Hollywood Sex

The Hollywood industry is very patriarchal.  It is made very clear in Hollywood, the Dream Factory by Hortense Powdermaker.  It is most evident when Powdermaker used examples of only men.  It is still true today with women in the Hollywood industry speaking out about their experiences.

In history, women are discourage to have any power.  In film, because we are talking about Hollywood, the symbolic comparison would be in Film Noir.  The woman who held power over a man in the beginning was ultimately killed off or led away by police officers who were men.  Today, though there have been many activism against this kind of discrimination and the number of feminists have grown, there is still a social mentality that objectifies women, and according to Powdermaker, some women give sex in order to get a spotlight:  “Pretty young girls who come to Hollywood hoping for careers as actresses are prepared and ready to use sex as a means of getting ahead.  It is part of the prevailing attitude of manipulation of people for career purposes, and sex is just one of several techniques”  (23).

It is a known fact that sex sells both off and on screen, but when does it become detrimental to an individual and to society?  In an interview between Rose McGovern and Entertainment Weekly, quoted on an article in Business Insider, she stated, “When I did my first film, I was told by my agent that I would need to have long hair so men in this town would want to f— me and hire me… That was said to a 17 year old.”  The impacts of sex upon an individual at such a young age can be psychologically detrimental and combined with the stress and pressure of the media industry can attribute to much more psychological stress and strain.

Powdermaker writes, “[t]he emphasis upon sex in the popular mythology about Hollywood has perhaps more influence on the attitudes and the conversation of the inhabitants than on their behavior.  They have a standard to live up to.  There is much talk about sex, and direct or indirect allusions to it are frequent in the gossip columns…  Having a screen personality usually means that the actor or actress has a sex appeal obvious enough to come through on the screen.  Sex and Sexiness are in the air. (22)”

Sex and Sexiness are also in the air surrounding children.  The reality TV show Toddlers and Tiaras sparked huge controversy about whether if it was ethical and abusive to have young girls submit to the heavy makeup and intense training their parents subjected them to for competitive pageants.  In a Huffington post article, it is quoted that “…Mickie would make her daughter practice her routines for eight hours straight, and if she messed up, Mickie would tell her daughter, “You’re just like your father—he’s a loser,” and allegedly referred to her as a “little shit”.”

Though Toddlers and Tiaras are in no way sexualizing these young girls on Television, it is the parents of these kids that are sexualizing them according to the beauty standards that our society has, which also have been perpetuated by media like MTV which broadcasts Toddlers and Tiaras.  Media is a powerful influence, and Hollywood is the epitome of entertainment.

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