Tara Rajan, MBA ’21: Lights, Camera, Impact: Entertainment as a Tool for Social Change | Summary and Q&A

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April 9, 2021
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Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Tara Rajan, MBA ’21: Lights, Camera, Impact: Entertainment as a Tool for Social Change

TL;DR

Entertainment has the ability to impact what we believe we can achieve, influence our empathy for others, and even change our behavior.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How does entertainment impact our self-perception and what we believe we can achieve?

Entertainment plays a significant role in shaping our beliefs and aspirations. Lack of representation can limit our ability to envision ourselves in certain roles and professions. Conversely, diverse representation can inspire and empower individuals to pursue their dreams.

Q: Can entertainment increase empathy for others?

Yes, it can. Through relatable and well-developed characters, entertainment can help foster empathy and understanding towards people from different backgrounds and experiences. It has the potential to challenge biases and promote a more inclusive society.

Q: How does entertainment influence our behavior?

Powerful storytelling in entertainment can drive behavioral change. For instance, TV shows featuring organ donation storylines have been found to increase the number of registered organ donors among viewers. Entertainment can also educate and raise awareness, leading to positive actions and influencing societal issues.

Q: What are the potential risks of entertainment?

Entertainment carries the risk of perpetuating harmful stereotypes, normalizing injustice, and promoting negative behaviors. It is crucial for content creators and consumers to be aware of these risks and actively support more responsible and inclusive storytelling.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Entertainment, particularly film and television, has a profound impact on our self-perception and what we believe we can achieve.

  • The "Scully effect" demonstrates that diverse representation in entertainment can increase the desirability of STEM careers among women.

  • Entertainment also has the power to build empathy for others, as seen through the example of the TV show "Superstore" and its portrayal of an undocumented immigrant.

  • Furthermore, entertainment can actively influence our behavior, such as increasing organ donation rates or promoting important health screenings.

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