Homeless In Hollywood

Entertaining Ideas Of Homelessness Versus The Reality Of What We See Every Day

Entertainment media has given us unrealistic ideas of what to expect from individuals struggling with homelessness. If we don’t see a success story like Will Smith in the movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” then often we see a person who follows the stereotype: one who is crazy, on drugs, has raggedy clothes. These depictions lead us into dangerous territory, and we begin to see homelessness as existing in this neat, little box where people who are dressed nicely and own cars, or pets, or go to college, cannot be homeless. Both of these extremes are not representative of the middle and more common area, the real population that is struggling with homelessness. Homelessness for the sake of entertainment, as in The Jerk, Life Stinks and Curly Sue, has derogatory and dehumanizing portrayals that easily become the norm and quickly influence the public perception by perpetuating stereotypes. Constantly being exposed to these stereotypical portrayals of homelessness leads us to fall prey to adopting these problematic perceptions of it, which distances us from the issues that most need our attention and empathy.

We constantly see portrayals of the way homelessness negatively affects our society, but rarely do we hear about how this situation affects those individuals who are struggling with it. Rarely do we hear their voices and stories that make us feel connected to their struggle.