Vol 2 No 1 (2020): Popular Culture & the Radical Imagination

Cover Art: The Ninety Percent- Meriem Mahrez

The Ninety Percent is inspired by a thorough analysis of crucial political theories of capitalism and consumerism, as well as political and social movements which these ideologies inspired. These theories question the capitalist system that various nations across the globe follow. My work intends to expose the capitalist society’s idolization of materiality, and how labels and brands are used as tools to both distract and control the minds of the masses. Through figurative representation, my work explores the way in which capitalism has successfully marginalized and distracted societies around the world through its push for consumerism. Understanding the truth of capitalism requires us to unlearn what society has drilled into us since we were children. Furthermore, this piece touches on the dysfunctional and exploitative nature of capitalism. ….Read More

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The Tangled Thread of Adoption – Brontee Forfar

The Red Thread is a popular legend within the transnational adoption community, particularly with children coming from East Asian countries into White families. This legend roots many adoption stories and ties children and parents as objects of fate. The popular conceptualization is problematic in that it erases critical historical and political contexts that led to the proliferation of adoptions in the West. The author argues that transnational adoptions are oversimplified and painted in a generalized positive light, overlooking the real and intricate feelings of adoptees, particularly during National Adoption Month. This paper weaves research and lived experiences, including the author’s, by drawing on popular hashtags and blogs to untangle the complexity of adoption as well as its role in upholding the White Saviour Complex. This exploration sheds light on the importance of adoptee voices and what is lost when they are not part of the conversation.

Keywords: transnational adoption; white saviour complex; Chinese legends; social media; healing

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Broad City and the Madonna-Whore Dichotomy – Chelsea Brake

The Madonna-whore dichotomy has largely influenced the way we view women in everyday life and even more so in media. The concept leads us to categorize and label women based on the way they preform femininity. It tells us that women are considered “good” Madonnas when they adhere to gendered norms, or they are “bad” whores when they do not. As closed minded as this is, it is largely what we still view in television and film. We view it in shows like Jane the Virgin where it is based on Jane’s virginity and the importance of saving sex until marriage. Fortunately, we also have shows like Broad City that depict funny, independent women who enjoy having sex, smoking weed, and being feminists. It is through the main characters Ilana and Abbi that we see that women can be authentically themselves and not adhere to gendered norms while still being good people.

Keywords:feminism, Madonna-Whore Dichotomy, Broad City, heteronormativity, Jane the Virgin

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Chinese Representation in popular North American Films – Jessie Hui

This paper discusses common tropes and depictions of Chinese people and Chinese culture in mainstream Western film. Drawing on examples of homogenizing (East, South East) Asian identities, appropriation of Chinese cultural symbols or practices, Yellow-face as a common practice for playing Asian characters, and both the hyper-masculinization and emasculation of Chinese men, this paper argues that while there is a slow shift in Hollywood to address these issues, the context of anti-Chinese racism is prevalent in the mainstream film industry.

Keywords: yellow-face, Chinese representation in film, typecasting, miscasting, cultural appropriation

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Silent All These Years – a Zine About Grey’s Anatomy’s Episode About Rape Culture- Julia Mallory

Content Warning: This zine deals with sexual assault, rape, rape culture, and fictionalized depictions of sexual violence. Grey’s Anatomy is a show I have watched for years, for as long as I can remember. A show I have watched 3 or 4 times now. So, you could say that I’m a Grey’s fan. I’m not sure what drew me to watch Grey’s…the simple explanation could be the drama-filled episodes and its diverse characters…But I know it has become more than just a show. First, it was my mom and I who bonded over our love of Grey’s, setting aside that one evening each week dedicated to watching the newest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Then my little sister joined along. But, most recently, a friend of mine, who I met in first-year residence, has joined in our Grey’s Anatomy tradition. It is episodes like “Silent All These Years” that make me proud to be a Grey’s Anatomy fan. 

Keywords: rape culture, sexual violence, Grey’s Anatomy, personal reflections

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Pink Ladoos Against Patriarchy- Ravina Gill

Image Credit: The Pink Ladoo Project

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