Hoganson Option 5

Image result for the cuban melodrama cartoon analysis

One photograph that we talked about in class that stands out to me in correlation with Hoganson’s argument is “The Cuban Melodrama” from the magazine “Puck”[1]. As we talked about in class, the photograph represents Cuba (the woman in white), clinging to the hope of America (the savior), to protect her from Spain (The evil villain in black). At one point in the article it says “Both find that nineteenth-century Americans often viewed Cuba metaphorically, as a maiden longing to be rescued by a gallant knight.”[2], that exact same mind set is what is being portrayed in the photo with the U.S figure being that gallant knight saving the damsel in distress Cuba. From the reading, I also had the idea that Cuba being represented in the photo as a woman was not a coincidence. In the article Hoganson made sure to note the role women played in American sympathies in the Cuban revolution. She stated, “Whenever he needed encouragement, he turned to these talismans of feminine virtue. Other sympathizers suggested that, in keeping with their respect for women’s influence, Cuban men treated women honorably, that they offered due regard “for the sacred persons of women and children.””[3]. It was easy for the sympathy to lay with the side that was respectful towards women, especially when the alternative argument was how poorly Spain treated women. Hoganson addresses Spain’s treatment of women when she notes, “Sen. William V Allen (Pop., Neb.) told his colleagues that the Spanish military was “gathering up the little girls in that island and selling them into a species of slavery, the worst conceivable in the human mind, selling them to lives of shame”[4]. On one hand the Cubans were portrayed as respectful towards women, while the Spanish were demonized and portrayed as vile in their actions. Although at this time women in America were not held to the standards we see them at today, they were still viewed as important, and worthy of basic human respect. So if women were a large reason in gaining American sympathy for Cuba, it would make a lot of sense to portray Cuba as the woman in the cartoon. Why the sympathies were so obviously portrayed in this photo is another argument that can be explained by Hoganson. Americans always related back to their revolutionary ties, and felt it was their duty to support those same ambitions among other nations: “Are we, the sons of such an ancestry [the Revolutionary fathers], to become pusillanimous and contemptible in the eyes of the world by deserting the Cubans, our neighbors and friends, who have been inspired by our achievements, and who are now seeking the liberty we enjoy?”[5]. Hoganson makes multiple different arguments in her article as to why Americans were sympathetic to Cuba, many of which can be seen in this photo.

The tactics of propaganda shown in this photo can be directly linked to the tactics used today. People will always be more sympathetic to a side that is portrayed as pure and innocent, rather than one that is portrayed as evil and destructive. We see that extremely evident now in the presidential campaigns, with them trying to make people sympathetic to their own cause, and villainize the opponents. The photos shown just go to show that propaganda has always played a vital role in portraying a certain point of view, and that the same importance is had on the material today.

[1] Jay Taylor, Puck, 3 June 1896

[2] Hoganson, Kirsten L. Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998)

[3] Hoganson, Kirsten L. Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998)

[4] Hoganson, Kirsten L. Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998)

[5] Hoganson, Kirsten L. Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998)

 

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