Unlearning the Myths That Blind Us
By Linda Christensen
Dose the content of children's books and movies instruct young people to accept the world as it is portrayed in these stories and media? Are they giving our children a distorted secret education?
"True death equals a generation living by rules and attitudes they never questioned and producing more children who do the same." (p.129)
“if the race of the character is the only thing changing, injustices may still remain”. (P.132)
Both of Cinderella and Snow white these tales leave young women with two myths- Happiness means getting a man, and transformation from wretched conditions can be achieved through conforming to the pressure of consumption-in their case, through new clothes and a new hairstyle. In Peter Pan the representation of men, women, people of color, and poor people are very up front, even with a boys club and changing a girl to look like a boy to fit in. Another story that comes to mind is Little Red Riding Hood. The girl in the story in is depicted as dumb and naive, I mean how many times is she going to let the wolf in the house? No one in their right mind would let a stranger in the once but in the story she dose over and over, and who mistakes a wolf for their grandmother…C’mon!
I am uncomfortable with those messages. I don't want students to believe that change can be bought at a store, also i don't want them thinking that the goal of a woman's life is an "I do" that supposedly leads them to a "happily ever after." A man should not be the answer to a happy life or success. Also our Female students should not see their "sister’s" as competition like in Cinderella, but as part of their support team in life.
We as educators need to find new ways in challenging the servant/master relationships or the materialism that makes women appealing to their men or the men appealing to their women. Maybe by having our students dissect these texts and write about the good and the bad that may come from them as innocent as they may seem.
I have watched all these children’s movies and have read many children’s books. Having two children of my own that have done the same, It is our job as parents to convey that these stories and media are forms of entertainment not a blueprint for life by any means.