Exploration 1 Joey Ohls

In film mental illness can be used as a popular topic that captivates audiences but also makes an avenue to open up new dialogue. Can film be used to fully understand certain mental illnesses? Is there a line between educating and objectifying when looking at film? How does media perpetuate stereotypes (negative or positive) for the general public? Film can be a way to break down unspoken walls made by mental illness giving a insight for those who can not speak up themselves.

Girl interrupted uses a series of girls to portray different mental illness’s though non of them are contained in a stereotypical box. Much like Silver Linings Playbook which does not highlight the illness but shows the abilities to “break free”. But the other side is following the stereotypes and using what culture has proven like the lengths gone to achieve prima ballerina status to bring entertainment like Black Swan.

Race in film has been a controversial topic for years, and can always be looked at for further exploration. Is the treatment of African Americans in film the same as other races? Is film fueling the “black stereotype”? Does micro-aggression appear because of topics brought up in film such as slavery? African Americans in our current media have brought attention to further discrimination and underlying racism in our society, and the way we make our films is a key factor.

You have films like Boyz in the Hood perpetuating the black stereotype of gang violence and aggression but it also emulates a part of society. Rather than a film like Hidden Figures that gives a voice to unknown African American women in a more socially acceptable positive light . But the perspective can be overshadowed with darker topics like slavery in 12 Years a Slave, that bring audiences to look at the history and try to not repeat.

Underlying within each film or show is a class structure that mimics the one in the real world. Some films tend to focus on that aspect and bring light to the differences. How can socioeconomic class be shown within a film, create bias? Can you fully understand the class gap from film? Is the negative light on the poor giving a positive effect on real world progress?

Shows like Shameless give an insight to the struggles of a working class without a rose colored filter. However, you have films like Pretty Woman that over exaggerate the difference between classes that can have a negative effect on how the lower class sees themselves. All coming back to a film called Crash where many different classes interact with each other with prejudice and discrimination that may show we may have no hope of socio-economic growth between any class.

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