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The research question is: How does Disney stereotype gender for girls?You MUST have a specific thesis, very specific.For the format please see the sample I upload below and there are two resources you will need to quote in your research paper. Remember I need full quotations and analysis.PLEASE don’t make it too broad. I need it to be very specific.The key words should be Disney animations and gender stereotypes for girls. Only girls.


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Paper 2
Traumic Relief: Comics and Their Role in Sharing Trauma
“I feel so inadequate trying
to reconstruct a reality that
was worse than my darkest
-Art Spiegelman
Although the autobiography and memoir genres are traditionally associated with
prose, some of the most compelling life narratives are written in a comic or graphic novel
format. Despite connotations of novelty and commercialism, comics are well suited to
covering dark and heavy topics. Communication of trauma, in particular, is enhanced by
the multimodal nature of the medium. I will draw from multiple theoretical frameworks
to show that elements of comics allow for a more authentic representation of trauma than
can be achieved through language alone. Graphic memoirs that will be discussed are the
life narratives Maus by Art Spiegelman, Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco, Persepolis by
Marjane Satrapi, and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, which all cover various forms of
traumas such as genocide, personal loss, and war. I will refer to the creators of comics as
artist-authors, a term which acknowledges the visual and spatial elements of the works in
addition to their textual component.
In this paper, I first argue that prose alone is insufficient when it comes to
authentically communicating trauma. To prove this, I use psychoanalysis to demonstrate
that specific characteristics of traumatic memory make it difficult to communicate
through language. Then, I apply comics studies and trauma theory to argue that comics
have the ability to authentically depict trauma and communicate it to others. To do this, I
delineate ways in which comics emulate how traumatic memories are experienced in real
life, and how the multimodal nature of comics expresses what would otherwise be
incommunicable through words. After that, I argue that the temporal dissonance present
in comics allow for a more nuanced representation of trauma by creating space for
subjectivity and reflection. Finally, I argue that the visual elements of comics posture the
reader as both a witness to and a participant in the trauma, instilling a greater sense of
empathy and a deeper understanding of what is being communicated. The multimodality
of comics creates a nuanced representation of traumatic memory that prose alone cannot
achieve, resulting in a more authentic account of trauma.
The Insufficiencies of Prose
It is difficult to convey traumatic memories to those who have not experienced
them firsthand through language alone. The nature of trauma is such that it is beyond
representation through conventional frameworks of understanding. Kali Tal says “An
individual is traumatized by a life-threatening event that displaces his or her preconceived
notions about the world. Trauma is enacted in a liminal state, outside the bounds of
‘normal’ human experience” (15). The status of trauma as abnormal and obscure raises
the question of how one can even begin to signify that which is ordinarily unfathomable
or beyond comprehension. Leigh Gilmore notes this paradox, saying “Language is
asserted as that which can realize trauma even as it is theorized as that which fails in the
face of trauma” (7). It is ironic that even though trauma escapes words, the burden of
disseminating it to others disproportionately falls on prose.
Traumatic memories also possess characteristics which distinguish them from
other types of memory. Some of these characteristics include belatedness, dissociation,
and sensation. Traumatic memories tend to be fully experienced after the event occurs. In
Trauma: Explorations in Memory, Cathy Caruth draws from Freudian psychoanalysis to
suggest that a traumatic memory differs “in the structure of its experience or reception:
the event is not assimilated or experienced fully at the time, but only belatedly, in its
repeated possession of the one who experiences it” (4). Because traumatic memories are
relived subsequent to the actual occurrence of the event, they can only be made sense of
when the individual decides, or more likely is compelled, to revisit them. Traumatic
memories also take on a fragmented form, which is referred to as dissociation.
