it was really interesting how it incorporated both traditional and contemporary elements, by remaking an older song from Saudi culture. This was significant because it is showing a more modernized viewpoint, and is inspiring women to be more empowered. I thought that Olivia made a really interesting point about how the Saudi government was not mentioned in the video at all, but Trump was. I interpreted this to be because the message of the music video is to promote a more feminist viewpoint, and Trump has been criticized for both his lack of respect for women as well as being discriminatory to Muslims. I also agree with the discussion point that while we may view this as a beneficial piece of propaganda, it could have negative consequences due to the fact that it is highly controversial in Saudi Arabia. While they have made some progress in terms of equality for women, a lot of people may not agree with portraying them in the music video as running around playing sports and partaking in activities that are not traditionally sanctioned within their culture. I think that this is a great example as to how propaganda can be interpreted in different ways depending on the culture that the viewer was raised in.

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  3. When I first watched this music video in the live chat, I was a little bit confused because I was just focussing on the actual video rather than the deeper meaning. After watching it a second time and really thinking about what they were trying to express I realized that the video tells a story. I definitely think that this was a beneficial form of propaganda. Others like myself, may watch the video a first time and just see it as entertainment. I thought that they used a lot of colors and had a very upbeat and appealing video. The positive consequences of using this form of propaganda are that this is a way to spread a message with some light. Even though the topic that they were touching on is a bit dark, this was a way to make the change seem good and to create happiness. When watching the other students discuss in the live chat, I noticed that everyone seemed to notice that the men were all dressed conservatively and in dark or neutral colors. I think this was a strong way to put across its message. The women were all over the top in their bright colors and sneakers and dancing in the video. Some negative consequences of using propaganda in this way are that this topic is very controversial. Another reason is that it is a music video that can be interpreted differently by many. The way that they make a statement in the video is on the feminist side and can definitely be criticized because of that. The video goes strictly against the culture of Saudi Arabia as well as making small attacks on American Culture by putting Donald Trump in the video instead of Saudi Government. Although the piece may be controversial and criticized by some, I think that it was still a very beneficial and enjoyable piece of propaganda.

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  4. I would rate this piece of propaganda as beneficial. I think the statements made may be encouraging to women and help them take their power back. The political commentary can be understood without knowing the meaning of the lyrics thanks to the visuals used. I think that they used images of Trump who has been critical of Saudi Arabian culture and laws because he himself has been just as oppressive to women. I also think that with the recent allowance of women to drive in Saudi Arabia they may be making a comment that Saudi Arabia is progressing while with the election of Trump America may be regressing. Another important thing to be noted is that this is a reworking of a traditional folk song. By transforming the old they show that the current culture can also change, but still maintain some of the past without it necessarily being a bad thing. It is also more of a commentary on traditional values and how changing them will help women and progress their society. I think the use of fashion to show the mix of the old and new on women in the video is similar to the use of the music. I think if all were to look at this with an open mind they could see the benefits of this type of propaganda.

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  5. Analyzing Majedelsa-Hwages music video, I can definitely depict it as a beneficial piece of propaganda. It was refreshing to see Muslim women in such a beautiful light. This music video showcases women empowerment with presenting traditional Muslim women wearing hijabs dancing, skateboarding, and driving. Which isn’t normalized in that country because of their strict cultured laws. This represents women specifically in Muslim that they are just like everyone else. The video made me smile because it was such a positive detail especially when Trump analyzes Muslim in such a negative way. It creates a shock value due to people not knowing Saudi Arabia’s culture in a modernized way. This leads to the next point where Trump was shown in parts of the music video. Their was one specific scene whee a picture of Trump was shown in the backseat while a Muslim man was holding a rope in the passenger seat. It showcases a strong sense of an attack toward the president because of his disrespectful views on women and the culture of Muslims. One of the lyrics in the video states, “May all men be erased as they’ve given us mental illness” and “May men go extinct.” I interpret the video and the lyrics to target white privileged specially towards white straight men and how some may feel that they are the faces of discrimination and ignorance. The video suggests a emotion of freedom, acceptance, and awareness in a way of presenting women empowerment. I wanted to add that the end of the video fascinated me because the rhythm of the song changes. “In the second half of the video, the song’s rhythm changes and the dialect that the women are singing in changes from the Al-Qassim region to a Saudi Bedouin dialect. They sing several phrases from an old Bedouin song.” The artist combined modern music with traditional music to create a beautiful piece of propaganda.

