Media Analysis Of The Films The Breakfast Club And Indiana Jones Temple Of Doom: Is Culture And Race Impacting Our View On Media?

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Literature Review
  3. Film Analysis
  4. Conclusion/Discussion
  5. Reference Page


This project allowed me to get in depth with two movies, The Breakfast Club by John Hughes and Indiana Jones Temple of Doom by Steven Spielberg. This project mainly focused on how gender, class, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation is pictured throughout the movies. By just having an understanding of the different sociological concepts portrayed in these movies, you can further have a good idea of people’s perspective on the society according to human personalities.

Having a good understanding on these topics is very important in our society today. Our society is surrounded with these four components in everyday life. There are many different sociological insights presented in these movies. Some of the most obvious one that are show through the movie are different types of stereotypes about gender and sexualism about women over men. Even though these movies are extremely different, there are still similarities between how the men and women characters are represented.

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Learning the cultural stories that permeate our media institution is very necessary to understand so you know the behavior of the people around you and their actions. Having a good understanding about this will help everyone by building a connection and realizing why these actions are being taken place. If you are able to point out the stereotypes in these movies and understand the differently sociological parts, you can apply it to your daily life to understand how people act. Since both movies are old, the way people behave is different than what is shown in the movies today. It was very interesting being able to see and learn the differences of how people acted back then compared to today, but also how it is the same.

Literature Review

According to Kellner, he believes that media helps us change or adapt our view of the world and its values. Kellner mentioned audience reception and use of media culture. This part of the article explains that different types of culture, race etc. “…read texts differently, and cultural studies can illuminate why diverse audiences interpret texts in various, sometimes conflicting, ways” (Kellner 2001).This shows that our culture and race can affect the way analyze texts and other readings. It is important that you understand how difference races will and can impact the way another person analyzes media in our society. This can be helpful when you are building relationship with someone with a different background than you, to understand them and their viewpoint.

In Katz reading, different cultures impact on the way gender is shown in our society. Katzs used a good example of violence shown throughout media. “Violence in the “real” world fails to include an analysis on gender” (Katz’s 1995). When you see any news about either a shooting or any type of violence’s, your brain first thinks of a white male doing this. This is because the culture or the setting that we are in is highly impacted by it. “violence is genetically programed male behavior” (Katz 1995). Our community and the culture around us have set the mind set of people to immediately think of white male when it comes to violence.

According to Klein, Violence is all around the media and weather it is visual or verbal. Media is only talking about certain groups and they are many groups are underestimated and not respected. This reminds me on cliques in high school. Certain groups are given more importance while the other groups are left out. Race and culture can also be another factor of doing this. If there is a certain race or culture in a group that is underrepresented, they might be left out because they don’t fit in the normal norm. “Ostensibly, the contention is that, by rarely or never showing certain types of persons, the mass media, as cultural mechanisms, systematically dispense with imagery and messages associated with these types of persons and, in the process, send a symbolic message to viewers readers about the societal value of the persons comprising that group” (Klein 2009). This support that they are left out because of their race and cultural back group because they portray a certain “message” to the society.

According to Butsch, gender and class are shown in television shows and they also portrayed a bit of stereotype as well. Typically, when you think of a working wife, they fall under the middle-class stereotype. “Working-class wives, such as in Roseanne, who have to work to help support the family, were very rare” (Butsch 1995). In society today this is not true because there are a lot of wives who are working and also supporting their families in order to survive. This puts importance on class and gender. “They are dumb, immature, irresponsible or lacking in common sense. This is the character of the husbands…” (Butsch 1995). Once again where there is a stereotype of the husband being childish and the women being mature and going to work and running the family.

