Negative Hollywood’s Influence Sociology Essay Example

Nowadays, movies made in Hollywood are in high demand in all countries of the world. The young people are the most numerous category of cinema visitors and spectators of the American movies. Consequently, Hollywood influences them crucially encouraging them to follow new fashion or lifestyle patterns. However, the opinions whether this impact is positive or negative differ from one person to another.

Hollywood Influence on Youth

It is not difficult to notice that youth strives to dress, eat, behave, walk, and talk like some characters in Hollywood movies. By imposing manners of behavior, dressing and eating habits, Hollywood deprives young people of their individuality and self-expression. The current research paper intends to prove that Hollywood influences negatively on moral values of youth, their behavior, and world perception making them too obsessed with their appearance. The research question is how Hollywood influences the development and formation of youth, their moral values, and behaviors in a negative way.

The sub-hypotheses of the research paper are:

  • Hollywood movies have long-term effects on youth that are cumulative and negative.
  • Hollywood deprives young people of individuality and personal identity.
  • Hollywood’s influence can lead to the increase of violence, cruelty and illegal activities among young people.

Analyzing Hollywood’s influence on the young people, one should take into consideration the cultivation theory. This approach studies the relationship between beliefs about the world and exposure to television. Cultivation theory explores behavioral and emotional effects of television. According to Gerbner et al. (1978), cultivation approach determines the cultivation of the different groups of people by TV. This theory demonstrates the negative impact of TV on the academic achievements and negative attitudes among adolescents.

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Cultivation theory was created to depict that television shapes social reality and influences people’s moral values (Gerbner et al., 1978). Cultivation theory was developed by Gerbner et al. to study what impact television has on viewers’ perception of the world and everyday life. Consequently, cultivation theory insists that television has long-term effects that are significant, indirect, gradual but cumulative and influential. ‘Clear-cut violence in any context is coded,’ (Gerbner et al., 1978, p. 179). However, even an indirect demonstration of violence influences young people making them more cruel, angry, and aggressive. Violence is the most frequent phenomenon on TV that increases movies’ rates and companies’ profits.

It is evident that Hollywood’s movies influence young people negatively. First, they encourage youth to follow new fashion, hobbies, and lifestyle patterns. Second, young people become obsessed with the desire to be like their favorite characters and actors imitating their way of dressing, eating habits, behavior, and talking. Consequently, they lose their personal identity and become zombies of the imaginary world and life depicted in movies. Moreover, Hollywood makes youth adopt the American culture depicting it as an exemplary one. Third, the young people lose their moral values and become degraded abusing drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes just like their favorite actors.

Gerbner et al. (1980) define violence as ‘the overt expression of physical force…compelling action against one’s will on pain of being hurt and/or killed or threatened to be so victimized as a part of plot’ (Gerbner et al., 1980, p.:11). It means that the index of violence prevails in the modern movies. Moreover, the scientists insist that television has become a cultural ‘mainstream’ that has a significant and dramatic impact on viewers. Consequently, the role of television should be regarded as the cultivation of attitudes that put human life in danger. Television’s violent imagery can turn into the cruel reality that is characterized by real life perceptions.

Researchers insist that most movies affect the worldview appealing to the emotions and feelings. Youths are more emotionally interested in the problems related to changing of views and their status in the community. As Hollywood movies reveal such issues as driving and cutting out parental control, moving away from home, and identity formation, young people become keen on them. Movie content influences the aspects of psychological development. One should not say that movies of Hollywood’s production are totally negative. There are very helpful and useful movies. However, the choice of adolescents is mostly negative, which leads to the retardation of youth’s cognitive development. Another aspect that is influenced by Hollywood movies is sexuality that has changed compared to what it was in the past. Young people begin to forget about the existence of such feelings as shame, fear, and guilt and tend to get involved in the unconventional sexual activities. The problem is that youth cannot differentiate between fabrication, truth, misinformation, and information.

According to Meyer (1989), TV uses crime-laden and violent programming that can result in becoming a victim of crime, overestimating of actual crime rates, and being victimized by violent crime. ‘Cultivation, like any other kind of mediated effect, occurs embedded within a dynamic process of human social interaction,’ writes Meyer (1989, p. 788). It means that the interaction of people with television is direct despite its indirect influence. Cultivation theory is based on the communication approaches and exposure of people to TV.

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According to the cultivation theory, Hollywood movies serve as a black board from which the young people copy violent behavior. The negative effects of Hollywood movies are seen in the vicarious capacity of adopting the negative attitudes. Heavy exposure to movies influences the development of the youth, which is one of the reasons for violence, crime, and aggressive behavior of young people in the society. There is a profound relationship between behavior and motion pictures as motion pictures are presented in an impressionable manner enthralling people and making them forget that they should learn some lesson from a movie. Hollywood’s chief function is to provide amusement and entertainment making viewers escape into the land of fantasy. A typical adolescent that watches 150 movies a year will be exposed to such overt immoral behaviors as smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse.