    http://www.godsjukebox.com/paull/majedalesa-hwages/

    http://observers.france24.com/en/20170102-god-rid-us-men-feminist-song-shocking-saudi-arabia

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  6. As I was watching this music video for Hwages, I did not quite understand the message the first time until it got to the scene where they show a cut out of Trump making an angry face. Then, I understood that this video must have a message pertaining to Trump and Women. After watching again, and doing some research on this video and topic, the message became clearer. I noticed the video came out in Dec. 2016, during the election period, which leads me to believe this is a video trying to tell women what it will be like if Trump wins the Presidency – since it came out before he became POTUS. This video shows woman doing activities that is usually not the norm in Saudi Arabia, such as: playing basketball, rollerblading, and riding bikes. There is even a scene where the woman are bowling with faces of men taped to the bowling pins. Finally, it gets to the scene where Trump (a face cut out of him) is behind a political podium, which states “House of Men” on it. The woman continue to do rebellious activities and the video ends with the Trump cut out is in the back seat of a car. I interpret this video as woman using their voices despite men’s attempt to control them; which is where Trump comes in.This video starts by criticizing men’s treatment of women to honing in on Trump’s treatment of women. I see this video as a form of activism propaganda. The director of the video is a male, and he places woman at the center of the video, mocking men’s treatment of women. I think this is to say, “We stand for gender equality and need change.” According to my research, “Women’s roles in society are strictly defined, limited and with little room for misconduct.” (Altorki) Woman in Saudi Arabia are already limited and I believe this video is sending a message to the U.S. perhaps saying, “this is what it will be like if you elect Donald Trump for President.” My research tells me that “The percentage of women working outside the home, according to the 1999 census, is five per cent and these women are in the teaching and health sectors (Shukri, 1999, p.28).” Furthermore, “As a result, Saudi women continually encounter limitations and restrictions at both educational and professional levels. Few women are recently9 gaining access to pursue professions other than teaching and medicine. Additionally, only recently has women’s segregation been discussed publicly.” (Hamden) I almost feel that this video is saying, “look at what it’s like here, do you want this to be you?” Not only is this video sending a message to the Saudi Arabian society for needed change it is sending a message to the U.S. about concern for woman’s rights.

    Sources:

    Beck, Lois. “: Women in Saudi Arabia: Ideology and Behavior among the Elite . Soraya Altorki.” American Anthropologist, vol. 89, no. 1, 1987, pp. 162–163., doi:10.1525/aa.1987.89.1.02a00230.

    Hamdan, Amani. “The Role of Authentic Islam: The Way Forward for Women in Saudi Arabia.”Hawwa, vol. 10, no. 3, 2012, pp. 200–220., doi:10.1163/15692086-12341237.

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  7. After viewing “Hwages” by Majed Alesa, I would rate this form of propaganda as beneficial. I do not think that this video was spreading deceitful or false information. The creator of this video seemed to be trying to make a statement about they way women are treated in his culture. From the research I’ve done online, restrictions on women’s rights lessened slightly, but women are still under strict rules and regulations in their culture. I believe that this video was meant to empower women and protest some of the restrictions. The video showed women driving and playing sports. In Saudi Arabia, bans on women driving and playing sports have recently been lifted. I think there are many people in Saudi Arabia that object this decision. The women in the videos were trying to take a stand against those who are against women having more rights. The women in the video were also dressed in very vibrant colors. I believe this was to make the women in the video stand out more. In Saudi Arabian culture women are supposed to dress conservative and be very submissive. This video portrayed the women as more outgoing and confident. I believe this was a message to other Saudi Arabian women that it is okay to stand out. Finally, I think Trump was shown in this video because he has said a lot of negative things about Saudi Arabian culture. He has often criticized Saudi Arabia for making there women dress so modestly. I think this video was to prove to Trump that women in Saudi Arabia have more rights than he may think.

    Sources used:
    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-women-still-cant-do-these-things/articleshow/60865869.cms
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/women-saudi-arabia-make-gains-overall-rights-remain-issue-n838296

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