Dissociation is defined as “a compartmentalization of experience: elements of the
experience are not integrated into a unitary whole, but are stored in memory as isolated
fragments consisting of sensory perceptions or affective states” (Appelbaum, Uyehara,
Elin, 1997). Instead of a continuous and uninterrupted recollection of events, memories
of traumatic events are fragmented and episodic in nature, a phenomenon likely also
related to the belatedness of experience mentioned earlier. In addition, because the
memories have not yet been fully integrated and are associated only through perceptions
and emotions, the articulation of a coherent and chronological account of the memories
may not be feasible. Judith Herman says “Traumatic memories lack verbal narrative and
context; rather, they are encoded in the form of vivid sensations and images” (38). The
absence of a defined chronological narrative coupled with the shaky connections between
individual fragments may make it difficult for one to make sense of their memories or to
communicate their trauma to others.
Comics and Traumatic Memory
The ability of comics to emulate the way traumatic memories are experienced and
coped with means that they are especially suited to authentically portraying traumatic
memories in life narratives. Trauma theory, which explores the relationships between
trauma, memory, and testimony, recognizes the complications of the communication of
trauma. Anne Whitehead says “Novelists have frequently found that the impact of trauma
can only adequately be represented by mimicking its forms and symptoms, so that
temporality and chronology collapse, and narratives are characterized by repetition and
indirection” (3). She further characterizes narratives as possessing “intertextuality,
repetition and a dispersed or fragmented narrative voice” (64) when attempting to portray
trauma. The comic medium, with its interaction of both visual and textual elements,
better communicates what may be hard to say with words alone because its rhetorical,
visual, and structural elements mimic the characteristics of trauma. In Understanding
Comics, Scott McCloud says that “Comics panels fracture both time and space, offering a
jagged, staccato rhythm of unconnected moments” (67), which satisfies the guidelines of
fragmentation and dispersion established by Whitehead. However, he goes further by
saying that “closure allows us to connect these moments and mentally construct a
continuous unified reality” (67). The gutter, which is the empty space separating the
images from each other, creates a disconnect between the events depicted in each image,
but closure allows readers to fill in the narrative gaps to understand the trauma that the
artist-author is portraying. Comics accommodate the fragmented nature of traumatic
memories while still allowing for a seamless interpretation of the narration.
Representing the Unrepresentable
The arrangement and
manipulation of text and image
can also be used by the artistauthor to speak to some higher
emotional truth. Words “can
lack the immediate emotional
charge of pictures, relying
instead on a gradual cumulative
Fun Home by Allison Bechdel (217)
effect” (135), says McCloud. The act of reading requires time and setup from readers,
sacrificing the impact and shock from what they read. However, images create instant
impact and the reader is immediately confronted with the trauma. In this panel taken from
Maus, the differing emotions experienced by the narrator over his mother Anja’s suicide
are depicted graphically through the arrangement of imagery and text. Bold calligraphy,
oriented to draw the reader’s gaze towards the
varied imagery within the panel, summarize how
he has internalized his mother’s suicide. An image
of Anja lying in her own blood with the cause of
death “menopausal depression” is placed above a
pile of bodies – imagery synonymous of the
Holocaust – with the claim that “Hitler did it”,
showing that the narrator blames the traumatic
events in the death camps for causing his mother’s
suicide. The words “mommy” and “bitch” are then
Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds
transposed over two differing images – one a tender scene of mother and child reading in
bed and one the act of suicide, complete with a tattooed wrist. The two words, one
endearing and one less so, represent both love and resentment. The images and text
physically surround the narrator, pushing him into the corner. The prison garb donned by
the narrator signify his victimization by the Holocaust despite never having gone through
it himself. This panel represents the complexity surrounding the trauma of his mother’s
death through the spatial arrangement of visual and textual elements. There is less of a
focus on retelling one’s life through exactness of details, rather communicating the
essence of the story is prioritized. Impact and emotion is also preserved.
The Sociological Quarterly
ISSN: 0038-0253 (Print) 1533-8525 (Online) Journal homepage:
The Disadvantage of A Good Reputation: Disney as
a Target for Social Problems Claims
Joel Best & Kathleen S. Lowney
To cite this article: Joel Best & Kathleen S. Lowney (2009) The Disadvantage of A Good
Reputation: Disney as a Target for Social Problems Claims, The Sociological Quarterly, 50:3,
431-449, DOI: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.2009.01147.x
To link to this article:
Published online: 01 Dec 2016.
