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Mythologized Lifestyles

In recent years, the myth of the mountain woman has been popularized by the release of books such as, Foxfire. We also create stereotypes from narratives such as, Little House on the Prairie and Oklahoma. Though these may have no relation to this group of people, the similar dress and lifestyle suggest a shared myth. The general narrative of these people is centered on a simple lifestyle and lack of technology. The text on the top right portion of the postcard, “No Cold Storage in This Town,” reinforces the narrative that this is a self-sustaining, simple community. The postcard is framed so that the wagon and the chicken coop are visible. It allows the viewer to be apart of her everyday routine. Though her dress and routine connote a general adherence to the myth, her expression leads the viewer to question that. She smiles directly at the camera, a technology that—according to the myth—these people would not be comfortable with.

“Cowboys at Dinner on the Round up in the Northwest” immediately brings up the myth of the Wild West. The stereotype of the cowboy is built around an atmosphere of progress, discovery, and the rough lifestyle associated with the West. The image of the cowboy reminds the viewer of popular media such as the Marlboro man and John Wayne. These hyper-masculine figures shape the core of the myth, making it common knowledge that cowboys are the toughest of men. This stereotype continues to live on the minds of mostly everyone in western culture. The men on the left side of the postcard, though, bring a different dimension to the way of viewing these cowboys’ real life and create a shift in the classic narrative of the cowboy lifestyle.  We see a butcher and other types of men, and their mere presence helps us understand that though cowboys may be independent loners, they still need to live within a sustainable community, however small it may be. The postcard gives a glimpse into the life of a cowboy sitting cross-legged on the grass eating dinner as a community. The general atmosphere is not as glamorous as commonly portrayed, though it does continue to reflect a level of hyper-masculinity of the same type that’s displayed in popular media.

JOHN WAYNE

 

MARLBORO MAN

Personalities
Mythologized Lifestyles