Stereotypes don’t only make movies boring, but are also extremely offensive

In response to Aaliyah Yan’s article “Movie character stereotypes simplify the reality of society,” on page 6 of the Harbinger’s December issue. I completely agree that the portrayal of certain characters in movies and other forms of entertainment create stereotypes that greatly affect our perception of people in reality. The line, “people often have many layers to their personality and one attribute shouldn’t determine their whole character,” resonated with me. I agree that the entertainment industry has a tendency to generalize entire groups of people under one stereotype, one that is often inaccurate. Whether it be the dumb blonde, the smart Asian, or the jock, many of the stereotypes created by the entertainment industry are so heavily used that many start to believe them. 

However, I disagree with the point that “the reason stereotypes have been around for so long is because many movies have been successful when including them…” This may be part of the reason that stereotypes still exist, but personally I believe that stereotypes still exist because they are proliferated by so many people in society. I agree that stereotypes can be created in movies and throughout the entertainment industry, but I also think that a majority of stereotypes are social-constructs used by people to justify the mistreatment of certain groups. Stereotypes are extremely controlling, and place people into boxes they often feel that they cannot escape. 

This article focused on the fact that stereotypes make plots predictable and therefore boring. While this may be true, I wish the article dove a little deeper into the effects that stereotypes can have on groups of people. I think that a lot of people are unaware of how offensive the “smart asian” or “dumb blonde” can be to members of those groups in real life. Stereotypes can invalidate a person’s true identity, and in my opinion this is the real reason the movie industry should move away from stereotypes, not just because they make the plot boring. 

Elizabeth Shaw, Class of 2020