Media Literacy … Disney … now Barbie?

Based on the last post on how Disney has affected our society, there was a few questions on how I would educate the youngin’s on media literacy if I had the chance.

 

Question:

How would you educate all those little girls who want to be Disney princesses? Would you teach media literacy in junior high or high school? Would you try to change how Disney and the media portray females?

My Opinion:

As a young girl, I honestly would not understand any media literacy, or ethics my parents or anyone in society would teach me. I would probably let my child/student/neighbor/etc. roam free with her imagination and just be young.

As for when I would teach media literacy, I would teach it in high school most definitely. Why wouldn’t I teach this particularly valuable subject to the little junior high schoolers? Probably because they would not take the subject seriously and would probably not retain any of the information. As for the high schoolers, they’re older, have an idea of who they are, what they want to be, plus maturity does play a factor. I believe they would take to the subject much better than the younger crowd. Unfortunately, what with the typical low high school budget, I wouldn’t be surprised to NOT see any media literacy class being taught anywhere. (Just like all those “unnecessary” music classes being cut … )

As for the last question, “Would you try to change how Disney and the media portray females?” I would make the audience aware of how the media do affect our society, and Disney would be an obvious example. I would not necessarily try to change how Disney themselves intentionally portrays females … but I would point how the similarity to how real-life situations match coincidently to the Disney stories we have all come to watch and love. Though I would point out how the media as a whole (TV, movies, comics, books etc) does portray females, I would point out the many different categories women play on TV (I haven’t mentioned the different ethnics either yet … ) and how many young females in our real-time world all wish they can be like those fictional characters they see on TV.

Example:

'80s Barbie

There is an article I read and some show I saw on TV that featured a 40-year-old woman who always looked up to Barbie as her role model … and finally became one. She underwent 31 operations in 14 years to become a living Barbie doll … Read the CBS article titled, “Becoming Barbie: Living Dolls, Real Life Couples Becomes Models of Plastic Perfection.”

After reading that article, ironically back in 1997, Mattel chose to redesign Barbie to better reflect our society. According to Mattel, she underwent the ultimate plastic surgery. Complete with slimmer hips, wider waist and yes … smaller bust.Read the BCC News article titled, “Barbie undergoes plastic surgery.”

Le Reflection … the why.

I’m fascinated about how the media affects society. From music to TV, the news just anything. Our society is so tuned to the tube, we forget what reality means. That’s what my blog will be about, a reflection of society…our society.

One form of media that has affected our society … Disney

Disney? You ask. How? Why? And isn’t he dead? Well … yes, but that doesn’t mean anything to us right now.

Interesting enough, I took a class a few semesters back at Arizona State University, and one course I took for the hell of it was “Love, Sex, and Romance in the Media,” taught by Dr. Mary-Lou Galician. It was one of the best courses I’ve taken thus far. (Though the course title in itself is an eyebrow raiser … people questioned me…)

The course itself was about breaking down all the typical love myths we all know and love.

Example: The love of a good and faithful true woman can change a man from a “beast” into a “prince.”

Now how does that relate to Disney? Well doesn’t that love myth sound like Beauty and the Beast?

Courtesy from www.mouseandmore.comTry to associate this couple to the term rescue fantasy. Dr. Galacian wrote a book (with the same title as the class) and found out that movies such as Beauty and the Beast illustrate just what a lot of couples go through in our society when it comes to romance. The whole damsels-in-distress being rescued by knights-in-shining-armor. I bet that you (the reader) probably know someone or a couple in this situation where the man or woman feels the need to rescue the other. Another real world example, the man is always mentally or/and emotionally abusive to others or to the woman, but she stays because she believes she can change him. Honestly … it seems odd why anyone would do such a thing, but it is one of the most common reason or at least a reasons that is subconscious. (Although, most would deny this.)

One of many love myths brought on by the media … in this case … Disney. Course Beauty and the Beast is NOT the only movie that causes concern for your future children’s love life … no no, keep in mind Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty (who just sleeps the WHOLE time … ) etc.

This is just a snippet of what I thought was interesting. There are many little girls in our society who dream everyday to be like one of the Disney “princesses.” I would at least educate them and say, “Don’t believe everything you see on TV.”

Dr. Galician also developed a “Love Quiz” on her website Realistic Romance, which I think is very interesting and entertaining. The quiz will ask you (the reader) the 12 different love myths and if you think they are true or false … it would then determine how much you really read into this media biz.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.