This essay discusses an article written by Michael Parenti entitled Class and Virtue in which he critiques the film Pretty Woman released in 1990. Mr. Parenti provides an accurate assessment of the film. 

Parenti’s statement that “The entertainment media present working people not only as unlettered and uncouth but also as less desirable and less moral than other people” (343), is clearly reflected in the film’s main character Vivian Ward. Not only is she a working class woman but her work is prostitution, a profession which many deem amoral.    

In addition to the subject film of the article, he discusses three other feature length films, Treasure Island (1934, 1950, 1972), The Three Faces of Eve (1957), and A Woman Under the Influence (1974) in order to support his claim that Hollywood has a long and culture-influencing history of equating righteousness, good, and virtue with the wealthy middle and/or upper class. Parenti goes on to suggest that the 1980’s television series called The A Team is analogous to society itself by pointing out that the brains of the “team” are wealthy white males while the brawn is made up of lower class, unsophisticated people of color.

In conclusion, Parenti’s very correctly argues that both Hollywood film makers and television producers have a long history of reinforcing the stereotypes and bigotries of society.
Works Cited

Parenti, Michael. “Class and Virtue.” The World Is a Text: Writing, Reading, and Thinking About Culture and Its Contexts. Eds. Jonathan Silverman and Dean Rader. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2003. 343-45.

 

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