How movies influence perception-1_1

How movies alter perceptions

From black and white to color, movies have been entertaining us for years with seemingly no effect on our daily lives. However, movies may potentially lead to unexpected consequences such as disability and gender stereotypes.

Movies bridging our fantasies with reality make them a popular form of entertainment that reaches audiences all over the globe. This popularity allows movies to influence a wide range of individuals in society with portrayals that may or may not be accurate.

Before receiving calls for strong female roles, Disney movies portrayed princesses waiting for princes to save them. Movie plots with the hero rescuing the damsel in distress prompt young girls to believe that a man is vital to reaching happiness and security. Therefore, boys may grow up with the expectation that they have to be strong, stoic and reliable. These expectations may give men a false sense of superiority over women and vice versa, women may feel weaker than men.

In addition to gender stereotypes, movies may falsely portray a group of people that may alter society’s view to believe the stereotype displayed in the movie. The recent movie “SPLIT” detailing the kidnapping of three girls by a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), led to concern from people who actually suffer from DID. James McAvoy played a man with 24 different personalities suffering from DID who is also the antagonist. In reality, it is usually the DID patient who is the victim who has used DID as a way to deal with traumatic experiences (Webmd, Business Insider).

The movie portrayed people with DID to be scary and dangerous, when in reality, they’re just people. By inaccurately portraying a lesser known disorder in a blockbuster film, the movie made actual DID patients fear the reaction of others because of the portrayal of them as monsters (CNN).  By harmfully altering perceptions and misleading audiences about certain groups of people, movies unintentionally bring consequences to those who are inaccurately portrayed.  

Movies are common forms of entertainment. However, one must remember that the screen does not always portray the truth, and that one should not base opinions off what is seen on the movie screen. The influence that movies have on their audience may not seem great; however, each tiny implication and misinformation may alter our own views to match what is shown on the screen. Although movies may portray something as one thing, when the reality may be another. We must not get caught up in the stereotypes or expectations built up with movies, after all, reality does not exist on the screen. 

By Vivian Lee, Manager
Editorial Cartoon by Irene Zhou

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