Lastly, in Wiersma reading, she talks about how gender messages are portrayed in Disney films. “children are socialized not only into the rules of society but also into how they should act based on their sex” (Wiersma 1999). From the beginning, children are taught the difference between boys and girls. They have been given set instructions that boys like blue and play with trucks and motorbikes. On the other hand, girls are instructed to like pink and play with dolls and barbies. Males and females are still being outnumbered in cartoons as well. “Males outnumber female voice overs on television commercials and female characters in television cartoons have fewer lines” (Wiersma 1999). This happens because we have gender stereotypes in our society. The stereotype for females is that they are “affectionate, emotional, sensitive and they express romantic interests.” On the other hand, you see males being masculine, heroic and just manly. This shows how gender differences are shown in television.

Film Analysis

This first movie I watched was The Breakfast Club by John Hughes. Each student in the movie had different traits that lead them to fit into a certain stereotypical group. One of the most stereotypical examples that was portrayed in the film was that the “criminal” in the movie had a perspective of the popular girl that she is virgin and also a daddy’s girl in order spends all his money to get anything and everything she wants. Another example is Allision. She is described as the “basket case” throughout the movie. When someone thinks of a female character, there are many different images that come to the mind. However, Allison would be described as someone totally different. She dresses like a goth and wears black and baggy clothing all throughout. Claire who is the “princess” in the movie feels that she does not have much of feminine look and decides to give her a makeover to change her appearance. This shows that sometimes people are not as satisfied with their look and want to be what everyone else thinks they should be.

This film did not show any diversity at all. There was not a single character of any different race than a white American. Keeping in mind that this movie was released in 1985, there are many differences that come to mind comparing this to the other movies today. There was a lack of diverse actor or did the director do this on purpose? The director might have made a subconscious decision of the actor he chose in this film. This movie also did not show much of a sexual orientation knowing that everyone in the movie was straight. This can also be because people did not have much information about different sexual orientations, or they had a negative perspective on it. As you continue to watch the movie, you notice that it is very male dominate. The men in this movie objectify the women by showing that they have more power. You constantly see the men putting down the women and speaking over them. For example, when Claire is having a disagreement with the “criminal” Bender, she suddenly stops talking because she does not know how to further continue the conversation. This is when we see one of the male students in the movie stepping in the conversation. This shows that she was helpless and needed assistance of someone else to support her argument.

Last but not least, class has a huge role in The Breakfast Club. The way they dressed, the car they were driving, and if they pack lunch or not, all concluded to their class status. It was easy to identify that Claire had a higher-class status than Bender, the “criminal”. Claire got everything and anything that she needed/wanted. She didn’t need to try hard in class whereas Bender had to try hard but wasn’t at all. He was very lazy and did not care much about his education. The reason the characters act different is because of their family situations and the opportunities available to them because of that.

The next movie I watched was Indiana Jones Temple of Doom by Steven Spielberg. This movie showed many different examples of sociological insight. To start with, there were many different stereotypes about gender presented in this film. One of the main characters Willie, who is a female, she is shown as someone who fits the stereotype of a blonde female. They are portrayed as being “dumb” and often objectified. In the movie, Indiana jones, who is the main male character, threatens Willie with a knife so that the other men will get scared for her and give him the antidote. This shows that Willie was used as an object in order for him to receive what he wanted. Also, towards the beginning of the movie, a group of female dancers performed for mainly men at a restaurant. They are being used as a form of entertainment for the men in order to keep them satisfied. A lot of the scenes in this movie make the main female character, Willie, appear weak and ditsy and make the main male character, Indiana Jones, appear heroic and a protector. There was a lot of diversity presented in this film. The two main races that were shown throughout the movie were white American and Indian. Both racial groups have equal power throughout the movie, however towards the end the, Americans have more power. This is shown when they escape from the temple where they were being held. However, the Indians had some type of power when they first kidnapped the Americans and kept them in the temple. In this movie, there was not any discussion of sexuality. This is mainly because of the time period this movie was filmed in. Sexual Orientation wasn’t really a topic that was openly talked about which is why the director decided to not include it.

