"Unlearning the Myths That Blind Us" by Linda Christensen, was eye-opening to say the least. The article centers around children's cartoons and Disney Movies and the stereotypes that they create for their young viewers. Christensen describes how she had her students read and react to Dorfman's book, The Empire's Old Clothes: What the Lone Ranger, Babar, and Other Innocent Heroes Do to Our Minds. Dorfman's harsh taste of reality forced her students to have to accept that the "innocent and cute" movies that they grew up with had been teaching them corrupt morals and depraved messages. As the students dove deeper into these cartoons, the stereotypes became more blatantly obvious. Women, men, people of color, and poor people in each cartoon were continually portrayed in a cliche and stereotypical fashion. Women were steadily portrayed as unrealistically beautiful with a slim waist and a flawless face who's only ambition in life was to pick up a man. People of color and poor people were consistently depicted to be "buffoons" usually being shown to be illiterate, inferior, and sometimes even savage. While men were limited to only being either handsome and powerful or old and the target of everyone's jokes.These stereotypes create underlying messages to children, leading them to believe that these are the roles that these groups of people must play in society. Also, Christensen describes the issue that most of the Disney characters are white, especially the Princesses. This is found to be very frustrating to her students of color who felt as a child that they could not relate to the Disney Princesses because there was no black princess. She gives them an article to read called "Cindy Ella", about an African American girl who is given a new wardrobe so that she can become more appealing and find herself a man. Although the story finally portrayed a woman of color, it still created the same stereotypes that a woman's only ambitions in life should be to find a husband.
The article reminded me of a video I have watched by a popular You Tube personality, Jenna Marbles. The (somewhat inappropriate) video titled, "What Disney Movies Taught Me", pokes fun at the Disney movies and the negative messages they teach kids. The video mostly centers mostly around the sexist stereotypes the Disney Princess create that a woman's only goal in life should be to find a man to marry, as well as the false-body images they produce to their young female audience. The video also jokes about the stereotypes of the characters that do not fit society's view of "pretty" and how they are continually illustrated to be mean or evil. For example, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, Cinderella's step mom, and the witch from Snow White. Even though the video is meant to be comical, it does relate to Christensen's argument and expose the flaws in these movies and the negative morals and stereotypes they form.
Christensen asks us to challenge the stereotypes that cartoons create and to make a change. It is important for us to stop being ignorant not only to what these movies teach us but also the same stereotypes that are practiced in magazines, on TV, and on billboards all around us. Sexism and racism is everywhere and these cartoons only add to it. As a nation, as hard as it is, we must open our eyes to the values these movies are creating for us from a young age. We must make a stand against them and demand for a change so generations to come are not raised with these mixed messages and corrupt stereotypes.