300: Cultural Stereotypes and War against Barbarism

Document Type : Research Paper


Associate Professor, Social Communications Department, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


During the era of Bush administration and post-September 11th anti-terrorism discourse, the movie 300 was one of the best exemplar of a close relationship between Hollywood pop culture products and the neo-conservatives’ political discourse of nationalism. From my point of view, 300 is not an example of outstanding artistic films, but a film that more than any other film contains an Iranophobic discourse, produced by Hollywood. The film is another example for ‘warfare-ization’ of public sphere and envisioning war as part of the people’s everyday life using pop culture products in U.S. after 9/11. Connecting war with collective memory, 300 brings war to the heart of everyday life. The Western or American youths should think that just like the brave and devoted Spartan soldiers in 300, they also fight for democracy, freedom, and glory. This film is full of cultural stereotypes on the Eastern and Iranian culture, in particular, their identity. For example, women are depicted as erotic objects. In contrast to the Spartan women who are free, brave, kind mothers and faithful wives, the Iranian women are represented as slavish, lustful, indecent, and homosexual. They look like the sexy dancers in nightclubs and discothèques. Using van Leeuwen’s approach in critical discourse analysis (2008), this paper is aimed at analyzing this film as a media text.


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