The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
The avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.
These two ideas are focused on the same outcome. The James Bond movie "You only Live Twice"; The parody of the American West "Blazing Saddles"; and Team America World Police are considered three of the most politically incorrect movies ever made. https://www.watchmojo.com/video/id/15701/
Choose one of these movies and critically assess the content with the theory and understanding you have learned in this unit. Ultimately, considering the back lash of political incorrectness and lack of diversity, could this movie be made today?
Watch Idris Elba: Speech on diversity in the media and films
then analyse what he says using three movie references of your choice to support his thoughts.
Examples of lack of diversity are usually in older movies as funding for movies blatantly flouting community views are unable to find funding today. Investment in politically incorrect movies negatively affects brands.
The Concept of Diversity in Movies
The cultural appropriation of the character played by an artist in a movie is one of the important facet in the understanding of the plot of the movie. The ways in which the actors are illustrated have a striking impact on the audience regarding the culture presented in the movie. The cultural appropriation and the representation of the characters are done to show the dexterity of the information given by the different characters (Tryon 2013). The various movies in the different contexts show how people of a variety of ethnicities behave in certain situations.
The movie revolves around James Bond going to Japan for solving at least regarding missing spaceships. The American spaceship by NASA is hijacked and it is seen to be a crime done by the soviets. The British think otherwise as the ship had landed in the south Japan Sea. So they intend to send the trusted agent change font to investigate the case. James Bond fans his death and entrance Japan searching for the last spaceship. In his quest he faces tough competition from the Japanese secret service. The tensions rise when one of the Russian spaceships is also hijacked in this time. It is gradually seen that the whole lot was the handy work of an organisation named Spectre working at the command of the Chinese government. The organisation intended to start a war between the Soviet and the America by causing this tension among the two countries. However with the help of Japanese secret service and the Agents James Bond is able to avoid the tragedy and kill Blofeld, who is the mastermind of this operation (Gilbert 1967).
The Japanese culture shown in the movie You Only Live Twice is not very appropriate in the modern context. The questions can be raised about the portrayal of James Bond himself in the movie. The cultural and the racial stereotypes that have been presented in the movie show a very constricted thought process by the narrator. The overall portrayal of the character in movie also helps in the understanding of the plot. In the case of cultural diversity the movies are important as they act as a window to the world into the different cultures. Wrong or ill portrayal of a certain culture with stick around with it for a long time and that affects the cultural identity of the country. It is necessary to mention that James Bond You Only Live Twice is one such movie. Based on Ian Fleming novel the script was written by Roald Dahl but it was also considered by him as one of his flawed works. In many ways to put off the Japanese in You Only Live Twice is very offensive for the people in Japan. Mostly the portrayal is a reminiscent of the Japan that USA had seen during the world war. The country had developed a great deal during this time but that feels to show up in the movie. Moreover, the culture and the manners of James Bond while playing a Japanese version is also very offensive.
The Issue of Cultural Appropriation in Movies
The Japanese are considered a cultured class so value their economic and cultural heritage. The characterization and the rational roots shown in the movie do not go well with the polite and welcoming Japanese culture (Lehman 2013). The movie also strengthened the stereotypes that were present about Japan in the society. The stereotype which have been special attention is that almost every person in the movie knows martial arts but it is not show in Japan. Being in Japan does not make someone and title to learn martial arts it is as much otherwise there as it is in any part of the world. Moreover the woman in the movie as soon as early sexualized which is also a long term effect of the memories of American soldiers in Japan. When USA invited Japan they were a rich Orient you country and their culture that person then had been presented in the movie. The Japanese had set up brothers for the soldiers and that is the maximum idea that the makers had figured in the position of women in Japan. Contrarily, women in Japan are held in very high esteem and there are also cases of practice of matriarchy in the country. The attire to in the movie does not go well with the modern Japanese world. The Japanese like today when connected to the culture and ethnicity so they do keep their cultural heritage in practice. Still the movie showing most of the Japanese people wearing kimonos is a racial stereotypes which was presented in the movie. The over the top talking and the speaking style of James Bond in the movie too is very inaccurate and incorrect. In most places he is very over the top and brash in making statements.
On the other hand, Japanese are very polite people and they tend to respect their guests and compatriots all the same. One of the worst stereotyping and racist examples present in the movie is the language spoken by James Bond. The physical appearance and makeup with western to make him look like the Japanese is also offensive and very racially motivated. The presence of heavy set eyebrows so that is very true always must be found offensive by a lot of people in the Oriental countries. The movie is politically vary in a period in the Representation of the different characters. The woman that was shown in the movie and very submissive and they are kind of paid escorts in the story line (Collins, Collins and Radner 2012). While showing the Japanese culture it was not highlighted that Japanese value their culture and ethnicity highly choose to practice their culture of strong morals. In the movie it is also very evident that the gender roles are very constraint and limited to the power of the man. The woman in the movie have no role to play and are just objects for aesthetic beauty.
