Sex, Violence and Hollywood

Tiffany Perez

August 6, 2012

Sex, Violence & Hollywood

Summer 2012


In a society driven by labels and stereotypes it has become increasingly difficult to pinpoint the difference between who and what is good and bad. For example, who is to determine the definition of what a good or bad girl is? Are there no exceptions to these defined roles? Or can they be challenged to prove that character assassination is taking place? This can be seen primarily in Hollywood films with females in lead roles such as, Pretty Woman, directed by Marshall in 1990 and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by Oplev in 2009.   At first glance it would seem as if both films would be rather similar in the portrayal of their lead female characters in that both roles involve troubled women, a prostitute and a gothic computer hacker. By solely describing the roles these characters play it would be safe to say the initial reaction or judgment of these lead female roles would be negative. Not by any means the type of role models you would want for future generations. Yet, it is very clear after watching both films that it is fairly easy to reverse, bend or contort these stereotypical roles of what “good” and “bad” girls should be. Due to issues concerning sexuality, gender and violence depicted by characters in Hollywood films, viewers create what is known as emotional investments that determine their fascination or repulsion to such characters.

It is all too easy to fall in love with any character played by the beautiful Julia Roberts. Not only is she pleasing to the eye but she is also witty, playful and what anyone would refer to as America’s sweetheart. Perhaps this is one of the leading factors in the actuality that her role as a prostitute is almost entirely overlooked as she is still seen as a “good girl”. In any other circumstance any woman who sold her body for a living would be looked at in a negative light. For some reason though, Julia Roberts is...