APS ISU – Urban Legends
What are Urban Legends?
How would one define an urban legend and what is it that differentiates it from other similar terms such as legends, myths and folklore? These terms tend to be group together, and for good reason considering they are all interrelated of each other as a means of storytelling.
A legend is established upon historic events but have a fictional component to them and possess great significance to the culture from where it was born. Examples include the legend of Robin Hood, who was an English outlaw that stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
A myth is characterised as being based upon a legend but achieves some symbolic meaning. The story is ...view middle of the document...
They are often told to be real life events and tend to have a darkness to them used to give a warning or tell a moral. Urban legends would more accurately be described as contemporary legends, since these legends tend to reflect upon the current time period and deal with real social issues.
The origins of urban legends are unknown and most are believed to have developed by rumours/ storytelling among a group of individuals. Some many have actually been sparked by a real event and been altered by personal interpretation to create the urban legends we know of today.
Urban legends tend to have a darkness to them used to give a warning or tell a moral. The study of this type of folklore is important since it is responsible for revealing the morals, beliefs and fears of the group of people or culture the story circulates within. The elements and storylines observed helps to give insight of the history and subconscious of the people.
Dr. Jan Harold Brunvand was one of the first people to study urban legends and was the one who coined the term “urban legend”. Before when they didn’t have very great significance and were referred to as mentioned, friend-of-a-friend stories or urban belief tales.
He began studying folklore and went to study urban legends further in-depth, in the 1950’s and collected research by interaction with people of all social circles, since internet hadn’t been invented yet. Though, he believes the internet plays a significant role today in spreading urban legends but he does not feel it is as appealing as the traditional means of situations like telling them around a campfire.
In the 1961, he began teaching a folklore course with the intent of showing students that folklore isn’t just all history rather they also existed in the present as urban legends. Turned out many students knew a few folklores themselves from their own social experience’s with others.
Urban Legends exist around the world and some are unique to their country of origin, but there are also overlapping variation of similarly told tales globally. Stories around the world also show stories that have similar underlying themes, and messages. This is likely due to the fact some social issues that people deal with are universal and have no national boundaries, thus there are some basic codes every sane person believes they have to abide by. Today, I will be looking at the urban legends of popular American and Japanese based, since they are the most wide-spread among those on the internet.
Urban Legend: Beauty
Urban Legend: Tanning Lotion
This draws to mind the question, what would a person be willing to sacrifice for beauty? I will now be looking at two case studies that deal with extreme cases of body modification to achieve beauty.
The obsession for beauty presents itself in many forms and others are more...