Regular watching of television leads to the imitation of the events and feelings depicted in the movies. ‘Television programs such as soap operas and sitcoms cultivate in the viewer a perspective of the world that does not match reality but instead reflects the nature of the television world’, writes Mohan Dutta (2007, p. 1). It means that young people start living a life of other people. For example, many Hollywood movies reveal the problems of adultery, difficult relationships, abortion, pregnancy rates and divorce that result in a happy ending. Consequently, young people live in the idealized world of a movie depriving them of an ability to deal with life problems realistically.

Hollywood’s production has achieved media imperialism having a strong power over the viewers and becoming the most dominant and influential type of media. According to social learning theory, young people can adopt deviant and aggressive behavior through modeling and imitating the behavior of actors and movie characters. However, the issue is that Hollywood does not bear responsibility for the anti-social influence on the youth.

Speaking about Hollywood movies one should say that there is a disturbing amount of violence that is presented through the sexual relationships. It means that from an early age, adolescents start getting interested in the satisfaction of their physical needs. Consequently, the moral values are ignored and degraded making the behavior of the youth anti-social or deviant. Frequent watching of Hollywood movies makes young people obsessed with many movie stars that serve as examples to follow. It is evident that cinema shapes general lifestyle, behaviors, and attitudes; therefore, it is crucial to watch only ethical and useful ones to ensure the process of moral growth.

Gerbner et al. (1978) insist that heavy viewers of television are in the biggest danger. First, if the genre of a movie is horror, it leads to psychological concerns. For example, young people are afraid of walking around the city at night as they are afraid of criminals and other horrors that they have seen in the movie. Another disorder that is observed among the youth is reflected in their desire to hit somebody and release fury or angriness. The cultivation theory shows a significant and consistent relationship between television and the aspects of social reality. It means that movie production has become the cult and part of the common culture. However, the problem is that this culture rarely benefits the community due to its focus on the gained profits rather than feelings evoked by the movie. Consequently, such empty values as money, clothes, jewellery, luxury, and popularity are depicted in Hollywood movies. However, only a few people regard them as unimportant, others are striving to get them.

According to the cultural norms theory, Hollywood movies violate the established norms of culture (not to depict the sexual scenes for the young people, not to use foul language) and provide their own cultural patterns that are perceived by youth. It means that Hollywood movies do not reinforce cultural norms but change them.

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The Methods Assignment

The research question is how Hollywood affects the development and formation of youth, their moral values, and behaviors in a negative way.

The specific sub-hypotheses of the research paper are:

  • Hollywood movies have long-term effects on youth that are cumulative and negative.
  • Hollywood deprives young people of individuality and personal identity.
  • Hollywood’s influence can lead to the increase of violence, cruelty and illegal activities among young people.

Consequently, this research paper is based on two methods: qualitative and quantative. The research is objective as it combines the primary and secondary sources of information. The qualitative research is based on the academic articles that explain the cultivation theory and its relation to the media influence on the young people. The quantitative research is based on interviewing. 50 young people were chosen for this interview: 25 males and 25 females. These young people had different interests; therefore, one can suppose that this research is objective. At the exploratory stage, it was crucial to identify their interest to media in general and Hollywood movies in particular. To fulfil the objective of the research paper, the semi-structured interview was conducted. The semi-structured interview presupposes open and fixed questions. Interviewing provides necessary information about young people who watch movies. The secondary data such as academic articles on the culmination theory helped to understand the entity of the problem and reveal how other researchers view the influence of movies on the youth. The primary data were obtained from the interview.

The questions of the interview were related to the following aspects:

  • frequency of watching television;
  • attitude to movies;
  • the feelings and emotions after watching Hollywood movies;
  • personal opinion about the impact of movies.

The researcher asked the questions to understand popularity of Hollywood movies among young people. Each participant of the research was asked the same set of questions. The questions revealed the participant’s attitude to the problem. An informal and friendly atmosphere was created while interviewing to make all participants feel relaxed and confident.

Data Analysis

Current research paper explains the peculiarities of the cultivation theory and its relation to the television impact. Moreover, the key objective was achieved as it has been proved that Hollywood movies influence the young people’s values negatively. First, Hollywood movies deprive the youth of genuine feelings and emotions, interaction and mutual understanding. They tend to give more value to the appearance, money, and social status like the actors in Hollywood movies. Hollywood movies have long-term effects on youth that are cumulative and negative.

It has been determined that 99% respondents watch Hollywood movies. Only 1% of young people stated that they did not watch Hollywood movies. 55% of respondents watched them very often. 30% watched often. 14% of young people watched movies rarely, and only 1% never watched them. Consequently, it has been proved that young people watch Hollywood movies regularly and frequently.

Another question was whether movie watching affects the way of dressing. 45% of respondents strongly agreed that Hollywood movies influenced their way of dressing. 20% agreed that they imitated the style of actors from the movie. 20% of respondents did not decide yet. 15% of respondents supposed that Hollywood did not influence their way of dressing. As a result, young people copy the dressing style from movies even if it is not suitable for a real everyday life. Hollywood movies teach them to be bright and glamorous and put appearance above other values.

