Film Sterotypes Essay

The term stereotype is defined as generalizations about a group of people whereby we attribute a defined set of characteristics to this group, which can be interpreted as positive or negative classifications. The Hollywood industry has turned the use of stereotypes in film and television into a financial “cash cow”. The formula of taking the actions or personality of an individual or a small group of people and allowing them to represent the actions or personality of an entire ethnicity, nationality or gender is continuously used in all genres of film.

Comedies are one particular genre of film where stereotypes are commonly used, or in some cases abused, to elicit laughter from the intended audience. How does the use of comedies influence film and society? The following will review the use of stereotypes on film and its impact on society.
In order to address the aforementioned question, we begin by first examining the role of stereotyping in Hollywood film comedy. The primary goal of a Hollywood produced film is to make money.

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Analysts examine profit margins and ticket sales in determining whether a particular film will receive the “green light” to proceed to production. The Motion Picture Association of America released its annual Theatrical Market Statistics Report for 2010 in February, which documented global box office receipts in 2010 totaling $31.8 billion (www.mpaa.org ). The success of a film that utilizes stereotypes, whether gender or ethnicity based, guarantees the continued use of those stereotypes in future productions. Producers typically examine plots, characters and themes of previously successful films and use them in future productions in an attempt to replicate that same type of success. A trend that surfaced in the 1990’s was the introduction of several Gay male characters in mainstream films, but in limited terms. Storylines introduced the character as the best friend of a heterosexual female lead. An example of this would be the Julia.

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