Last but not least, class status is shown with many examples in The Temple of Doom. One of them being when Willie and the other characters visited the village and stayed there for the night. The villagers welcomed them in a respectful manner and provided them food. However, Willie was very hesitant of eating the type of food they offered. This shows that she was very judging of the class level they belonged to and what she came from. Another example is when Willie realizes that she had a hole in the dress she was wearing, she started to explain and also mention that she had bought it from Paris. This shows that she represented some qualities that belonged to a high-class person.


To conclude, this project for was important to do to have an appropriate understanding the society we live in today. This topic can be connected to many things such as the different stereotypes that are put on the media and how people respond to those stereotypes. Everyone today judges and makes assumptions about people they see. We usually make these statements according to what race they are, what they are wearing and how they behave in the society. This can sometime have a negative impact on the person being judged.

My results are important to me because it made me view movies in a different perspective. Usually when watching movies, people don’t analyze for a particular topic rather they watch for enjoyment. This made me focus on the different aspects show in the films such as men being heroic and powerful and females being traditional and sensitive. The job of the media is very critical in our society because it shows the society how they and others are being viewed by someone else.

My results support Kellner’s works as well. Kellner had proved that the text shapes and builds the viewers theories and actions. When watching the films and reading the text, there were many points where I would strongly connect with what is happening and what is said. This proves that media has an impact on our performance every day.

If I had the opportunity to do this study again, I would choose an older movie and a modern movie to compare and contrast the growth of different types of sociological characteristics. It was very interesting and challenging at some points to watch a movie with having a motive in mind rather than just for some entertainment. I would also choose a movie that I have not already seen. The Breakfast Club was a movie that I had previously watched so I already had an understanding of the movie. However, watching the Temple of Doom was much challenging because it was a movie I had not watched prior to this project. After completing this project, I feel confident in viewing sociological insight in the media.

Reference Page

  1. Kellner, D. (2001). Cultural studies, multiculturalism, and media culture. In M.G. Durham & D. Kellner (Eds.), Media and cultural studies: Keyworks (1-13). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
  2. Katz, J. (1995). Advertising and the construction of violent white masculinity. In G. Dines & J. Humez (Eds.), Race, Gender, and class in media: A text reader (133-141). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
  3. Klein, H. & Shiffman, K. (2009). Underrepresentation and symbolic annihilation of socially disenfranchised groups (‘‘out groups’’) in animated cartoons. The Howard journal of communications, 20, 55-72.
  4. Butsch, R. (1995). Ralph, Fred, Archie, and Homer: Why TV keeps recreating the working class baffoon. In G. Dines & J. Humez (Eds), Gender, race, and class in media (403-411). London: Sage Publications.
  5. Wiersma, B. (1999). The not-so-wonderful world of Disney: An exploratory content analysis in full length animated feature films. The Great Plains sociologist, 11(2), 55-72. 44-71.
  6. Hughes, J., Friesen, G., Meyer, A.,Tanen, N., Estevez, E., Gleason, P., Hall, A. M., Kapelos, J., Nelson, J., Ringwald, M., Sheedy, A., Vance, M., Forsey, K., Allen, D., Corso, J. W., & Del Ruth, T.(2015). The Breakfast Club. 30th anniversary edition. Universal City, CA: Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
  7. Spielberg, S., Slocombe, D., Lucas, G., Marshall, F., Huyck, W., Katz, G., Watts, R., ... Paramount Home Entertainment (Firm),. (2008). Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Hollywood, Calif: Paramount Home Entertainment.
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Media Analysis Of The Films The Breakfast Club And Indiana Jones Temple Of Doom: Is Culture And Race Impacting Our View On Media? (2021, August 23). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 13, 2024, from
“Media Analysis Of The Films The Breakfast Club And Indiana Jones Temple Of Doom: Is Culture And Race Impacting Our View On Media?” Edubirdie, 23 Aug. 2021,
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