An analysis of contemporary myths through the review of different articles.
Throughout the history of human civilization, myths have been an integral part of human society. Myths have no cultural boundaries as they can be found in all cultural societies. The word myth can be referred to the classical Greek and Roman mythology or a contemporary myth. Regardless of the type of myth, they are stories used to give meaning to a phenomenon or symbolic manner to the natural cycles that surround humankind. Myths are used to explain and understand our existence in our world whether it is something that we can tangibly see or not. The saga of a myth is past down from one generation to the next. For the purpose of this assignment, I will be analyzing three articles that deal with a myth. With each of these articles, I will attempt to explain how the author uses the term within the context of the article. Finally, I will be concluding the analysis of the articles with reference to class notes on what we have learned to date. The first article is “Phyllis Burke: Exploding Myths of Male and Female.” which is a book review. The author of the book, Phyllis Burke, writes of Gender Identity Disorder or GIS that effects both male and female children. A child labeled with GIS occurs when the child is not confirming to appropriate gender behaviour. For example, if a boy wants to play with dolls and dress up as the opposite sex. Burke reveals that at a young age all children in the gender socialization process are encouraged to play with gender appropriate toys and roles. If the child does not conform to these roles laid out by our gender conscious society, they are forbidden and discouraged to continue with their behaviour. Burke continues to write that GIS children may find themselves in play therapy or even in psychiatric hospitals. In analyzing the way in which myth is used in this article, it is found in the way our society has created gender roles for children, teenagers and even adults. There is no biological evidence that girls can not play rough with other girls and boys. It is the gender appropriate behaviour that has stereotyped our thinking that this activity is not appropriate. Most would rather see girls playing with dolls and boys being the ones who play rough. Burke analyzed GIS cases from the 1930s through to the early 1990s and found no biological evidence to support GIS. The behaviour that is deemed inappropriate is suppressed not by the child themselves but by others around them. In relation to this myth as being scientific or journalistic, I would have to say it is a bit of both. Through the media, gender roles are reinforced. For example, this can be found in television commercials of toys, where boys are depicted playing with trucks while girls are shown playing with dolls. In a recent article from the Toronto Star entitled “You gotta feel sad for banker bashed by ‘myth’.” by Joey Slinger, centers around the Bank of Montreal chairperson, Matthew Barrett. The subject of the article inspires the title of Slinger’s article. Barrett claims that the public is bashing his as a result of ‘stereotypes, myths and sheer misinformation’. This comment from Barrett was a result of public outcry of the banks making high profit and the chairpersons of the banks holding down a substantial salary. The article reports that the Bank of Montreal profit for 1996 was $1.17 billion while Barrett made $3.9 million. This is clearly an example of a journalistic myth. There is a sense of truth that Barrett wants to reveal and rid of the falseness from his point of view. The third article from The Humanist entitled “The Myth of the Middle Class” is a clear example of a journalistic myth. The article written by Lynn H. Ehrle looks at the disappearance of the American middle class. The author suggests with changes in the average household income there is a greater disparity between poor and rich households. Thus, summarizing the middle class is being divided with most going to the lower or poorer income groups. Ehrle throughout the article backs up in support of the title with statistics and charts and in doing so points the finger at the corporate world as the one seeing the middle class disappear. Changes in the corporate economy such as corporate downsizing, outsourcing, inflation and unemployment just to name a few. The word myth is used here is the sense that society wants to think that they are in the average or ‘norm’ group that being the middle class. However, with the changes in corporate economy mentioned, the middle class is a growing disparity. Myths are used in all aspects of our society and culture. Examples of myths can be found in science, sports, medicine, business and religion. The general view or opinion is that myth is something that is false or not true. The journalistic myth exposes the falsehood of myths. The living myth is a product of our culture is to dismiss myth. Today, humans are more reflective, philosophical and analytical of events placed before them. We are humans started out as mythical thinkers, moving to a mystic, asking questions approach. Then finally moving to an analytical way of thinking. Today, it is harder to believe in myths as we are focused on numbers, facts and statistics. Stories were told by the word using imaginative pictures, then transgressed to words, arguments and intensive language and finally a reliance on numbers and statistics. Regardless of the type of myth, we the reader should draw attention to the context in which it is written. Question what is being written, who is benefiting from the information and the power of the myth.