Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Prostitution in the Movies
Look at any given movie, magazine, or T.V. show and you are exposed to an influential array of overt sexuality, unhealthy dieting, and much more. Unfortunately, this combines to create a world constructed of a working Hollywood utopia and a realistic nightmare, and every woman is at risk. This blog's goal is to point out the inferential racism that is so prevalent in today's Hollywood. Since the glamour of Hollywood is so appeasing to the media, every female is suceptible to the stereotypes that come with it.
When one looks through the history of Academy Award winners, the proof of degrading female representations only increases. "A large number of actresses have also won (or been nominated for) the top acting (and supporting) awards for portraying hookers (girls of the night, party girls, whores, call girls, madams, etc.) or loose women (mistresses, promiscuous ladies, etc.)" (Dirks). The largest group of females to win an academy award was this genre. It cannot be completely condoned that women are winning awards for their roles as prostitutes and hookers. Perhaps it is only a movie and women aren't being influenced by these movies, but how can one be sure? I am sure girls all over are taking these roles more seriously than expected.
One popular motion picture that comes to mind is "Pretty Woman". Of course you might argue that this is a movie that liberates women and shows that anyone can prevail. In a sense, this is true as the leading role goes from rags to riches in mere weeks. However, once you view this movie in a deeper manner, what seems very obvious changes quickly. In the movie, "Vivian" rises up and rids herself of her prostitute career, but how did she get there? She does it by prostituting for a rich man and "falling in love with him". This movie certainly does challenge hegemonic norms by telling the story of a prevailing prostitute but at what cost? It also reinforces the stereotype that she would only have been able to do this with the help of a rich man.
What kind of message is this sending out to the world? On the surface it may seem utopic and a true heroin story, but not everyone may interpret it this way. Doesn't this movie tell young girls that the only way to succeed is through the help of a man? Or maybe it reinforces the idea that the only way to get a man's love is the flaunt their stuff? Some people may only dismiss this as "just a movie" but it is much more than that. This movie, along with many others, along with many other sources of Hollywood, reinforce these stereotypes daily.
In almost every home across the nation the television is a staple when it comes to necessities. Vulnerable children and distressed teenage girls watch movies and T.V. shows daily and sexism is prevalent in both forms. However, the dangerous part about it is the fact that it is inferential sexism. You won't see a television show where a husband demands a woman for his dinner, but you will see actress after actress win awards for their roles as housewives. The sexism out in the world is becoming more and more subtle which makes it much more difficult to stop.
Dirks, Tim. "Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences". "Best Actess". http://www.filmsite.org/bestactress.html. 1996-2007.