Sunday, February 13, 2011

Christensen's "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us"

“Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us”  by Linda Christensen
In Christensen’s article “Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us,” she argues that our society, especially the young, are persuaded and culturally corrupted by the media’s representation of specific stereotypes.
Christensen makes a strong point that the media gives a “secret education” to our children.  This education of stereotyping and the delivery of unhealthy messages that the media is permeating into young minds starts very early and confirms the ‘myth” about people who are “different. ”  As much as we, as society, want to ignore this truth , and “stay ignorant about them and happy” we must understand that the role of women, men, people of color, and  heavy people  are blatantly being negatively  depicted  in all forms of the media.  Shockingly, even in the innocent venue of the cartoons our young kids watch.  Cartoons like Daffy Duck, who portray women as sexy, voluptuous characters to “look” at, and in Popeye in which Christiansen recalls an episode that depicts Popeye dragging Olive Oyl   through the desert by a dog collar.  She argues that this representation disrespects women and encourages racism.  Other venues include Disney movies that are notorious for portraying white America as the heroes and heroines. Her articles also discusses that young people, especially young girls, are given a distorted view of reality as a result of the media’s influence.  This leads to unhealthy messages and prejudice views and conceptions.  Two specific distorted myths: “Happiness means getting a man, and transformation from wretched condition can be achieved through consumption, in their case, through new closes and new hairstyle.”  These myths add to the unrealistic idea of happiness.
Discussion Point:  In what ways is parental influence to blame for the "Myths that Bind Us."


  1. When I read about the distorted myths of happiness, I was floored. I actually walked away from my desk did a few dishes and then went back to finish reading. If those are the only ways to be happy then I'm in trouble!

    I think one of the ways that parental influence is to blame is when parents let their children just sit mindlessly in front of the TV and watch this stuff without challenging it. I wanted a lot of cartoons growing up, and I always remember my Mom and her influence on me. She had a great job, was a star athlete, she's loud adventurous and doesn't take anything from anyone! To this day she won't let anyone control what she does. All these characteristics that the images in the cartoons I was watching said couldn't be found in a female. I also find it slightly ironic that one of my few memories of my biological father is of him doing Donald Duck impressions around the house.

  2. I have to agree with Dante on your discussion point, parents do not have to stop letting their children watch TV but they have to get involved and teach their children how to be literate in media. There are simple activities any parent can do with kids as young as 3 which will help them begin to read the "secret education" in media. But first, parents must be provided with this knowledge and it is our responsibility as media literate individuals to provide them with the tools necessary to do so.

  3. I think that parents should just monitor what their children watch and even if it isn't inapropriate for their age, have them realize that a lot of what is portrayed are traditional stereotypes; as Dante talked about. I think that is a really good point because sometimes you can just think that its bad for your elementary schooler to watch MTV or a movie with sex and swears etc. (not appropriate for their age group). I think parents should be less nieve and realize that even the things that aren't inappropriate can still send messages that will have an effect on their kids.

  4. I agree with Dante , Kayla & Lauren. Monitoring your children is the best thing to do. A lot of people blame what they show on TV and the internet but the problem starts off with the parents showing them and not monitoring there kids. Kids are the most curious people! I enjoyed your reflection/piece to this reading, kind of made me understand it better. ! Thank you-