Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us

Linda Christensen, author of "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us" does an impecable job at breaking down how our culture manipulates the way we as human beings should act, live and dream as we go about living our daily lives. The media whether it be though television, magazines, books, advertisements, billboards or newspapers have a target audience that they want to appeal to as well as a message that they want to convey, these messages whether it be subliminal or conscious hold a "secret education" that corporations want to instill in the minds of all people both women and men alike; particularly in teenagers. Even though the depiction of sexism, racism and classism are portrayed in many portals, especially upon the reflections of many popular children's books and movies. One aspect of the reading that intrigued me was when Christensen stated that "Many students don't want to believe that they have been manipulated by children's media or advertising. No one wants ro admit that they've been "handled" by the media. They assure me that they make their own choices and the media has no power over them -as they sir with Fubu, Nike, Timbelands or whatever the latest fashion rage might be" (Christensen p.3).

I found this reading to be forthright and relatable to both the illustrations depicted in the media and the influence or pertinence it has in the life of children. I particularly liked when Dorfman, had his students watch old cartoons and characterize the characters and the role they played on the show and/or film. It made me take an in-depth look at my favorite Disney films such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, to see what kind of messages are being represented? In retrospect, i know acknowledge that Disney classics are no stranger to stereotypes and hypocritical morals. By my own experience and some research on youtube, i have come to accept that Disney's representation of what is good and beautiful coincides with the current media depiction in that a women must be fair-skinned, thin and have a large bosom to be considered attractive. I have yet to see a character with a disability portrayed in a Disney film. What kind of message is that sending to young children about self-acceptance, inner-beauty and diversity? What's even more conventional is that in most if not all disney movies, the princess or lead role must always be saved and or end up with her male counterpart, almost as if to say that a woman is not self-sufficient or valued if she is without a man. These details are sending children and adolescents the message that they are not appreciated just as they are.

I agree with Christensen in saying that to simply turn off the t.v. and walk away isn't enough we must teach our children to analyze, question and critique the media so that they can be aware of the conscious or subliminal messages that our embedded in children's book and feature films. We must not give in to the igorance and orthodox views of popular culture which encourage and engage individuals to concur and accept the inequalities displayed in the media. We must educate others around this topic and shed light on these issues. So I ask the class, how early should we be educating our children about the conscious or subliminal message that are widely depicted in the media and how must we begin to act so that the public can gain knowledge of these perceptions and depictions and become more accepting or receptive to more diverse representations in the media?