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Essay/Term paper: Myths in human civilization

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Religion

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Myths In Human Civilization


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.



 

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