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LoLo
I was talking to Witless about this the other day and I thought it might make an interesting topic for discussion. Do you think that Hollywood skews the way people view things or do you think that people are actually capable of distinguishing the difference between the fantasy world projected to them on a big screen and reality?

One example of this would be the use of overweight women in movies. It's a rare thing to see an overweight woman play the leading role in a movie, especially a romance, and when they do have the main character be an overweight woman it's usually some actress who put on weight for the role and actually looks healthy for once. Examples of this would be Bridget Jones's Diary or Circle of Friends, where the actress cast is oooed and awwwed over for being so devoted to a role to actually put on weight for it, yet they really don't look overweight. Things like that make me wonder if this is helping skew the view of the ideal female figure.

Another example on that same point is that most of the time overweight women seem to be around for the comedic relief. They are either there to make fun and be silly because obviously that's all that fat people do, or to be made fun of for being lazy and what not.

This of course doesn't just apply to overweight women, that's just more of my set of examples and more of what I can relate to so I used those examples. This could apply to more like the violence projected or many other things that are now escaping my mind for some reason. So with that said, what do you think?
bryden42
I'd have to say that the answer is depends, Depends on the person viewing the film. I remember a friend waxing lyrical about the holy grail, his entire argument was based on the cup as it was portrayed in the film indiana jones and the last crusade, now whilst, I dare say, they did their research, this shouldn't be considered the definative source for all grail lore. Now the guy in question is a very intelligent guy, I guess we all slip.

As humans we all form images in our minds about certain things, take the book "the hobbit" , I don't think it has ever been made into a film, yet i have deffinate images in my head of the lonely mountain and smaug and other items in that book. Another person reading that book may have vastly differing images in their head of the same characters and places. Holywood has the power to present an image that negates our need to think of an image for ourselves. we accept the presented image as defacto as does everyone else and in this way it becomes the defacto image. How many of you can remember your image of legolas without thinking of orlando bloom anymore?

So yes, hollywood does skew our ideas, and it takes a very imaginative and strong willed person to resist this. Those people do exist, but for the sheep like masses hollywoods ideas generally suffice.
Mata
For an industry and a culture that is so open to legal action, it's really quite astonishing that they get away with everything that they do. Weight is one example, but skin colour is another. It's not all the time, but it seems that black actors are often included for comic relief, such as the pilot character in The Matrix Reloaded, or most of the 1980s output by Whoopi Goldberg.

As with everthing, there are exceptions, for example Goldberg has also done some films that give her the chance to do something other than gurn and shout, but this does seem to be the default Hollywood view of how all African-Americans act. Stereotypes mean that writers can get on with telling their story without having to reinvent the wheel at the start of every film, but they can also be a sign of lazy writing. I do wonder whether the black-actor's parts in US films are deliberate shorthand or pure laziness.

The question though is whether this is damaging: it's not life or death, but it's unlikely to be aiding wholistic views of the world. Large areas of the US (and the UK, for that matter) have very few non-caucasian families living in them, and these films encourage a view of ethnicity that is barely any better than a Victorian interest in the exotic Other: 'Look at the funny black people! Aren't they so whacky and unlike us civilised white people!' I know it's not meant to come across that way, and sometimes it's simply part of the genre where the white characters are equally stereotyped and shallow, but it can't be helping race relations.
Astarael
Hollywood does warp people's persepctives, whether intentionally or not, partly because the writers make up stories according to formula. Several movies with the "wacky black sidekick" character type likely did well, so other writers picked up on it and it's now an accepted tool in the box of characters that will sell tickets. We also have things like (as LoLo said) the "funny/lazy fat woman," the "beer-swilling redneck (complete with accent)," the "beautiful and mostly brainless girlfriend," the "sinister-looking Asian villain," and so forth. When one or two successful movies contain something like that more or less because the cast selectors simply chose someone of a certain group because of the plot or because of their talents, the rest of the industry tries to absorb and copy as many useful film elements as they can. This means that they pull people (and write the script) to try to fill the success mold, and character types become shorthand for different things. Over time, that creates and reinforces stereotypes and expectations in the movies. It probably is damaging, but Hollywood writers are going to stick to form until the tired old characters stop selling tickets.
Cath Sparrow
This is probably shifting away from the topic to a degree but it's something that's been rattling round my head for a while. I think most media skews peoples view and I also think there isn't a way for it not to. Due to the shear amount of information and imgaes being thrown at us. We build what we know on information built on things we read or watch fact or fiction and use this to form our opinions but everyone put a slant on there views so when that's passed on, the person who is taking on that information is also taking in that opinion to some degree or other not to agree or disagree but because thats how the information was given out. But due to our need for information it's not possible for it not to be skewed. We can make our own opinion on that information but it will still be effected by the scourse. (Not sure if this make sence to anyone else but me)
Witless
This is more of a question rather than a comment on what was said above... But has anyone noticed that once you leave hollywood, the frequency of racial, sexual, and asthetic stereotypes isn't so common?