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The Sociological Quarterly ISSN 0038-0253
REPUTATION: Disney as a Target for Social
Problems Claims
Joel Best*
University of Delaware
Kathleen S. Lowney
Valdosta State University
Social scientists generally presume that a good reputation has advantages. Yet the Walt Disney
Corporation, a firm that has long benefited from a reputation for producing wholesome popular
culture, attracts more than its share of efforts to link it to various social problems. In particular,
conservative moralists argue that Disney in fact produces morally questionable products, progressive critics claim that Disney’s messages help preserve social inequities, and social scientists
criticize Disney for fostering inauthentic and alienating entertainment. These claims are a form of
blowback—negative reactions to the firm’s positive reputation. While blowback makes it easier to
construct social problems claims, a good reputation remains a significant resource in deflecting
these criticisms.
Sociologists often note the costs of bad reputations. For example, individuals labeled as
deviant experience enduring stigma (Goffman 1963), negative stereotypes are assigned to
members of racial and ethnic groups (Gaertner and McLaughlin 1983), historical figures
with “difficult reputations” are condemned to the roles of villains or fools in collective
memory (Fine 2001), and so on. In general, bad reputations increase one’s vulnerability
to having opportunities blocked, to being subjected to tighter social control, to having
one’s future actions framed in terms of the reputation, or to other disadvantages.
Conversely, good reputations usually are thought to convey advantages; their holders
receive the benefit of the doubt. Thus, psychologists speak of a “halo effect” shaping
expectations (Thorndike 1920; Nisbett and Wilson 1977), and Merton (1968) argued
that the “Matthew effect” made it easier for esteemed scientists to receive credit for
additional work. Good reputations, codified in high grade point averages, impressive
résumés, good credit ratings, and other track records of accomplishment, open doors for
individuals that remain closed to those of more questionable repute. Similarly, organizations conduct public-relations campaigns to establish good reputations in hopes of
warding off critics. In general, a good reputation is a resource that can be drawn upon
to improve one’s prospects, just as a bad reputation hinders advancement.
Reputations—good and bad—can be used to construct social problems (Spector
and Kitsuse 1977; Loseke 2003). Claimsmakers compete in a social problems market*Direct all correspondence to Joel Best, Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, University of
Delaware, Newark, DE 19716-2580; e-mail: [email protected]
The Sociological Quarterly 50 (2009) 431–449 © 2009 Midwest Sociological Society
The Disadvantage of a Good Reputation
Joel Best and Kathleen S. Lowney
place, each seeking to arouse concern about particular issues from the press, the public,
and policymakers (Hilgartner and Bosk 1988). In order to attract attention from these
audiences, claimsmakers assemble claims that feature a variety of rhetorical elements—
statistics, expert opinions, appeals to values, and so on—and, depending on the audiences’ reactions, may revise and rework claims to make them more persuasive. This
article considers some ways reputations can be incorporated in such claims.
At first glance, it might seem that social problems claimsmaking is particularly likely
to target those of bad reputations, and this is often the case. Social problems claims
frequently highlight typifying examples that illustrate the problem at its worst; describing particularly troubling incidents serves to direct attention to a problem’s most disturbing dimensions so as to make it seem especially serious (Best 1990). These examples
establish a problem’s bad reputation by becoming rhetorical touchstones over the course
of a claimsmaking campaign; references to well-known atrocity tales remind audiences
that a problem is serious and demands attention. Moreover, once some condition has
been constructed as a social problem, that problem’s bad reputation can become the
basis for further claims that expand that problem’s domain or construct other, analogous problems (Best 1990, 1999). Thus, the construction of physical child abuse as a
serious problem served as a foundation for claims not just about emotional abuse, sexual
abuse, and other forms of child abuse but also about elder abuse, wife abuse, and other
problems that could be categorized as types of “abuse.”
