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When one hears of a Hollywood film or a movie created and produced in Los Angeles, the primary things that come to mind are glamour, fashion, and wealth. A movie that does not cover these aspects may seem boring, so directors ensure that such themes are incorporated to make the film more intriguing. The question of whether what individuals see in movies and how they affect their perception of superficiality, beauty, and riches is a vital one, because the society today falls under the influence of cinematography with individuals trying to live a life like celebrities. The stereotypes of wealthy and affluent individuals in the film, who are considered beautiful and attractive, are used by various directors to set the storyline of their production. Los Angeles films such as Clueless and LA Story succeeded in creating a superficial world with beautiful and rich stars in them, because their creators were certain that people prefer watching such type of films, thus creating a mental idea and image of what a person should have and how he or she should behave in real life.
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IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF THE CHOSEN SUBJECT
Being aware of stereotypes associated with LA films is important because it enables an individual to understand the lifestyle of the people in this city. The stereotypes associated with such films are a manifestation of the culture and the social life in LA. Those interested in living in this place can see peoples activity in the city and the aspects they should have to fit in the society. Researchers, who seek to understand the lifestyle in LA, are able to obtain a lot of information from watching the films produced in the city. Having watched Hollywood films, individuals expect elements such as superficiality, wealth, and beauty to be present in LA as they visit this place. The points that this subject aims to pass along is that the stereotypes associated with LA films are actually evident in the real life societies of the region.
EFFECTS OF SUPERFICIALITY
Superficiality implies not being real or true. It can be something that someone hides so that he/she can show his/her good side and not be judged for having specific personalities or characters. When discussing superficiality in Los Angeles films, there are various aspects that should be considered to allow one to advance knowledge on this aspect.
Hollywood has convinced actors and actresses that there is an ideal body that one should have thus persuading them to perform plastic surgery to attain this demand. Every year, more celebrities rely on the help of cosmetic knife as they try to improve their appearance. The film L.A Confidential explains the need for plastic surgery, especially for women. Girls use cosmetic surgery to resemble beautiful celebrities and bring in more customers. It indicates that they are not viewed attractive until they change their appearances to resemble a more ideal image. Little things such as the shape of nose can make an individual seek plastic surgery to correct it to comply with the standards of Hollywood. Being in this business means that an individual has to stay youthful not only to get jobs but also to maintain a superficial reputation to the one’s fans and the society (De Pater et al. 413). Therefore, initially, only senior actors and actresses underwent plastic surgery to regain their youth and beauty. In the modern world, however, young celebrities featured in Los Angeles films use plastic surgery too, because they want to be adored and treated like their beauty is out of this world. In such a way, they have stereotyped the idea that in order to fit in Hollywood, one must undergo certain transformations.
The portrayal of personality in LA films is also superficial. For instance, the movie Clueless presents a young, beautiful, popular, and wealthy girl, who is the envy of other females in the movie. She is smart and academically intelligent yet feels the need to manipulate two of her teachers into falling in love so that she may have an upper grade. Cherilyn Horowitz, or Cher as she is referred to in the movie, realizes that she is not a mean person like other famous people are but she is caring and starts matchmaking her classmates. This story displays the fake personality that Hollywood celebrities often have in their films. Cher only match makes not very attractive individuals, who have nerdy characteristics and are antisocial. She is therefore not seeking for the happiness of these people but instead is trying to show other students that she is caring (Kwad Tv).
Personality can be easily hidden by celebrities in the discussed films, as most of the times, they portray characters with different features or traits from their real personalities. For instance, an actor may be asked to play the character of an arrogant, chauvinistic, and violent man. On the contrary, he may be a calm, loving, and gentle person in real life. The stereotype that is associated with personality is that individuals expect celebrities to portray the same characters they have in the films, but in most cases, this is not true.
Los Angeles is considered the home of glamour and entertainment. A significant number of celebrities live here, and they contributed to the creation of the impression of fake personalities. Among significant cities, where production of films are done, LA has a huge population of individuals trying to become actors and actresses. They would do anything just to be featured in films and other entertainment platforms. Here, they create a superficial personality that they are celebrities so that they may fit well in the society. Moreover, these individuals take any part in movies or commercials, no matter how little they are paid or how embarrassing they may look, or if they go against their personalities and principles. Most of the people in LA believe that they are destined to become celebrities, which leads them to create personalities that are acceptable by the society but are in fact fake.
The idea of relationships displayed in LA films is also superficial and gives an idea of imaginary love story, similar to a Disney fairytale. Films often focus on love stories involving beautiful woman and a wealthy and handsome man, who sweeps her off her feet ,falls in love with her and eventually starts a family with her. The film L.A story provides a tale of a meteorologist, who is bored with his job and his current relationship, and is therefore in pursuit of a relationship that will make him feel alive again. Harris, the main character in this movie, falls for two women, and his romantic moves are guided by traffic signs he sees one night while driving home (Arnold). This movie presents superficiality of love in LA, where individuals believe that a guardian angel is looking out for them in matters regarding love. One of the two women the main character wants to be involved with is planning on going back to her ex-husband, but this does not stop Harris from pursuing her. The idea of a traffic sign serving as advice for Harris whom to date and why is superficial. It indicates that individuals in this region prefer the societys choice of spouse instead of relying on their intuition and choosing a person they genuinely love and want to be with.
Another aspect of superficial relationships evident in LA is attractive and appealing couples (Studlar 55). It means that if a woman is seen by the society as beautiful, she then must find a man who is equally attractive according to the standards set by this community. Such stereotype forces individuals to make the aspect of beauty a priority in their daily lives to ensure that they meet a perfect partner to build a superficial relationship and be the envy of others.