I mean it's for sure true that super models are the same across the world with the odd exception like the Dove campaign (where they weren't large girls like people said but closer to normal). But outside of hollywood style films and glitz.. you start escaping the stereotypes more and more.

I have always found that very very odd. The states has a greater diversity of people types than pretty much everywhere in the world. They have a greater amount of diverse cultural influences on them than anywhere else. But yet with all that.. they still have this hollywood film industry with stereotypes promoted to a level that seems utterly at odds with the actual make up of the place. I could understand racial stereotypes in Japan for example. But from Hollywood it's all a little odd.

But yeah to echo a few things said here already, everyone will stereotype people to a degree, but where I think Hollywood is odd, is that they make films to echo what people already think. Where as a lot of the lower budget film makers in the rest of the world tend to make films based a lot more upon their personal life experience. Maybe that causes the greater diversity in the types of people they portray in their films, as opposed to the rather stereotypical sorts you get in the big budget hollywood flicks, with your ditzy over weight best friend of the main character, the angry black man, and the clueless about life internet nerd.
That_Guy
Stereotypes appear everywhere in the media -sometimes more often in television than in movies. For example, networks like Comedy Central are constantly manufacturing race-based shows. After the success of Dave Chapelle's show which sometimes focused on racial tension, much more racially-prominent shows came out, such as D.L. Highley's horrible attempt at a show and the still-running "Mind of Mencia". These shows force viewers to view others by their race, the results being anything but positive. Not to single out single out comedy central, it's just the easist example.
Mata
I suspect that the reason for Hollywood's approach to film-making being more stereotypical can be summarised simply: it's the conlfict between business and art.

This is a problem that continually resurfaces in modern culture. You might be the best chef in the world, but business isn't only defined by the quality of the product, instead it is changed by the way that the product is presented and supplied: any branch of McDonald's will make more money than pretty much any boutique restaurant despite the simple fact that they are serving up junk.

The same model applies to Hollywood. As recent years have shown, even though people know that the films are junk, made up of recycled characters, just with this-season's dressing, and they still go and see them (although in lesser numbers - maybe the model is finally beginning to wane).

It says a lot that the Pirates of the Caribbean films appear as enjoyable as they do. I suspect that they're really not very good, only that their worth appears distorted when compared to the typical big-budget Hollywood film.

Pirates... 2 gives a good example of the way the Hollywood system operates: they introduce a voodoo priestess character. She is afro-caribbean, naturally, but she is also beautiful. Her accent is Jamaican, but there is a fair suggestion that it's the Jamaican of a person trying to sound Jamaican. She apparently has massive respect and a huge following, but she appears to be in her late twenties. She is surrounded by occult items, but (to my memory of the film) only actually 'performs' an occult act once (casting bones, and then she doesn't interpret them, the film cuts away before she can be seen to actually be producing results from 'black magic'). Her character is full of contradictions: on one side you have the need of the narrative to have an occult character who is capable of giving exposition about Davy Jones and other hidden knowledge, on the other you have the Hollywood system that insists that women in films should be young, sexy, and not acting in a manner that too openly contradicts the Christian ethics of dominant Western culture. The result is a mismatch of impulses that is fed by the needs of the plot on one side and the stereotype of what Hollywood believes the public wants to see on the other.

The trouble is, it's a model of production that mostly works. The Fantastic 4 is, by all reckonings, a dreadful film, but after fair cinema results, DVD sales, and merchandise deals you can bet that the studio made a decent profit on it.

It's not just in Hollywood that demonstrates that business can trump art: look on the fine art section of eBay. The best selling paintings are mass-produced, semi-abstract sunsets. Remember when you were first learning to use paints and you did big sunsets? That's pretty much what these things are. The trick is, the artist has approached his work not as fine art but as interior design, meaning he is producing pictures that satisfy a market. Hell, I may do the same thing myself when I get enough space! The best-selling 'art' is the painterly equivalent of a McDonalds; it gives people the impression that they are getting something real, but actually they are being served a simulation of reality (in this case a simulation of fine art).

