The Movie “The Dictator” and Cultural Truth Values


“The Dictator” is a 2012 comedy movie about a Dictator, General Aladeen, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, who rules a North African country called Wadiya. After his father is assassinated, the dictator takes over the rule of the country at the age of six. Gen. Aladeen’s most trusted advisor and uncle attempt to overthrow his by assassinating him while in the United Nations conference in New York. He wants to use a body double and kill the real Gen. Aladeen but fails. The United Nations pressures Gen. Aladeen to change his country systems into a democracy, but he does not intend to do so. The film satirizes the Arab countries and systems whereby women are not considered important in the male-dominated systems. Gen. Aladeen’s mother was killed after his death, and he continues the male domination and segregation of females.

This film satirizes the modern systems in the Arab world, whereby women are considered to be entirely dominated by their male counterparts. The Arab culture, values, and customs require that females should strictly follow the male authority and are not even allowed to work in professional jobs. Gen. Aladeen himself equates taking a girl to school to a monkey on a rollercoaster, whereby he says to Zoey, a well educated American woman, “Women getting an education is entertaining to men, but it means nothing to the women.” Zoey, played by Anna Faris, is the definition of a strong, educated, and independent woman who challenges the traditional gender roles, which is surprising even to Gen. Aladeen.

This film is not different from Odyssey mythology, whereby women are given inferior or evil roles. Such men in the Ancient Greek myth as Zeus and Odyssey determine how much power the women may possess (Johnson, 2016). Masculinity is depicted as the bigger and better because it possesses strengths, endurance, and authority over femininity, which is shown to be weak and frail by such characteristics as compassion and submission. Men make all the decisions, and women have to follow. A woman such as Goddess Athena has to answer to Zeus despite her great wisdom and courage. Much like Zoey in the film The Dictator, Arete, queen of Phaeacians, depicts a controlling female dominant association that challenges the traditional gender roles. Male character Telemachus also wants to indicate his power and authority to Penelope by denied her to attend the bow and arrow competition, an event dominated by men. Telemachus sends Penelope to the bedroom to show his male domination.

From ancient times, gender and sexuality have remained a major cultural-value issue within our societies. In both Odyssey and the movie, “The Dictator,” women are dominated by men in the two different cultures. In ancient Greece, the concept of power and heroism are left to men alone, while in the modern world, any gender can achieve power despite gender. However, it is worth noting that in both ancient Greece and contemporary cultures, women’s roles are undeniably important. Their influence in both mythologies, Odyssey and The Dictator cannot be overlooked because they depict such characteristics as ranging warriors, and strong, powerful and courageous goddesses if not submissive wives or wily seductress, all of which are used to influence various events. Nevertheless, in odyssey mythology, women are treated more unfairly as compared to the movie, The Dictator.





Samuel Butler’s translation, revised by Timothy Power, Gregory Nagy, Soo-Young Kim, and        Kelly McCray. CAMS 1103 Readings: Module 4, part A. Retrieved from            EWBluX2JAOZqrYSctT0WR6CXCD3n2aouWY/edit#

CAMS 1103 Readings: Module 4, part B. Retrieved from            NOx9LU/edit

Movie, (2012), The Dictator


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