The Treatment of Different People in American Film
There are several ways to portray a group of people and have the public believe it. Probably the most influential way to affect a person’s view on a certain group of people would be through film. Over the course of the past one hundred years, American film has subjected different groups of people to stereotyping, biased portrayals, and racism. However, these unfortunate stereotypes and the racism in film are quite covert to the public, and they tend to simply believe what they see in their favorite movies. Although there are several groups of people one can think of that have been stereotyped or attacked in some way in American film, there are a few specific groups that are prime examples of being victims to the biased portrayals in American film. These groups consist of women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and gays and lesbians. These groups have all been wrongly viewed by the nation’s public largely in part because of their portrayal in American film.
Women are one group that has been largely affected by American film. They have mainly been major victims to stereotyping. An excellent example of a film that is packed with stereotypes regarding women would be Peter Jackson’s 2005 film, King Kong. One scene in the
movie shows one of the main characters, Ann Darrow, on a ship heading towards Skull Island. She keeps speaking about the ship and doesn’t appear to know anything about ships at all. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but then a man, Bruce Baxter, comes forward speaking about how women don’t belong on ships, and that they’re nothing but trouble. This scene clearly suggests that women should stick to the house work and not explore the outside world. In addition to that scene, Ann Darrow is looking desperately for work in the beginning of the movie, and is offered the address to a strip club by a talent agent. He tells her that she “isn’t a bad looking girl”, and that she should use that to her advantage. This is obviously stating that women must use their looks, and not their talents, to move forward in society. Besides the specific examples, the whole storyline of King Kong is a giant stereotype. Ann Darrow represents the classic damsel in distress that has to be rescued by her prince charming, in this case, Jack Driscoll. This stereotype explains itself. It is basically saying that all women need a male savior of some sort, and that they’re helpless without one.
Unfortunately the negative generalizations do not end with women. While women are victims of sexism, African Americans are victims of racism in American film. They are negatively portrayed in today’s films, and in film’s that were made decades ago. There are two films that provide solid examples of racism in American film towards African Americans. One would be the not so recent, but in no way old, film Rush Hour. This film was directed by Brett Ratner, and released in 1998. In this film, detective James Carter is one of the main characters, which many would see as a plus for African Americans. However, he is a complete idiot in the film, and is a disgrace to the Los Angeles Police Department during most of the movie. He messes up the FBI’s plans several times during the film. This is suggesting that African Americans are dumb in general and that they’re nothing but trouble. In the 1942 film, Holiday Inn, directed by Mark Sandrich, the same stereotype is pushed on the public. This would be when Mamie, a black servant, is shown disciplining her children. The children are exceptionally slow and dimwitted, giving off the vibe that African Americans are dumb from their childhood. This stereotype is quite similar to the one given to women in Peter Jackson’s 2005 film, King Kong mentioned earlier. In addition to that, when Detective James Carter and Chief Inspector Lee follow a lead and walk into a bar, they see an old African American man smoking marijuana. Instead of...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document