Friday, January 23, 2009

The Confused Reader

Boy I sure love reading this book (it is very hard to convey sarcasm in a blog). The book is confusing and difficult to read. Susan Douglas needs to word her examples better. For a nearly two pages she talked about the movie Imitation of Life. I couldn’t follow her train of thought for that whole time. The movie is from the late 50’s, so I didn’t have any prior knowledge of it. Having a quick synopsis was helpful, but if it had been understandable, that would have been much better.

What I could understand, sounded like she was complaining. Ok, the first thing that you have to realize with the media is that no matter what the information is, or who is giving the information to you: The media is always trying to sell us things. Whether it is a product or an idea, they are trying to sell you it. You, as a consumer of media, are responsible for filtering out the prejudice and the inappropriate.

When she wasn’t complaining, she was advocating a change. But it’s not the kind of change that you would expect. On page 27 she says, “Since I would be nothing without a man… I’d better learn how to be cute and popular, how to stand out from the herd.” I may have not completely understood her perspective, but it sounds like she is advocating that women become gold diggers. Isn’t that something that feminists would generally avoid? And isn’t her audience… feminists?

The whole time that she was discussing Disney, I felt as if she was personally angry at the company. I know that she has a personal interest in what they did, but I don’t think that Disney did it on purpose. They looked at what was popular in the 1950’s and created a product that reflected that. Like I said; use your own filter. If you found the material the Disney was selling offensive, do something about it. Stop buying Disney products or better yet, create your own product that is to your liking. And then let the free marketplace of ideas decide which is better.

If consumers like your product, then you know that people were forced to tolerate Disney’s prejudice. But if can’t sell your product to anyone, then we know that people don’t read into cartoons, and that they teach their kids what is right and wrong on their own.

Besides the stories of Disney are full of Jung’s archetypes which are arguably ingrained in us as a society. That it is part of who we are as a worldwide culture. Many different geographic regions have a similar mythology. Jung’s argument links archetypes to heredity. He began regarding them as human instincts. These are patterns that we are born with, and they structure the human imagination. They make us distinctly human.

If it’s in our instincts, then there is almost nothing that you can do about it. People will fight a change that tells them their instincts are wrong.

On page 31 Douglas discusses how women see the flaws in their beauty. “We learned… [to] identify our many imperfections, and to learn to eliminate or disguise them, otherwise no one would every love us.” I found this comment particularly interesting. Because when I chose someone to date, I prefer that person to have flaws. One of my favorite quotes is, “Look for the flaws in beauty, and see the beauty in flaws.”

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree, without a doubt, that the media is always trying to sell us things. Unfortunately it doesn't end with just a product or an idea. The most lucrative item the try to sell is a lifestyle. Sure if you buy shampoo from Suave, they have succeeded to some degree. If you are a mom and repeatedly buy Suave because "all moms use Suave," you have fallen victim to buying into the lifestyle they promote in their advertisements. Another good example is the proactive commercials put out by apple computers.

    As for Disney, I don't believe that he was the all-mighty devil of female segregation in the 50's. He probably just recognized the current trend in media and capitalized on it. If he had made a cartoon where a prince was being help captive in a castle by his evil stepfather and was waiting for his princess to come save him, Disney wouldn't have made any money at all. That is my opinion at least.

    Well, there you go Austin. Someone commented on your novel blog.
    Savai or Die!