Similarly, social movement activists often target those with bad reputations as a
means of attracting attention to their cause. Thus, the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference (SCLC) received many requests for Martin Luther King, Jr. to mount civil
rights campaigns in different cities; the SCLC tried to pick locations such as Birmingham, where the white authorities had bad reputations and could be counted on to resist
the demonstrations and produce newsworthy confrontations that would mobilize
further support for the civil rights movement (Branch 1988). Drawing attention to the
worst offenders helps frame the problem addressed by a movement in dramatic terms by
giving a face and a reprehensible moral character to the opposition. Thus, within a given
movement, particular organizations may become notorious for, say, unfair labor practices or irresponsible environmental policies; they emerge as familiar examples of whatever the movement opposes.
In short, there is a general presumption that bad reputations increase one’s vulnerability to critiques by activists and other claimsmakers, while good reputations can help
protect individuals and organizations from such criticism. However, there are scandalous exceptions, instances where individuals or organizations with good reputations
stand revealed as involved in problematic behavior. Thus, Nichols (1997) examines how
the Bank of Boston—a firm with a good reputation—became the typifying example for
claims about money laundering. Although it was neither the first bank charged with
money laundering nor the bank with the greatest number of questionable transactions,
attention focused on the Bank of Boston precisely because it was newsworthy to hear
that it was implicated in dubious practices. However, such scandals require particular
conditions: An individual or organization with a good reputation is discovered to have
The Sociological Quarterly 50 (2009) 431–449 © 2009 Midwest Sociological Society
Joel Best and Kathleen S. Lowney
The Disadvantage of a Good Reputation
directly violated standards of propriety implicit in that reputation (e.g., a member of the
clergy is exposed as involved in sexual deviance; an accounting firm allows clients to
submit questionable financial statements).
This article examines another way good reputations can be used to construct social
problems.1 It argues that a good reputation can also make an organization or institution
generally vulnerable to becoming the target of social problem claims. This is a form of
blowback. Blowback refers to unanticipated, negative consequences of social action
(Johnson 2004). While achieving a good reputation might be expected to produce
benefits such as discouraging criticism, linking those with good reputations to social
problems can be a useful rhetorical move in social problems claimsmaking.2 Demonstrating that even those of good reputation are implicated in some social problem is a
way of suggesting that the problem is surprisingly widespread and serious. We illustrate
this point with a case study. We argue that the Walt Disney Corporation’s close associations with what are widely considered positive moral values serve to make it an attractive
target for a broad range of social problems claimsmakers.
By the end of the 20th century, the Disney Corporation had emerged as one of a
handful of giant media conglomerates. In addition to owning Walt Disney Pictures, the
Disney theme parks in California, Florida, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and various
other enterprises that bear the Disney name, Disney controlled the ABC television
network, ESPN, and other cable channels, movie production under the Touchstone,
Hollywood, and Miramax names, and other subsidiaries. The other four largest media
conglomerates are the News Corporation (Fox television network; numerous cable
channels including FX and Fox News; 20th Century Fox and other movie production
companies; extensive newspaper, magazine, and book publishing; etc.), Time Warner
Company (HBO, CNN, and numerous other cable channels; extensive book and magazine publishing, including Time; Warner Brothers and other movie and television production firms; AOL; etc.), Sony (Sony, Columbia, and other movie production firms;
extensive electronic products; music production; etc.), and Viacom (CBS television
network, MTV, and numerous other cable channels, Paramount Pictures, etc.) (Columbia Journalism Review 2007). Probably few members of the general public have much
sense of which conglomerates control which firms. Nor do Disney’s rivals have clear
moral reputations; they are, for the most part, mysterious, faceless entities that are not
understood to stand for anything, so there is little reason for the public to be shocked by
their actions. In contrast, the name Disney has become closely linked in the public mind
with decent, family-oriented entertainment. This positive reputation, in turn, makes
Disney an attractive target for all sorts of social critiques in a way that its rivals are not.3
Our analysis is inevitably selective. Disney has been attracting the attention of both
popular and scholarly commentators, as well as fans and critics, for some 75 years. There
is no practical way to identify the univ …
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