Patterns of Bias in Hollywood Movies

Synopsis

It's pretty broadly recognized that Hollywood movies contain patterns of bias, but it's not just people of color or women who are hurt by this. Many groups within America's multicultural society have complained over the years about negative and stereotypical portrayals of their own group members in motion pictures produced or released through the Hollywood-based studios. Yet, as an expert on the U.S. film industry points out, such complaints have had little impact on consistent patterns of bias in movies. This book takes a broader look at the nature of negative and stereotypical movie portrayals and tracks patterns of such one-sided depictions over a longer period time. As a result, the patterns of bias - and the source the problem - become more clear. The problem appears be that most of the people who have green-light authority in the U.S. film industry - for either the production and/or distribution of a motion picture - share a common ethnic/religious/cultural background. Thus, the stories of their cohort and those of all other ethnic, religious and/or cultural groups (whose members seldom achieve positions of power Hollywood) are being filtered through the cultural sensibilities of a single group. John Cones suggests that the solution could lie in increasing diversity at the highest levels in the U.S. film industry. This work grew out of the observed frustration of film industry critics who have pointed out examples of bias and stereotyping in specific movies over the years only to be rebuffed by the simplistic studio arguments that such films reflect the real world and that moviegoers vote with their pocket books. It can be shown that there is a consistent pattern to the choices Hollywood studio executives make with respect to the movies produced and released and the specific content of those movies, and it becomes obvious that Hollywood is selectively portraying reality. Movie goers only have limited options among all of the possibilities that could be portrayed on the silver screen. This book differs from other studies touching on bias in motion pictures. Most such books focus on the treatment of a single ethnic, religious, cultural, racial or other readily identifiable interest group, but this study attempts to provide an overview and to identify patterns over time. When the patterns of bias in motion picture content are sufficiently demonstrated and documented, it becomes easier to identify the source of the bias and to explain why such bias exists.

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