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ERIC Number: EJ828481
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1521-0960
Our Dancing Daughters: "The Queen, Little Miss Sunshine," and Dysfunctional Families
Beck, Bernard
Multicultural Perspectives, v9 n4 p28-31 Oct 2007
Local cultures survive when they are successfully passed to new generations in spite of the many oppressions and seductions delivered by surrounding cultures--dominant, variant, and deviant. The groups that use those small cultural systems must be organized in a way that assures that passage, and organization of any important social activity means entrusting various crucial tasks to members who have heightened responsibilities for specific results. The division of labor by sex categories is one of the oldest and most widely used ways of assigning people to different activities. It is not a human invention, but human beings have developed an immense repertoire of strategies and tricks based on this basic division. There is a tradition that assigns a special job to women above and beyond the call of the everyday. In this version, a woman can be a hero, presenting the outward appearance of the group and exemplifying its announced virtues. The heroic virtues are not like other kinds, emphasizing courage, steadfastness, and strength of purpose. The heroic role and the virtues it embodies are highlighted, even required, by the impairments of the group as a whole and the humiliations heaped upon it. Another version of the heroic woman is the one who faces the world on behalf of her poor, bedraggled family, acting on the world when action is needed and withstanding the rejection the world never tires of offering. She is the outward face, advocate, and shield. Her leadership and her heroism lie in the buffer she provides for them against a punitive world, at whatever cost to her own welfare. This kind of gallant woman, ironically, is often the member who is scorned and dismissed by the others. But the challenge of the mission she takes on is at odds with her vulnerable position within the family. Recently, movies have reprised a common dramatic genre--the poignant and hilarious adventures of families under siege. In this article, the author explores two movies, "The Queen" and "Little Miss Sunshine," which concern troubled families under attack, championed by the female heroes of their titles.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A