Stereotypes in and Out: Decision-Making in Hollywood

By Wall, James M. | The Christian Century, October 15, 1997 | Go to article overview

Stereotypes in and Out: Decision-Making in Hollywood


Wall, James M., The Christian Century


Recent films about gays and lesbians have revealed a shift in attitude on the part of filmmakers, says Associated Press writer John Horn. We no longer see gays portrayed as brutal, as in Cruising, or as limp-wristed interior designers, as in Father of the Bride or Beverly Hills Cop. The new film In & Out aims to be a warmhearted comedy in which a high school English teacher, played by Kevin Klein, is "outed" on national television and then is encouraged to stay out by a gay TV reporter, played by Tom Selleck. Both men are sympathetically presented.

Horn suggests that this approach is partly "the product of a studio system in which gay men increasingly occupy prominent positions of authority--everywhere from the Walt Disney Co. to Warner Bros. to Dreamworks SKG. Fair depictions don't come until there's a power base."

The conclusion is hard to deny. Consider how Arabs are consistently portrayed in negative terms, and are brought in whenever a film needs an enemy. The closing battle in G.I. Jane, for example, involves a group of Libyans who provide Demi Moore with the opportunity to demonstrate that, having been trained as a Navy SEAL, she can kill as ruthlessly as a man. Horn attributes these pejorative images to the fact that Arab-Americans have little presence in Hollywood. The same is true of Latinos. These groups "have little if any representation at the studio decision-making level. Consequently, these minorities are largely voiceless: not only are there not that many movies about them, but also those few films might not be altogether flattering."

Jack Shaheen, an Arab-American who has studied the media's stereo-typing of his community over the past few decades, told Horn: "I don't think Americans of Arab heritage have enough clout" to bring about change. Shaheen, who teaches communication at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, points out that Arab-americans have little leverage in Hollywood. "The only leverage we have is to appeal to the human decency of those people producing these images."

Most movies and television programs portray Arabs as "either oil-rich sheiks, terrorists or buffoons," observes Shaheen. "Rarely are Arabs shown to be lawyers, doctors, mothers, dads--ordinary people whose ethnicity is irrelevant. What Hollywood is saying is it's patriotic and morally correct to project anti-Semitic images as long as those Semites are Arabs."

Attitudes toward gays, Arab-Americans and Latinos are shaped by Hollywood image-makers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Stereotypes in and Out: Decision-Making in Hollywood
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.