A blog about sociology, written by students in Doha, Qatar.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Cheap Short Film Causes Chaos
A few days ago, a short film was released on the Internet and as a result my twitter homepage has been flooded with tweets about it. There are many active twitter users in the Arab world, so it is not a surprise that the video spread as fast as it did. The Arab youth are becoming increasingly aware about the events happening in the Middle East. The various forms of media help facilitate their ability to receive and send out their opinion.
Following the release of this YouTube video, there were furious protests occurring at the US embassy in Egypt and Libya. The youth subculture makes up more than half of the entire Arab population (Pre-publication ARAB ENTERTAINMENT SATTELLITE TELEVISION, page 14). Most of them have a voice and are not afraid to use it. Journalists are reporting on the issue in Australia, England and other parts of the world.
In this short film, the filmmakers are mocking Islam and the Prophet, Mohammed sala allah 3alyhi wa salam, and the Islamic culture. Middle-easterners are stereotyped as having dark skin, as the actors in the film are heavily sprayed with fake tans and make-up. They bring up controversial topics related to Muslims and Christians, portraying Muslims as being beastly and ignorant. The also address sacred Muslim sayings in a mocking sarcastic tone.
From a sociological perspective, extreme ethnocentric thoughts are used to portray Arabs in this film. They mock the cultures and beliefs of Muslims because they are different than their own and they fail to understand them. They use material culture, such as the jalabiya/bisht and the dishadasha that is worn by the Muslim men in the film. Additionally, most of the men in the film have a long beard, which is often seen as a symbol of Islam.
Videos put on YouTube can be seen by everyone in the world. When a film like this is put up on the Internet, people might watch it and get an incorrect image of Muslims and their values and norms. This stereotypical image of Islam could be a result of socially constructed films, articles, and various types of media that socialize people into thinking in a specific way.