To Be Seen, To Be Heard: Hypervisibility of Underrepresented Minorities in Mainstream Hollywood Cinema Open Access

Gutierrez Aza, Carlos (Spring 2020)

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In the digital age, representation of minorities in film have reached a higher relevance in the field, with audiences demanding and pushing for better representation, and the industry responding accordingly. Recent backlash to scandals in Hollywood such as the #OscarsSoWhite movement allowed an even wider discussion around homogeneity in the industry. These commentaries engaged in what I propose to be a new process I called hypervisibility: a heightened scrutiny of diverse minorities on and off-screen based on the action and reaction from audiences and executives. This thesis seeks to define hypervisibility as a cyclical process by analyzing the online dialogue that arises from Hollywood’s recent move towards active representation. I will focus one respective chapter on the representations of gender, race, and sexual orientation, each as areas in which debates have been the most prevalent. These include the representation of femininity and feminist imagery, selective tokenism and the exploitation of historical instances, the exploration of sexual expression, and the depiction of romance. Through a historical events and business perspective, I seek to understand the idealization of diversity within Hollywood, which begs the question; how are minorities represented, and what do audiences think about them? I argue that the value of representation does not particularly come from within the screen and what is shown, but rather on the subsequent conversation that engages a discourse that seeks to understand different identities and continues to question: what does proper representation look like?

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Gender 11

Superheroes and Femininity: Female protagonists in Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel 13

Chapter 2: Race 36

Selective Tokenism and the Alternative: Race in Green Book and Roma 38

Chapter 3: Sexuality 64

Queer Filtering: Sexual Ambiguity in Brokeback Mountain, Moonlight and Call Me By Your Name 67

Conclusion 95

Bibliography 102

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