Stereotypes allow mass production, but through correct marketing they also generate a desire in the population for more of those stereotypes.
Faerieryn
Hollywood has always made me laugh in that it is not only able to make films that sterotype people and events but also films that lampoon these same things. Example:

All of the blaxploitation films of the seventies. These concentrated on black lead males who went around smacking people and saving the day in a "black" way. They were full of things like single parent families, cheating husbands, women who were incapable of doing anything except screeching and a white policeman trying to keep the black man down. When we began to see female characters taking a lead "Coffey (sp?)" for example they were always sterotypical women who fought for reasons that were acceptable for a woman to fight for. Recently I have seen a couple of extremely funny lampoons of these films. First "I'm gonna git you sucka" Extremely funny take off of characters like Shaft. With a lead who got his medals shuffling paper in Vietnam who has a walking band following him playing his theme tune it really does make you laugh at the sterotypes. HOWEVER it still keeps to them. The second is a mor recent film called "Undercover Brother" Again the story creates over the top sterotypes of black men fighting "Whitey" to save the king of Soul- James Brown and with a character called "White She Devil" who turns undercover brother into a nerdy Michael Bolton listening shadow of his former self. Both of these films allow us to laugh at sterotypes because we know they are so ridiculous and it is worth noting that both are written and directed by black writers and direcors (at least one is the Wayans brothers I think)

Example 2:

All of the teen movies we have ever seen have the same set group of kids. The cute girl, the bith, the funny fat guy, the popular kids etc etc. This is one of the few areas of stereotyping in movies that isn't comented on that much. It seems acceptable that all teenagers are the same. "Not another teen Movie" Rips the Shite out of these films by actually labelling the kids as they enter! Again allowing us to laugh at the sterotypes but this time in a more self aware way it brings to the forefront exactly how unrealistic these potrayals are.

Example 3:

When I first read this thread I automatically started thinking about how Hollywood portrays historical happenings. If you believe what you see the second world war was fought by Americans with British side kicks called Chip! After the hype that surrounded U-571 there was a real furror around the treatment of historical topics. The result? "Churchill- The Hollywood years" a film about the real Winston Churchill- an American GI with family in the "Irish Cockney" part of London who single handedly saves England from domination by Hitler, stops his plans to marry Princess Elizabeth and marries her himself before dying in an airborn dog fight!


All of these films poke fun at the stereotyping that Hollywood does through continuing the sterotyping. Whether or not they help to restore the reality of the situations they show I do not know but they certainly make for an entertaining evening!!!

Just re read this- I sound like I'm doing a film review. Eat that Jonathon Woss!!!
CommieBastard
QUOTE (Mata @ Aug 14 2006, 10:03 AM) *
Pirates... 2 gives a good example of the way the Hollywood system operates: they introduce a voodoo priestess character. She is afro-caribbean, naturally, but she is also beautiful. Her accent is Jamaican, but there is a fair suggestion that it's the Jamaican of a person trying to sound Jamaican... She is surrounded by occult items, but (to my memory of the film) only actually 'performs' an occult act once (casting bones, and then she doesn't interpret them, the film cuts away before she can be seen to actually be producing results from 'black magic').


Aside: Naomie Harris is second-generation Jamaican, and her mother (a native) taught her the accent. As far as I know, it's one of the most accurate Jamaican accents to show up in a Western film. Also, she casts crab claws rather than bones - the film then cuts to a reef whose shape resembles that formed by the claws, upon which a ship has foundered, attracting the attention of the Flying Dutchman. I thought it was pretty heavily implied that she was divining Davy Jones' location for Jack and his crew. Also, I loved Pirates 2. Nyah.

It's a tricky line to tread. On one hand, stereotypes - perhaps I mean "archetypes", it's less pejorative - are absolutely necessary. If I want to show an audience that a character is archetypal in some way, I can do it in seconds with a couple of visual shorthands. With the basic framework of her character established, I can spend the rest of the film doing what I like with her, without needing to indulge in tedious character-building for the first half-hour just so you understand where she's coming from. Shakespeare used a ton and a half of shortcuts like this.

On the other hand, stereotypes are sometimes lazy and harmful, with the best examples being in Lolo's post. It's gotten to the point where I cringe if I see an overweight woman in a movie, because I know she's going to be used for cheap jokes, probably centred around how unattractive she is to men. I still think the first judgment of a film's worth should be aesthetic, not ethical, but lazy writers promoting harmful stereotypes and unfair standards do nobody any good.
Mata
She may have been about to interpret the cast crab-claws for the crew, but she never actually interpreted them on-screen. I stick with my opinion that she was impersonating a Jamaican accent, but it sounds like you've paid more attention to this than me so it may be that I'm so used to phoney Jamaican accents on TV and in films that a good version of an authentic accent now sounds fake! Anyway...

To look at the harmful archetypes, maybe it's beneficial to examine the opposite angle: the portrayal of cheerleaders in American films is almost universally damning. They are shown to be shallow, with severe eating disorders, slutty, and extremely bitchy. My question is this: is the negative stereotyping of cheerleaders more or less harmful than the negative stereotyping of obese people? And what causes that difference?

I've got my own opinion on this, but I'll be interested to read other people's thoughts first.
elphaba2
Cheerleaders are certainly stereotyped in films, but it's the nature of the stereotype that differs from that of overweight women. A cheerleader in a movie may be seen as slutty, mean and anorexic, but she gets the guy. She is popular, rules the school, etc. It's a stereotype that empowers at the same time as it degrades. The sterotypical overweight woman is put in a position of weakness by being shown as lazy, regrettful and goofy.

A good contradiction to this overused character is Sookie, from the terribly addictive show Gilmore Girls. No mention is given of her weight, and she is seen happily married years before the main character, much thinner, is. However, she's not the main character and the actress, Melissa McCarthy has a career filled with bit parts and voiceovers mainly because she isn't wearing a fat suit for roles: she actually is an overweight actress. So it's clear there's miles of work to be done before producers and writers feel America is willing to care about an overweight woman in a title role of a movie or TV show that is not about her weight.

(Also, I'm pretty sure Renee Zellwegger went up to a size 6 to play Bridget Jones. You know, because the average size of UK women isn't 5 sizes up from that.)
Daria
She did put on weight for the part as Ms Jones was written as that size- by an English writer. She was continuously striving to lose weight, albeit unsucessfuly.
Mata
Do the slutty cheerleader characters always get the guy? Usually they always seem to either end up alone with no friends, or get the guy-who-everyone-knows-is-a-total-jerk. Either way, cheerleaders rarely win in American films... Or they don't in the ones that I've seen. This is so much the case that you get lash-back films like Bring It On where the central message is 'cheerleaders are people too'.

Cheerleaders are shown as being brainless psycho-killer fodder, or, even more nastily, they are portrayed as somehow deserving all kinds of vile things happening to them in horror films purely by stint of being attractive and not very bright. How often have you seen a cheerleader being a hero in a film? Probably about as often as you have seen fat people, yet weight is taken to be something that should be redressed where social-group stereotyping isn't.

When I wonder why this is, I can't help but think that it might be because the wider social view is 'they can stop being a cheerleader, and they'll still be pretty so they'll be fine', which is quite depressing in a way. For the majority of people, weight loss is possible and they will still be smart enough to be funny. It's a sad fact that being pretty is considered more important than being smart, and films just relfect this aspect of society.

It's often said that pretty people can cruise along in life because people give them more breaks. Being desirable is nearly always going to be useful. Conversely, people who aren't so attractive (due to weight or other reasons) often develop humour or specialist knowledge to find themselves a way of competing with physically attractive people. In this regard then it could be said that the dumb cheerleader and the funny/smart fat person are generally recognisable archetypes from life. Is there anything wrong with Hollywood accepting these?

It's entertainment, and that's not an industry that usually makes any big money by contastly making their audiences think. People like things that they recognise. Yes, it would be more socially responsible for more characters to have an equal level of intelligence and insight, but Hollywood is under no obligation to make smarter films. While people continue to go to see dumb films with dumb stereotypes then we (as a society) only have ourselves to blame.
Witless
A question that knocks around in my head about this topic is, 'if hollywood films didn't rely on stereotype cructhes for it's films, would people still watch them?' To be honest it's hard to say. There are some sucessful films that don't rely on stereotypes, but their sucessful in that people liked them. Not really box office hits. So they don't make as much money.

But then there's the point that once you leave hollywood, you do encounter more and more films (and especially made for tv series), that rely on fewer and fewer stereotypes that still seem to do well in their respective countries.

I'd be interested to find out whether hollywood merely responds to demand, or if it responds to the demand that it created in the first place and is now almost forced to keep up.
LoLo
QUOTE (Mata @ Sep 11 2006, 05:38 AM) *
It's often said that pretty people can cruise along in life because people give them more breaks. Being desirable is nearly always going to be useful. Conversely, people who aren't so attractive (due to weight or other reasons) often develop humour or specialist knowledge to find themselves a way of competing with physically attractive people. In this regard then it could be said that the dumb cheerleader and the funny/smart fat person are generally recognisable archetypes from life. Is there anything wrong with Hollywood accepting these?

It's entertainment, and that's not an industry that usually makes any big money by contastly making their audiences think. People like things that they recognise. Yes, it would be more socially responsible for more characters to have an equal level of intelligence and insight, but Hollywood is under no obligation to make smarter films. While people continue to go to see dumb films with dumb stereotypes then we (as a society) only have ourselves to blame.


Now I pose this question....Is it that there are easily recognizable people that fit these stereotypes because we are so used to seeing them on movies so it just seems right that they are there? Also do you think that people fit to these stereotypes because that's what they see and think that this is therefore how they should act?

Also I just want to say that I've seen smart funny cheerleaders and dumb obese people as well, so since they exist as well maybe they should be in films too.
pgrmdave
I think that if you look at a lot of entertainment throughout history you will find that the bulk of the characters are rather flat and stereo-typical. It takes a lifetime to get to really know someone, but we don't have that much time, so it is easy to use a character that we can all understand, and that is similar in some regard to someone we know. I am sure that we have all known, at some point, a person who relied too much on how they looked and wasn't too bright. We probably all knew someone who was very smart but socially inept. Yeah, in real life these people are much more complicated, but there simply isn't time to give them complete personalities.
Witless
QUOTE (pgrmdave @ Sep 11 2006, 03:28 PM) *
I think that if you look at a lot of entertainment throughout history you will find that the bulk of the characters are rather flat and stereo-typical. It takes a lifetime to get to really know someone, but we don't have that much time, so it is easy to use a character that we can all understand, and that is similar in some regard to someone we know. I am sure that we have all known, at some point, a person who relied too much on how they looked and wasn't too bright. We probably all knew someone who was very smart but socially inept. Yeah, in real life these people are much more complicated, but there simply isn't time to give them complete personalities.


In fairness it's not complete personalities we're after.

Angry black man, ditzy cheer leader and slow minded fat person are not the only way people recognise others for example. I know I don't.

I don't think you need to go deep into a character to just make.. a large person.. not slow minded. It's not particularly hard. It's just more not done because the bulk of films just play up to the stereotypes they generated (a lot of the time) in the first place, back in the days of dopey bowler hat wearing fat characters in the 50s. They seem to have stuck like glue.

Also just because entertainment was made like that in the past, doesn't mean it was a good idea then, or a good thing to continue now.
CommieBastard
QUOTE (Mata @ Sep 10 2006, 03:36 PM) *
She may have been about to interpret the cast crab-claws for the crew, but she never actually interpreted them on-screen. I stick with my opinion that she was impersonating a Jamaican accent, but it sounds like you've paid more attention to this than me so it may be that I'm so used to phoney Jamaican accents on TV and in films that a good version of an authentic accent now sounds fake! Anyway...


Hate to derail the thread (not even nearly true), but: well, yes, technically she is impersonating a Jamaican accent, because it's not her natural accent (as I said above, she's a Londoner), but it is a realistic accent. Also, not everything needs to be shown on-screen! Viewers are perfectly capable of inferring that things have happened. Remember Reservoir Dogs? The entire movie revolves around an event which is never shown. I don't see what that has to do with stereotypes in Hollywood.
Mata
The link to stereotypes was that Holywood couldn't make their mind up about what she was supposed to be, and the resulting contrast in her character was a bit ridiculous: on one hand she plays the role of the ancient mystic dabbling with the dark arts, but on the other she is a sexy young woman who doesn't actually do any black arts on screen (because magic is anti-mainstream, which would interfere with her stereotypical sensuality).

I think that the black magic isn't shown is important: if she were to be shown actually doing anything then that would further highlight the gap between her role, as a holder of knowledge acquired during a lifetime of study of obscure lore, and her physical presence of yet more eye-candy in a film where ugly people don't exist.

Yes, audiences know what is not seen on screen, but there is significance in their choice not to show it. She's not a great example, maybe something in the treatment of lesbian characters in popular culture is more useful: it's a simple fact that lesbian women will have an equal variation in their range of arractiveness, and their behaviour is just the same as anyone else's, but when you see them in films they are either very pretty, or very butch, and they will nearly always be sticking their tongue down the throat of nearby women. The unseen knowledge is that they live just like everyone else, but that aspect of them is not shown, instead directors and writers choose to only show the bit that they find most interesting/desirable.

What usually remains unseen in films is the inconvenient reality of character's lives, and this is what makes them stereotypes. In the case of the Jamaican witch the inconvenient truth is that voodoo does involve many rites that would make her appear less attractive. What remains unseen in Reservoir Dogs is not an inconvenient reality, but an extension of the myth of the film, which is why it's so effective as a device.

I guess this is the point at which characters move between being stereotypes or not; when we see the inconvenient truths of their lives that contradict or add complexity to their role in the film then they move away from a stereotype. Archetypical characters tend to be self-contained, but real people just are not like that. We say things unintentionally, or decide to have a cup of tea when we should be saving the world. These aren't necessarily useful things for a film, but maybe films would benefit from including them more often.

To put it another way, I've been studying a bit of hypnotherapy theory again recently, and one of the guys I've been looking at did something I found interesting. When he gave a person a happy memory, he would also remind them of a sad time. The sadness would give the person a contrast with which to understand the happiness. Bland hero films don't give us the contrast of character depth that allows us to feel any peak of excitement for them. To return to PotC, Jack Sparrow is entertaining because he does things that don't always fit with his character, such as running away or being clumsy, but Orlando Bloom's role is simple and never breaks its mould, consequentally he's really boring!

I've completely lost what my point was now and I've run out of time to type it, but if you find it, please send it home...

(Off topic a bit: As I said before, I can only trust that you are right about the accent, and that I have been misled by hammed up Jamaican accents in TV and films into mistaking it for sounding false.)
CommieBastard
We'll have to agree to disagree on the magic issue - I maintain that depicting it would have been a waste of screen time when the audience is perfectly capable of inferring what's happened. That's screen time better devoted to extremely silly water-wheel swordfights and extended Wile E. Coyote-esque slapstick routines!

I also think we shouldn't absolve the audience of responsibility, here. Film is a medium for art and entertainment. Fiction in film isn't under any obligation to be a measured, comprehensive, objective look into the everyday lives of ordinary people. It's meant to amuse us, impress us, excite us, arouse us, scare us. None of those functions involve telling us the truth. When I sit down in a cinema, I expect to be lied to. I don't want to be reminded of the real world, I want an escape from it! Realism has its place, but it is by no means a staple and ought not to be. People have a responsibility to form sensible opinions about the world; they cannot hide behind the fictional media as an excuse for ignorance.
Faerieryn
So good to have you back Commie

*spam*
I must say that I didn't really notice much about the character being discussed here but I do agree with Mata's surmising of why we frind Captain Jack so entertaining. He doesn't fit the mould!! Ohe yeah and he's soooo fine (drooling over Jonny Depp)
bryden42
As an adendum to the whole reality versus entertaining flasehood argument, I find that almost everyone wants the entertaining falsehood until the falsehood touches on something that they hold dear, something that interests them, something that they know a bit about , its then that they complain that its not factual (and believe me I've done it myself a number of times) My wife and I now have a phrase when we start doing this in front of the tv.

"what are you doing?"
its starts

"I'm questioning the film"
is always the answer, normally accompanied by a hung head of mock shame

And thus the rant is avoided, and we go back to watching the entertaining lies smile.gif
oobunnie
QUOTE
Cheerleaders are certainly stereotyped in films, but it's the nature of the stereotype that differs from that of overweight women. A cheerleader in a movie may be seen as slutty, mean and anorexic, but she gets the guy. She is popular, rules the school, etc. It's a stereotype that empowers at the same time as it degrades. The sterotypical overweight woman is put in a position of weakness by being shown as lazy, regrettful and goofy.

I find this not so true. In a general romantic comedy it's the still very pretty, but quirky and kind of strange female lead that wins the guy. The cheerleader type is usually the one that the guy has realized isn't his match made in heaven and Ceremoniously dumps by the side of the road with no conclusion.
As for the cheerleader stereotype... Has anyone here seen Making the Squad? If so, point made. If not I can summarize it by saying that me and some of my friends have deemed it the "How to be a Stripper Cheerleader" show. And we plan to steal some of their dance moves for bad moves dance offs at the club. Stereotypes aren't always that far off.
I really don't think all of these stereotypes can be blamed on Hollywood. I think they are somewhat reflective of societies perception. I think people simply have an internal instinct to categorize everything.
Witless
I think the reason people use hollywood as the example quite so often is because most of the rest of the world's film industries don't stereotype to quite such an extent.

They do still stereotype. But Hollywood does it to a fairly extreme degree that can be a little much sometimes.
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