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Another crucial question was whether Hollywood movies influenced youth’s behavior. 31 % of respondents agreed that Hollywood movies affected their behavior and their attitudes. Only 11% of young people strongly disagreed with that statement. Consequently, it is evident that Hollywood deprives youth of individuality and personal identity.

Another question referred to the impact of Hollywood movies on the sexuality of young people. Consequently, 27 % of respondents answered that characters and actors made them more sexual. 55% of respondents expressed a categorical disagreement with that statement. Consequently, Hollywood movies do not influence the desire of young people to have sex. The respondents were also asked whether Hollywood encouraged them to dress indecently. 37% of young people agreed that it was true. Only 6% of the respondents were against this. Consequently, not all Hollywood movies are negative, and not all young people are deprived of moral qualities.

62% of respondents stated that Hollywood movies shaped their general lifestyle, behaviors, and attitudes. Only 3% of respondents disagreed that Hollywood determined their behavior. The result clearly indicates that Hollywood movies affect the lifestyle and attitudes of young people. The respondents were asked whether Hollywood movies positively influence the learning of new cultures. 62 % strongly agreed that they learnt more about different cultures from movies. Only 3% of young people did not agree that movies were beneficial for them.

Another question that had been asked was whether young people tried not to watch sex scenes when they appeared. 14 % agreed with that statement. 86 % of the respondents disagreed with that. It means that young people watch sex scenes with pleasure. Consequently, Hollywood movies encourage them to early sexual life.

One can say that the hypothesis and sub-hypotheses were fully proved. Literature review and interviews proved that Hollywood movies were superficial and did not encourage the moral and intellectual development. Moreover, Hollywood movies are based on the wrong values like money, sex, and appearance. Firstly, movies do not provide emotions and feelings that would be beneficial for the individuality. Secondly, watching movies does not guarantee that a person will not feel satisfied as it can develop many psychological disorders as beauty even if it is artificial is a key concern of the characters in movies. Consequently, if young people are not confident and are very modest, they can become even more reserved.

One should mention that Hollywood movies have a narrow sphere of application. Consequently, people lose the ability to distinguish between truth and deception, sincerity and slyness, reality and the imagery world. One can say that sybhypotheses are related to the main hypothesis and complete it. Moreover, the world of movies is limited, and it is based on exaggeration, unpractical pieces of advice and possibility not to draw the boundary between reality and fiction.

The research clearly demonstrates that most young people are keen on Hollywood movies. One cannot say that Hollywood movies should be forbidden as there are those that have a positive influence on young viewers. One should cut down the exposure of the young people to negative scenes depicted in movies. Young people should be busy with other activities that will help them to replace watching movies with something more useful. The movies should benefit young people. It means that they should learn to accept only good advice and life lessons.

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The obtained results demonstrate that there is a direct relationship between movies and human behavior. The young people tend to change their social roles under the influence of movies. Movies are dynamic and creative. Consequently, they can influence even passive and static viewers. It is evident that a person should be very intelligent, experienced, realistic, and wise to avoid the negative impact of Hollywood movies. Cultivation theory helped to understand that Hollywood movies are based on the media and cultural imperialism that make them superior and more popular compared to other kinds of mass media and can be the instrument of influence on the audience. Young people can become culturally dependent and dominated.

One should say that Hollywood influences the development and formation of youth, their moral values, and behaviors negatively. First, young people can become keen on the negative habits like alcohol and drug abuse. They become too obsessed with their way of dressing and sexuality copying imaginary movie characters. Moreover, young people begin to degrade as they are not interested in reading and other intellectual activities. Hollywood movies have long-term effects on youth that are cumulative and negative. It means that at first young people do not undergo changes for worse. However, soon young people begin to decline morally, become aggressive and even tend to commit crimes. It has been proved that Hollywood movies encourage early sexual life and usage of the foul language. Consequently, such movies encourage young people to behave like adults and influence their psychological development.

To sum up, one should mention that Hollywood movies are a direct means of influence that are related to all aspects of human life. As a result, they increase the use of foul language that is a non-normative and restraining aspect of culture. Hollywood movies encourage having early sex and perceiving it as a natural phenomenon. Moreover, they impose the American culture and values as the most progressive one. Hollywood movies have a psychological, cultural, and emotional influence on young people.

It is evident that this research paper has its limitations that do not diminish the value of current case study. The first limitation is the choice of the subject. The paper is devoted only to the negative aspect of the social media. However, it does not demonstrate the cases when people really learn good life lessons from Hollywood movies. Secondly, this research paper is restricted by the scope of the research, which is limited to Hollywood movies.

Without doubt, these restrictions do not lessen the importance and value of this case study but provide grounds for further and more complex researches. One needs more time, efforts and literature to instruct participants before conducting an interview. Another restriction of this research paper is the lack of available data. Some information was obtained from the interviewees, but it is not enough for a full-fledged analysis.