The treatment of Japanese women and women as a whole in the objective side as done in James Bond movie is highly unethical. Women in James Bond movie at just shown as the objects of lust extract uses other than that they have no aesthetic value to add to the beauty of the movie. The core trailer is flood in multifarious aspects and presents a lopsided view of a culture which is a growing global economy. They have been enough of racial discrimination and stereotyping in the movie to make the people feel that the portrayal was not very believable (Black 2013). The movie has portrayed the cultural Japan in a very negative way which can affect the ideology of the people about the Japanese culture.
Analyzing You Only Live Twice
One of the major issues in the misrepresentation in these movies are the wrong ideas that make people of a society have about a culture. Ensuring a certain country villain the directors and the writer stoop down to a limit where they disrespected a whole culture. The differences in between the ethnicity and overall daily values between the best in Japan have greatly affected the overall making of the movie (Buruma 2015). The portrayal of the villains of the tyrants and extreme people also has a negative effect on the rating of Ideas regarding the Japanese culture. These representation show the minimalist acknowledge that the west has about the Asian ethics and morals that are practiced in the society. The representation in the James Bond is the example of the hangover of colonial mind set and nostalgia of the time that the dishes had seen before the world war ended.
The movie also lacks a fluid plot line and a very loose script that does not do justice to the real understanding of the characters in the movie. Had this movie been made in the modern times it have come out as political incorrect and maligns the nation as a whole. The generalization and the stereo typing is rampant in the movie. It has to be understood that Japan is a culture of multiple people and societies coming from different ethnicities and it is wrong to present them in the format that was known to people around 200 years ago. Most of the things shown in the movie can be easily people by anyone knows a bit of Japanese culture and then heritage. Firstly The Women in the Japanese society are held very high and at a respectable position. Even the geishas and the prostitutes in the Japanese society but read it with respect. The women were never an object and given their due respect and their rights in every aspect in the society. The Japanese are highly culture people and their spoken language is polite words each other. It is also to be noted that it is not considered ethical in Japan to fight among people in public spaces.
The portrayal in the movie that causes a concern is the presence of The Ninja training centres. That Ninja training is one of a kind Martial Art training and even if they do exist in the modern society they are not practiced in a way that James Bond portrayed. Moreover there is an extreme objectification of the government in the society because in a dialogues responses in Japan men come first and women come second. This very statement is very deteriorative and decorated remark made towards the women in the society. The racial stereotyping and reinforcing the ideas that may be present about a certain culture or ethnicity is very negative for a movie with the Global approach. James Bond is a huge franchise watched all over the world by millions of fans. There should be a moral responsibility of the movies to stick to it as far as they can. Is it was said by Virginia Woolf in one of her books that fiction cannot exist without facts, the better the facts are the stronger is the fiction. The movie however sticks to completely fictional approach and delves interracial and stereotypical representation of people of certain ethnicity. The movie also chooses to present the marginal society which they want the world to see as the negative one to The Western thinking. The makers choose to ignore the rich cultural heritage and failed to detect the local ways of life (Lammers 2017).
It is also to be argued that the maker of a movie has the responsibility of the perfect portrayal of the culture in which the plot is based. However this does not stand route in the case of You Only Live Twice as the timeline in which the movie is made the Japanese culture was very different from what is presented in the movie. In the 60s and 70s the Japanese economy was a booming economy and they had acquired the western culture as they work culture is to be at par with the development in the global society. The dress up and the attire that is shown in James Bond is still worn by the Japanese society but that is only for special purposes such as marriages and religious gatherings (Hendry 2012). The movie however fields to understand the variety of the Japanese culture and presented unbiasedly on the screen.
To conclude the discussion it can be said that gives want is a movie which despite being entertaining fails to stick to the facts. Rather it chooses to manipulate the facts and present the society based on the stereotypes and the prejudice is present in the mind of the people. The movie which should debunk the stereotypes by presenting a real idea of societies cheeses to reinforce it. It would have been acceptable had it been a satire to the society but James Bond tries to create thrillers out of the contemporary global political situations in that case the culture of the very country is also very important.
Black, J., 2013. The reality effect: Film culture and the graphic imperative. Routledge.
Buruma, I., 2015. A Japanese mirror: Heroes and villains of Japanese culture. Atlantic Books Ltd.
Collins, J., Collins, A.P. and Radner, H., 2012. Film theory goes to the movies: Cultural analysis of contemporary film. Routledge.
Gilbert, L. 1967. You Only Live Twice (1967). [online] IMDb. Available at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062512/ [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].
Hendry, J., 2012. Understanding japanese society. Routledge.
Lammers, D.N., 2017. Taking Japan seriously. In Asia in Western fiction. Manchester University Press.
Lehman, P., 2013. Masculinity: Bodies, movies, culture. Routledge.
Tryon, C., 2013. On-demand culture: Digital delivery and the future of movies. Rutgers University Press.