Hollywood’s Influence on Society

Of all the mediums of mass distribution and entertainment the visual medium of cinema has always been known to be the most powerful and influential. Even in times of war propaganda and powerful ideas and ideals were conveyed through movies when all other sorts of creative expression were strangled.

In modern times, when the world is becoming compressed into the “global village”, the reach of Hollywood movies has become almost worldwide. Teenagers and young adults crave the entertainment provided by Hollywood movies, at the same time, they become deeply influenced by the lifestyles, fashion, violence, habits and addictions portrayed in them. It is impossible to fully assess how deep this influence is, but experts agree that the influence is phenomenal all over the world and increasing all the time!

Criticisms:

In the last couple of decades Hollywood movies and directors have been widely criticized for showing explicit sexual content, horrific violence and decaying social and moral values. As the youth watch these movies, they become unable to separate reality from illusion and absorb inappropriate materials into their being.

This can create a lot of damage and destruction in society as it increases violence, alcoholism, drug addiction and promiscuous behavior leading to a general downward trend in the moral fabric of society. When taken to extremes it can also lead to disorders arising from negative self-image such as anorexia and other eating disorders, addiction to plastic surgery, depression and suicidal tendencies.

Elliot Aronson, the author of The Social Animal, defines conformity as “a change in a person’s behavior or opinions as a result of real or imagined pressure from a person or group of people”. The need for conformity arises through peer pressure and the general standards of what people consider to be “Hot and happening” – and when ” Hot and happening” means binge drinking, smoking, night clubbing and other socially frowned upon behaviors only problems can arise.

Effects of globalization:

With television and Direct-to-home services increasing rapidly all over the world, Hollywood movies are reaching far and wide these days. When people from remote locations and alien cultures experience Hollywood movies for the first time they wish to emulate not only the way the stars look and behave, but also try to copy their thought processes and belief systems. This can be very dangerous when these “Fans” belong to traditional and conservative cultures. Such problems widen the gap between East and West with the traditionalists believing that western culture is degrading and destroying their moral and religious values.

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