THE EFFECTS OF BEAUTY
Definition of beauty has evolved, and some scholars argue that it has lost its original and intended meaning. Beauty is a vital element in LA films, and is considered a critical thing for actors and actresses to follow a specific code of beauty. Women are supposed to display certain features to be appealing and attractive. Men, on the other hand, are also required to enhance certain body parts and have particular characteristics to be cast in films.
Beauty in women
Tanned and curvy women with no spots or blemishes on their faces and stretch marks on their bodies are generally recognized as beautiful. The women in LA consider themselves pretty due to their tans, whether natural or artificial. Being pale in this place is uncommon, so females are encouraged to be tanned from an early age. The aspect of being overweight is not accepted in Los Angeles too, and some women resort to plastic surgery to have the standard body shapes such as tiny waists and large breasts (Studlar 115). Actresses in various Los Angeles films have this kind of bodies, so the society frequently ridicules those who do not have them. For instance, the star of Clueless was considered beautiful due to her tanned body, flawless skin, and flowing blonde hair.
All qualities of a woman are used to measure her standards of beauty. Those who have given birth are actively encouraged to eat healthy and work out intensely to lose their baby weight during a few months and in some cases weeks after they have given birth (Ashikali et al. 257). Just like in the films, mothers are expected to remain youthful no matter how many children they have or how old they are. Women, who do not have the standard features expected of them, are not allowed to blame their reproductive state as they are required to work hard and maintain their attractive and sexy bodies. Such stereotypes force women in LA to strive to look like their favorite mom actresses and use plastic surgery to alter their appearances so that they look young.
Beauty in men
The attractiveness of men does not receive as much attention as that of women, but instead their success and such features of character as aggressiveness and strength are considered. LA standards has defined superficial traits that men are supposed to have. The ideal frame for men here has evolved over the years, from a period where those with thick waists were acceptable in the society to modern community where a chiseled chest and muscular arms are in trend (Fields 427). Their beauty standards often include soulful eyes and a perfect jawline. A tan and toned body are also emphasized for males (Fields 430). For instance, Jeffrey Bridges, an actor who played in several movies, The Big Lebowski being one of them, was considered handsome during his prime years of acting due to his muscular body and perfect jawline. However, it is difficult to achieve a perfect jawline and eyes in the gym, which makes men use cosmetic surgery as well. By doing this, good-looking men feel the need to be accompanied by beautiful women so that they are labeled an ideal couple that every individual envies and tries to resemble.
EFFECTS OF RICHES
LA films depict the aspect of richness as the element that easily comes by for individuals most of the time, but concentration and determination towards achieving wealth is not illustrated. Fully furnished mansions in posh neighborhoods are actively depicted. Elegant and expensive furniture is stressed on, with the inhabitants shown as individuals who love both their fashion and interior decorations. LA films indicate the need for being wealthy, as poor individuals are looked down on and are ignored by affluent ones. The suburbs of LA accommodate only people of a particular financial status, and if an individual does not belong to such a state, he/she is not welcomed (Hamermesh 47). An example can be seen in the movie Clueless, where Chers best friend is also influential and famous in the school. Wealthy children are provided with everything they want and attend the most expensive schools in the region. Moreover, they spend time in a circle that only includes other individuals of their status. They evade mingling and interacting with the unprivileged, and do not care to know how such individuals obtain their primary necessities.
The stereotype of having a lot of money to fit in the society is depicted vividly through the movie Bling Ring.’ It shows the life of five teenagers, who set out on robbing wealthy people so that they can live a lavish life like their favorite celebrities. The movie highlights the difficulties that teenagers who from poor families face when trying to fit in the society and be regarded as equal with others. Through the film, one can understand the pressure that teenagers face, especially when they are in the same social setting as their peers from wealthy families. Living in LA gives one the impression that beautiful mansions and apartments are readily available as soon as one gets to the city (Hamermesh 97). However, this stereotype does not explain the importance of working hard to obtain this wealth. Young individuals start blaming their parents for the lifestyle they have and find themselves denying their identity and families to be considered rich, associating themselves with wealthy friends.
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People from the discussed city care about their wealth status more than any other aspect of life. Most of the conversations on various radio and television shows as well as magazine and newspaper articles focus on wealthy individuals in the community and what expensive thing they bought for themselves or their families. Tabloids care about a superstar if he/she buys a new mansion, precious jewelry, or an expensive automobile. Likewise, tabloids will follow a celebrity if he/she is going bankrupt or has failed to pay a fine (Mollick 1010). Such pieces of information re considered impressive by the residents of the region, as they find solace in knowing that their favorite celebrity is in financially difficult situation and does not have any money, just like any average person.
The stereotype of living a lavish life in LA has led to cases of depression and drug abuse in the region. Most films made in LA chose to primarily focus on the rich while paying less attention to the poor in the community. Individuals who cannot live an expensive lifestyle inhabit poorer parts of Los Angeles and have difficulty finding employment to sustain their basic needs. For instance, the movie Slums of Beverly Hills focuses on the problems of individuals living in the lower side of Beverly Hills. Vivian and her family struggle to obtain basic necessities and even to pay rent. They cannot live a luxury life and depend on support from other family members.
In conclusion, Los Angeles is advertised as a beautiful place to visit and live, considering that Hollywood, one of the largest film production companies, is located in the region. LA films present several aspects experienced by people living in LA in their regular routines. Superficiality that involves plastic surgery to attain a specific body, change of personality, and relationship matters are very important matters for the people living in this place. The effects of beauty on both men and women is a necessary aspect for consideration as both genders are expected to have specific body features so that they may be attractive to the community. Finally, the elements of wealth and richness are vital as they create class distinction among the lives of individuals. Understanding these stereotypes provides one with an idea of living in LA and fitting in the LA society.