Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date

2017

Abstract

Viewers’ interpretations of romantic relationships portrayed between those with anxious and avoidant attachments can affect their opinions on what constitutes appropriate relationship behavior. I conducted a literature review on media impacts and offer an interpretation of the implications of the language used to describe characters, relationships and characters’ ends. The films studied - Sunset Boulevard, Sid and Nancy, and The Hustler - showed a pattern where in a relationship between an anxious and an avoidant character, the anxious character was punished, absorbed by their relationship, abandoned, trapped in their life, and cut off from the world. Viewers watch films to learn the norms of their community (Levy, 1990), and an idealization of avoidant behavior, coupled with negative portrayals of romantic anxiety could lead to harmful beliefs about love. Further studies using questionnaires and focus groups are recommended to better understand the impact of these messages, viewer awareness, and sources of exposure.

Keywords

Attachment styles; Media effects; Domestic violence; Interpersonal violence; Film studies

Disciplines

Communication | Critical and Cultural Studies | Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence | Film and Media Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Psychology | Sociology of Culture

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Reflective Essay

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