Throughout the years, women and minorities have made significant steps towards equality in society. Going as far back as the right to own land to the right to vote. To this day, both women and minorities are making a positive stride towards equality. Entertainment plays a huge part in today’s society. It has evolved for the better over the years. Diversity in women and minorities has grown tremendously in the movie, television, and music industry. The traditions of Buddhism and Christianity can be compared within the growth of diversity in women and minorities in today’s entertainment world.
First, the movie industry has grown over the years when it comes to diversity for women and minorities. Over many years, the movie industry has changed, for what many believe is for the better. Over time, women and minorities went from being stereotyped to playing lead roles in movies. In films from the 1920s, women were flappers, working girls, virgins or vamps. (Luther 156) Fast forwarding many years to 1980, the comedy 9 to 5, which starred Dolly Patron and others who played roles of working women who rebel against their harassing boss. Jennifer Lopez and Halle Berry, who are considered minorities, have achieved success in many leading roles. (Luther 160) Halle Berry is the first and only women of color to win an Oscar for Best Actress. (Gonzales) Moving towards present day, Casino Royale, was released in 2006. Eva Green plays Vesper Lynd, a beautiful strong woman who Bond falls in love with. (Luther 163) Another huge release was the movie Wonder Woman. It made near $400M at the box office fueled by a female moviegoer fan base. (D’Alessandro) There is still a lack of women and minorities in movies, but it is seen that more and more women and minorities are playing powerful lead roles since the start of films. Although, there is definitely a long way to go when it comes to diversity for women and minorities in the movie industry.
In movies and television, religious characters are built to be relatable characters to the real world. Producers and directors do this to connect with the audience and make movies and television shows appealing. According to the Pew Research Center, 68 percent of Americans believe there’s more than one way to learn about religion. And movies are one of the mediums. (Scribner) In The Lion King there is a scene where Mufasa appears in a cyclone of clouds and talks to Simba. There is a religious message being taught in this scene. The message is that life goes on after death. Both Buddhists and Christians believe that there is an afterlife. Death is not considered the end of life. The movie Little Buddha is about a man’s spiritual journey. There is a main female role in the movie, the mother. She narrates the life story of Prince Siddhartha. Prince Siddhartha goes through a journey and once he attains enlightenment, he becomes Buddha. This movie exhibits how
Secondly, diversity for women and minorities in the television business has developed in a good way. Similar to the movie industry, diversity for women and minorities in the television business is growing. A study done by B.S. Greenberg and L. Collette from Fall 1993 through Fall 2004, indicated that the proportions of women and African Americans in television increased. (Greenberg) In the past, men dominated when it came to the strong lead roles in television shows. There was not a large representation of women and minorities in the television business. In present day, the hit television show, Scandal stars an African American woman, Kerry Washington, as lead character Olivia Pope. In the show, Olivia Pope is portrayed as a strong woman. In the beginning of the series, she runs a presidential campaign and eventually runs the White House. This shows that black women have at long last been accepted in above the line positions in mainstream Hollywood production. (Erigha) Many will agree that there is a positive development of diversity for women and minorities in the television business, but it is not near where it should be.
In a Netflix Original series, Orange is the New Black a female is one of the main characters. Cindy Hayes grew up in a strict religious household. As a child, she would get yelled at for eating before a dinner prayer. Growing up a Christian, she was judged for being so religious. When in prison, she came to terms with her upbringing. She finally wanted to explore a relationship with God. In the real world, it’s rare that someone is truly judged for being religious and practicing it, but in this television show, religion is talked about it. It is presented in a respectful way.
Gilmore Girls was a television show that aired from 2000 until 2007. Mrs. Kim is a relevant character in the show. She is painted to be a strict Korean mother, who speaks English with a thick accent. In the show, the viewers learn that Mrs. Kim is actually a Christian, while her mother is a Buddhist. She had to hide her religious opinion and beliefs from her mom. She would have to hide her crosses and other things from her mother because she did not want her mother finding out. Growing up, Mrs. Kim’s mother raised her to be a Buddhist. Driving her to hide her Christianity beliefs. She did not want to disappoint her mom with her own beliefs and opinions. Mrs. Kim is a minority and she plays a big part in the show. Women and minorities have grown tremendously in the entertainment industry. Alongside women and minorities, religion is incorporated into the entertainment world every single day. Women and minorities in these movies and television shows play religious main characters. The examples given show that Buddhism and Christianity are prominent in the entertainment world.
Lastly, diversity for women and minorities has changed in a positive way in the music industry. Currently rap is enjoying unprecedented success. In the rap world, it is predominately minorities. There are many successful rappers in the music industry. For example, the group Run DMC, Run (Joseph Simmons), DMC (Darryl McDaniels), and their DJ, Jam Master Jay (Jayson Mizell) have achieved rare longevity as rap artists. In 1984 the group produced the first rap album to be certified gold. They went on to become the first rap artists to collect two gold albums and a gold and platinum album simultaneously. (Powell 247) As for women in the rap world, Queen Latifah and the group Salt-n-Pepa were some of the successful ones. (Powell 252) A group from Los Angeles called N.W.A had an album released in 1988 called Straight Outta Compton. It was a collection of raps concerning life on the streets and suggested reality to many. (Sullivan 203) N.W.A was considered to be very successful. Their album eventually turned into a movie that was a hit in theaters. 16 members of the Celebrity 100- Forbes’ annual list of the top-earning celebrities- are women. (Berg) It may not be a lot, but it is definitely progress.
Entertainment is a part of most people’s day to day lives. Going back in time, there were very few women and minorities in the entertainment industry. This has changed drastically from the past to present day. To conclude, diversity in women and minorities in the movie, television, and music industry has progressed a lot over the years. They are seen playing main roles in big movies and television shows. Also, many top artists in the music industry are women and minorities. The entertainment world is a key part in today’s society.
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