Guest post by Marisa Arias
The media will show idealistic and unrealistic images of what the world is like. This is very apparent even when it comes to the movies that are shown. The media isn’t as inclusive or as diverse as it truly should be, and far too often doesn’t allow an audience to see what is real. Is the lack of reality and inclusion in movies harmful to society as a whole? Ultimately, the lack of representation in movies becomes very harmful to an audience as a whole
It is no secret that in society women do not have all of the same privileges that men have. Even when looking to the film industry, men dominate the field. Ellen Tejle had written Consider Gender Inequality when examining the way the film industry continues to keep men and women on two separate scales. She looks into the way that the industry favors men over women by giving a statistic stating that between 2006 and 2009, 70 percent of speaking roles were given to men in family films. She appeals to logos in her column using this statistic. It shows the readers that inequality is real and it continues to be that way. She proves this with another statistic that claims that the amount of female directors are decreasing. In 2011, there were about 5 percent of directors that were female opposed to the 7 percent the year before. The fight for gender equality in America is very obvious, and the lack of inclusion in the film industry becomes harmful to society as a whole. The progression of gender equality is ultimately put on hold when there are stigmas against women and a lack of representation of women in the industry.
The lack of women in the film industry is high, but the lack of diversity in general is very alarming. The article Diversity as Part of the Equation, written by ReBecca Theodore-Vachon, looks to the lack of diversity in general when it comes to films. She talks about the need for a diversity rating when it comes to movies. This would show just how inclusive a film is opposed to the mainstream media, which lacks such. Theodore-Vachon states that the diversity in movies is fairly low. Her example of this was the evidence that in 2013 there had not been a major release of a movies with a black actress besides a Fox Searchlight premiere and another film that was endorsed by World Wrestling Entertainment. The lack of diversity that is shown in films appears to be relatively high. There is a lack of diversity not only when it comes to gender and race. Theodore-Vachon makes a valid point by stating, “Actors and actresses of color, the disabled, L.G.B.T. and older generations all make up the tapestry of America…” The diversity in America ought to be represented wholly, and not by just the majority.
In the entertainment industry today, there are many films that glorify violence. Like other things,the film industry doesn’t show all of the norms and the beautiful things in life. The article written by Cécile Alduy, Rate for Violence, Not Sex, looks into the idea that violence is more acceptable than sex. The movies that depict sex are usually rated R or NC-17, as opposed to movies that depict more gore, which usually end up being PG-13. Alduy looks to the idea that sex is not something to be seen in America, as opposed to the violence that all too often makes it to the big screen. The normalization of violence as opposed to sex or passionate love ties into the idea that America shows less of what is real and normal. The example Alduy uses is the film Blue is the Warmest Color. This movie depicts the love story of two young female lovers. Though there is a passionate scene between the two females, in France this is rated PG-12 whereas in America it is rated R, and the film is even prohibited in the state of Idaho. The lack of representation of what is real is very obvious when looking to the way movies are regarded and rated in America today.
In society today, there are things that are acceptable for the public to view and things that seem to be completely off-limits. All too often, the things that are more acceptable turn out to be far more harmful to everyone as a whole. Is the lack of reality and inclusion in movies harmful to society as a whole? The answer to this question is yes. Without representation in films, it becomes so much more difficult for people to become more open-minded and inclusive in general. This idea has been looked into by many other people who realize that this practice is harmful. According to Carlos Cort for Center of Media Literacy,
“…Whether intentionally or unintentionally, both the news and the entertainment media ‘teach” the public about minorities, other ethnic groups and societal groups, such as women, gays, and the elderly. Second, this mass media curriculum has a particularly powerful educational impact on people who have little or no direct contact with members of the groups being treated.”
If there is the lack of inclusion and the lack of simple reality in these films, why would someone take them seriously in any other situation? What we see in films and in the media in general is giving people a platform for what they are supposed to believe and see. It shows a very false reality, but one that people take to heart all the same in some situations. It is understandable that these are just films, but what it truly comes down to is the audience. When the film is viewed, a small part of that film is taken home with the viewer. This is especially true in very susceptible adults and children. The example that is used in Alduy’s article regards violence. She quotes her twelve year-old nephew after he had come back from an Avengers showing and she says, “…With a disappointed look on his face: ‘There were not that many deads this time.’…”. The reaction to the lack of dead people in a film ought to be alarming. Why exactly do we normalize death and violence when we can be normalizing love and passion? The normalization of love is something that should be far more inclusive in films, along with the normalization of different types of love.
As a whole, the film industry isn’t very inclusive or diverse to the public. The act of disregarding different types of people is ultimately wiping them out. It gets rid of the whole identity that a person who falls under that category has. Making someone invisible is almost as bad as demonizing them. There are many people in America who fall into many different groups, ethnicities, sexualities, religions, and genders that need to be included into the films that are produced. This lack of inclusion makes it so much more difficult for others to become more inclusive and accepting of others. In order to fix a problem, one must be aware of the problem. The erasure of people and their identities in mainstream films is almost acting like a blanket to shield the public from the problems at hand.
The lack of reality and inclusion in movies truly is harmful to society as a whole. Without actually seeing the reality of what is beautiful and lovely, we begin to forget it is there. Mainstream media far too often idealizes violence, and that practice takes the beauty of life away from the public. There is nothing more beautiful in society than the individuality of every person which makes up this country. The inclusion of all people and the support that is given through just the visibility is very important. Without this inclusion, people become erased to the public, and the beauty that they hold is made out to seem like nothing. Without the inclusion of all people and the reality of what is beautiful and worthwhile, society fails every single person that makes it up.