Park Scholars Discuss Susan Faludi's "The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America"
By: Cady Lang, '14
Ten years after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Park Scholars reflected on the significance of this day and its impact on the media through Susan Faludi’s book, “The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America.”
Scholars began the book discussion by separating into small groups and discussing their personal experiences on September 11, 2001. Scholars then participated in an open dialogue regarding Faludi’s arguments concerning an anti-feminist attitude in the media with their small groups. These discussions were facilitated by Park Scholar Program Director, Dr. Matthew Fee, Assistant Dean Bryan Roberts, Professor Arlene Flowers and Associate Dean Virginia Mansfield-Richardson.
Senior journalism major Sam McCann thinks that book discussion helped to create a dialogue for the students that was not usually discussed after the attacks.
“I’m happy we were able to read the Terror Dream, especially at the time that we did, since we discussed it at about the time of the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I think that informed the day’s discussion a great deal,” he said. “I think she presented the topic in a very interesting way, bending it through the gender issues, which isn’t something that I had given a lot of thought to before, so I think that in the rash of empty-headed attributes around 9/11, a somewhat intellectual view of it was very refreshing.”
After the small group discussions, the scholars reconvened in Park Auditorium to watch screenings of “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter” as well as CNN’s “Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11.” Following the screenings, scholars split into small groups again to discuss the films in light of the reading. At the end, they then shared their responses and thoughts with the whole program.
Moriah Smaller Petty, a sophomore television and radio major, realized that the reading was essential to her being a better media consumer and was especially relevant due to the fact that she is studying communications.
“It definitely made me see the gender discrimination in the news. It’s so easy to get caught up in these trends and I don’t want to be a part of that with the content that I create,” she said. “During the discussion, I realized that I had said policemen in discussion without even thinking about it. I really enjoyed the book discussion especially since the topic was so relevant and timely.”
While the scholars held many different opinions regarding the Faludi’s points in “The Terror Dream,” the book discussion provided an open forum for them to discuss how the news affects public perception and knowledge, enabling them to become wiser media consumers and more responsible media producers.