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How Entertainment Impacts Viewers: ‘Force That Shapes The World’

Photo by Bastian Riccardi via Unsplash

How Entertainment Impacts Viewers: ‘Force That Shapes The World’

By Movieguide® Contributor

A new book explores the impact movies and TV shows have on viewers, from clothing and hobbies, to boosting economies. 

“You Are What You Watch — How Movies and TV Affect Everything” is a new book from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Walter Hickey. It presents the real-world changes that come about after a movie or show skyrockets in popularity. 

“[TV and movies are] how people can learn new things about themselves,” Hickey said in an interview with Yahoo. “[It’s] a way to develop a sense of empathy [and] perhaps most importantly, a force that shapes the world.”

Some examples he provided included the popularity of archery among women following THE HUNGER GAMES and the sales boost Vans received after characters on SQUID GAME wore the company’s white slip-on shoes. 

The impact isn’t limited to consumer habits. Hickey also reported that JAWS caused a 50% decrease in “the shark population in the waters off the northeast United States…as testosterone-fueled trophy hunters took to the sea.”

The popularity of Japanese anime and manga cartoons has boosted the country’s economy — 66% of all global animation comes from Japan — and has made Japanese one of the most popular languages to learn. 

“The fact that making art and telling stories has power isn’t shocking in the slightest,” Hickey explained. “But it illustrates how the stories we tell each other reflect the core of what we are as a society and our very accomplishment and ambition as a species.”

Many others have explored the connection between movies and television and our society. One study by University of Iowa psychology professors Brad Bushman and Craig Anderson found that “violent media make[s] people numb to the pain and suffering of others.”

These findings show how important media discernment is today, as young people are bombarded with shows and movies that showcase violent and excessive behavior.  

Movieguide® previously reported:

We must increase our media discernment right now as mainstream outlets, social media platforms, and well-meaning friends and colleagues circulate links about current events.

Movieguide® founder Dr. Ted Baehr states that viewers should be mindful of three key things:

(1) the medium of entertainment they are consuming;

(2) their cognitive abilities; and,

(3) the values of both the medium they are consuming and biblical values.

As Christians, we need to exercise discernment to vet through the scads of articles and content we see each day.

4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.