Sunday, October 20, 2013

The "Secret Education"

The author argues that “Our society’s culture industry colonizes their minds and teaches them how to act, live, dream. This indoctrination hits young children especially hard. The “secret education,” as Children writer Ariel Dorfman dubs it, delivered by children’s books and movies, instructs young people to accept the world as it is portrayed in these social blue prints. And often that world depicts the domination of one sex, one race, one class, or one country over a weaker counterpart.”

I believe what the author is arguing is self-explanatory. This is my second time reading Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us by Linda Christensen. I believe Christensen is saying that the children in our society gets blind-sided by what we think are innocent for our children to view and read but little did we know there is more to it. We let our child watch a movie or show because it says it’s PG and let them read a book because it categorize is a children book.  At a young age children are starting to learn to read and write and understand the English language. A lot of movies and cartoons especially from Disney portray only certain things and a lot of children who view these things tend to “accept the world as it is portrayed.”

Going a little further an example is the movie Cinderella. I believe a lot of people know about this story where a Caucasian girl ends up living with her step-mother and step-sisters because her father got re-married and died. Both her step-sisters and mother are mean to her and she acts as their servants. She gets lucky and goes to a dance and meets prince charming but then has to leave early so she can make it home on time before she gets in trouble. She accidently loses her glass slipper and the prince picks it up hoping he will meet her again. Cinderella on the other hand hopes he will come save her from her life at home and sweep her off her feet. There are a lot of movies like this, has a similar story line and sometimes there are remakes of the movie. Many times what don’t change are the depictions of the story. Usually the race that is dominated in this story is Caucasian. U rarely see people of color in Cinderella. How do children feel when they do not see any representation of their own race? In Cinderella the class domination shows that the working class or poor are ugly. Another think about the movie Cinderella is it shows how women are portrayed where life is all about meeting the right guy and getting married. It also shows that it is all about beauty and your looks. Cinderella had to disguise her-self a little and dress up to make her-self look beautiful. The prince found her because of her slipper. I can go on and on about how children movies and books depict certain things but this blog will be like 1000 and 1000 of words.

I feel as parents should be aware of this. Yes, they can stop their children from watching these types of shows and reading these types of books, but these kinds of things happen everywhere. Also, I know many parents do not have time to sit down and watch a movie or show with their children 24 hours. I believe parents should at least take their time to talk to their children about what they view is not all it seems. When I first read this story I wrote a blog, Unlearning Myths, and I said,
“Talk about should these shows be banned from TV because it is teaching young children the wrong things. Since there so young they are learning from these shows and as they grow up their going to think that’s how life really is. This might sound stupid, but should there be an warning sign in the beginning of each show saying what is depicted here should not be taking seriously because it does not portrayed the real world.”
Questions/Comments: Did anybody else think if these shows should be banned from TV? After reading this did it make you realize something you did not realize before when you was a little child?


  1. I completely agree with you on this matter. I feel i was one of the young girls who believed these messages of Disney movies taught. For example, Cinderella living happily ever after with a prince in a fabulous castle to the end. It bugs me that i was blinded, however when we are young we are meant to see reality in a fantasy sense since we are so innocent during our childhood.

    I do not think that putting a warning sign on before the movie is bad because it will peak the child's interest as children are very curious. If i were a young child and saw a warning sign like "this does not deceit reality" i would most defiantly ask my mom or dad what it meant.

  2. Hi Christina,
    I really liked when you related Cinderella to how women are portrayed. Realizing that one of our childhood movies stereotyped women as having to be beautiful and that their only purpose is to meet the right guy and get married really stuck out with me. I was also thinking the same thing about whether parents should preview the television shows and movies that their children watch.

  3. I agree with you Christina. Parents and guardians should do more research on movies and shows for their children, instead of just going by it's rating. Or at least talk to them about the messages being portrayed, like you said.


  4. I agree, parents do only do research on if the movie is PG or if there are princesses and things like that. I agree with Cara that parents need to look more in to the messages instead of just the people in it.