Traditionally, movies show us images of little girls with bedrooms decorated in pink with stuffed animals and fancy little trinkets and flouncy details and boys’ rooms are decorated in darker or primary colors with sports themes and decorated in sports memorabilia. Watch Monsters. Inc. and see how animators depict the bedrooms of the children the monsters visit. This movie was targeted towards families and children and perpetuates the stereotypes we have about gender roles. According to Holtzman and Sharpe (2014 p. 63), these superficial representations are not hardwired in our brains but instead are taught to us as part of our culture.
Almost all romantic relationships between the leading stars are a male/female relationship. Gay couples are beginning to be introduced but are usually cast in secondary roles if present at all. Movies that feature a gay couple as the lead are generally drama that are making a statement such as Philadelphia which addresses AIDS. Brokeback Mountain was meant to be a love story and was met with huge controversy when it was released. Holtzman and Sharpe (2014) describe the changes in terminology used to describe sexual orientation throughout history. The term “gay” at one time was not a label a homosexual man would embrace, but today it has become and accepted and celebrated word by the gay community. Despite the limited success of movies with gay leading characters, it is becoming more common than it was twenty years ago.
In their article, Ahn, Himberg and Yung (2014) discuss the increase in movies that are being produced and marketed directly to the GLBT audience. These endeavors are proving to be popular especially in film festivals that celebrate independent films. Hollywood is slowly following as demand for gay characters increases.
Question 1: Many movies depict strong women in action roles, such as the Lara Croft series. Do you think these types of characters are positive for women?
Question 2: What films have been accepted in mainstream audiences that positively represent GLBT population? What films depicts this population in a negative or cartoonish manner?
Ahn, P., Himberg, J. & Yung, D. (2014). Cinema Journal, 53(2). Retrieved from:
Holtzman, L. & Sharpe, L. (2014). Media messages: What film, television and popular music
teach us about race, class, gender and sexual orientation. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe.