Movies are a great influence on every generation and people of all ages. They are a form of mass media that almost everyone irresistibly gets drawn to. From their humble beginnings in the early 1900s, followed by the subsequent boom in the industry, movies have come a long way now. Today, films command a huge following. Researchers opine that movies are powerful enough to change the public opinion, social culture, and even political environment. It is not that the general public is unaware of this. Roughly 60% of the American public believes that Hollywood commands more power than it should. There is no doubt that Hollywood has a huge influence on American society and culture. The only question is – how great is that influence? Read on to find it out yourself.
Recall of History
Often, history is nothing more than facts for subsequent generations. There is just so much of it that it is impossible to know everything. But, some of the best lessons in life are learnt by observing the events of the past. Moreover, encyclopedic accounts of history fail to capture the tension, the mood, the fears, hope, triumph and glory of the past. This is something that movies do best at the least possible time. Movies not only show snippets from the past, but also recreate the emotional environment of the time. Be it All the President’s Men (1976) giving an account of America’s greatest scandal, or the account of the American Civil War in Glory (1989), Americans are learning more about their history via movies than the books.
Movies had a huge role to play in the modern sexual revolution, i.e. during the 1960s and later. This is when the movies began to portray women in roles other than their stereotypical gender roles. Even in movies, women began to hold jobs that were generally portrayed by men. A more dramatic change was the rise of nudity in the movies. Nudity and hints of sexual nature began to slowly change the nature of what America considered modest. The good side of this was that parents became more open to discussing things related to sex with their children. The flip side was rampant sex outside marriage and the objectification of women.
Manipulation of Social Conduct
Movie celebrities command a huge fan following. For many, celebrities are the closest thing to Gods. Consequently, the actions of these celebrities have a huge influence on the behavior of people in the real world. One instance of this is the prevalence of public displays of affection. Half a century ago, people would have been uncomfortable to express their emotions by kissing, or even hugging in front of their kids, least of all in the public. A slew of romantic movies with their favorite actors holding hands and kissing in public has changed society forever.
Increase in Violence
A research indicates that an average American child is exposed to roughly 12,000 acts of violence a year on mass media, a significant part of which is movies. These violent acts include rapes, stabbing, beheading, shooting, beating, and more. Particularly influenced are the boys in the age bracket of 15-23 years age. Children from minority groups, emotionally disturbed kids, those who were or are abused by their parents, families in distress and children with learning disabilities are the most vulnerable to the violent acts shown in movies. Children imitate what they see. Considering that they are getting their lesson from such violent movies, there is conclusive research that indicates the increase in violence in society is a result of violent movies.
Effect on Health
One of the most serious impacts of movies is the effect they have on people’s food habits. The movies of the last millennium were dominated by smart product placements by cigarette and alcohol companies. Now it’s time for junk food. Large companies such as Pepsico, Coca Cola, McDonald’s, KFC, M&M and others, can shell out millions of dollars for the promotion of their products in a single movie. Everyone from children to adults get caught by the style and aura of the onscreen characters guzzling on these fast foods. Fast foods are the new sexy. The situation is not helped by the wafer-thin supermodels and female stars appearing in the movies these days. They could be single-handedly responsible for the eating disorders in anemic teenage girls.
Rise of Patriotism
One of the best things that could come out of Hollywood are the war movies. Movies such as Saving Private Ryan (1998), and The Longest Day (1962) were instrumental in stoking large scale patriotism in Americans. Hollywood has always been fascinated with wars, especially the World Wars. The result of this is more than half a century’s worth of realistic portrayal of soldiers’ accounts of the wars. Americans increasingly grew respectful of their soldiers watching these movies. Today, soldiers enjoy a certain degree of respect from the public, which is inspiring. More youngsters are also joining the military to defend their nation against the global threats.
Fantasy and Fiction
Fantasy and fiction has always been celebrated across all cultures. Hollywood simply took it to the next level in America. Movie series such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord Of The Rings, have had a huge influence on the fans. The dialogues and phrases from these movies are often quoted in normal conversations with the expectation that every person understand them. References such as “May the force be with you”, and “Evil Empire” are no more limited to ardent fans, but have percolated across the society. Similar is the effect of horror movies, superhero movies, and science fiction movies. The most obvious effect of this is visible to everyone during the time of Halloween. The sheer number of movie-inspired costumes is amazing.
Setting Unreasonable Standards
Movies are exceptionally good at playing with our emotions. Maybe that’s why we go to the movies – for those couple of hours of mood swings. But, what they are actually capable of doing is teaching us absolutely wrong things. Movies such as the Twilight Saga, and Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) have received wide criticism for setting irrational, often harmful, standards for what constitutes love, and setting unreasonable expectations in people. Particularly vulnerable people often get so influenced by these movies that they may never be able to form meaningful relationships. They will always be left comparing their real world relationships to those of real world, leading to loneliness and depression.
Blurring of Ethical Codes
While watching the movies which are high on action, fights, bombs, and bare skin, most of the audience doesn’t care whether the good guy or the bad guy wins in the movie. Movies are crafted to make the leading role the winner. This leading role is often a criminal, murderer, crook or something of the kind. But, the high focus on the character sways the public’s sentiment in their direction. Adultery suddenly becomes cool, killing is now sexy. Movies do not show the possible implications of such actions. The guy who the hero killed, just to pull out a heist, will have a grieving wife and kids. What about the emotional wreck the spouse of an adulterous person will turn into? Obviously, multi-million dollar movies cannot digress from all-important action scenes to show such sorrows of daily life. These kinds of scenes do not hesitate to sway the ethical codes of people in any direction, affecting their real life decisions. If you order one of these Dish Network Satellite TV Packages, you will be able to see all kinds of movies and TV that Hollywood has produced.