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Backlash (sociology)

A "backlash" is a strong adverse reaction to an idea, action, or object. It is usually a reflection of a normative resentment rather than a denial of its existence. The term is commonly applied to instances of bias and discrimination against minoritized/marginalized groups.[citation needed] Many may confuse it with dislike of a particular idea, product or movement; but it really refers to the aversion to something that has gained a place in popular culture in a rapid, unexpected and exponential manner.

The backlash in the cinematographic culture, series or gamer, has its great detonating on the internet: a tool practically used by the entire population that has created a reciprocal relationship between the so-called hype and the backlash. The hype does not stop being a word that refers to the excessive advertising of a product that generates great expectations among its buyers.[1] Both he and the backlash, are two sociological elements that feed each other, that is, the production of one end generating that of the other. Therefore, it could be said that the great influx of expectations for a product (the hype), may end up producing the opposite effect in that group of people who do not feel part of the advertising movement, or who subsequently do not feel satisfied with the expectations generated (the backlash).

Possible causes of cultural backlashEdit

One of the main causes of backlash is the information overload or "infoxication" that exists in today's world. The society of today is characterized, according to many specialists, by receiving an amount of exaggerated information that cannot be consumed 100% in any way.[2] Even so, it is this facility to receive news that causes a large percentage of the consumers of television or cinema are informed about practically everything that happens in the future of a series or a movie. And if the news is positive and enthuses the audience, this can end up generating a series of expectations that later do not always have to be resolved.[3]

One of the other possible causes of cultural backlash is the power of critics in the technological society. Currently, the amount of reviews or professional opinions on a particular product is immense. These analyzes are available to almost everyone (from the American website Rotten Tomatoes, to the Spanish page FilmAffinity, for example); for that reason, in several occasions some films or series of television acclaimed by the critic end up suffering an opposite effect on the part of the general hearing, since not always the expectations that the professionals have generated them have been fulfilled. This could be the case of the American Hustle film, which received many positive reviews in its pre-release, but, on the other hand, its reception with the audience was quite cold, as explained by Flavorwire.[4]

The TV Tropes website states that, if the products affected by the backlash had been consumed individually and without any external context, the product would probably have satisfied the viewer, since there would be no predisposition to displease it.[5]

Lastly, it is important to mention another of the possible causes of the cultural backlash that different journalists have witnessed: the lack of mediocre opinions on social networks. The majority of comments that persist on social networks such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook stand out as being, or completely negative, or extremely positive. This, as explained in the portal Espinof, has ended up causing mediocrity go unnoticed by most users and only share this type of more extreme opinions. The editor of the article The backlash and the spiral of silence in Espinof states that the more hype a product has, the more susceptible to analysis and impatience it will be for its viewers; and, consequently, more possibilities will have to fail quickly.[3]

Cinematographic and television examples that have suffered backlashEdit

According to different media, one of the most controversial film cases that has suffered a certain backlash is the American film La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle. This film of the year 2016 premiered for the first time at the Venice International Film Festival on August 31 of that same year; and, from the first moment their criticisms came out, the vast majority were very positive. In fact, today continues to have a very high score on websites like Rotten Tomatoes (92% according to the criticism, 4.1 / 5 according to the public).[6]

During the first months of its debut and its subsequent release around the world, La La Land was receiving very good reviews and the word of mouth worked splendidly to the point of being nominated for fourteen Oscars, equaling the record of nominations of Titanic and All About Eve,[7] to seven Golden Globes and eleven Bafta awards, among others.[8]

In the first prize galas she triumphed, winning all the Golden Globes to which she was nominated (becoming the first film to do so) and winning five important Bafta statuettes; which began to become apparent in social networks with a big backlash towards the film.[9][10]

The majority of critics that the tape received focused on the way in which the American society of Los Angeles was reflected, concretely in what concerns the black community, the LGBT community, the lovers of the jazz and the women; and also in the fact that many users considered it boring, overvalued or too long, as opposed to what critics said.[11][12]

Finally, the day of the Oscars showed that all this backlash had ended up affecting the film in some way. Despite winning six of the most important statuettes, it could not take the most relevant of the night: The Best Film, though in most surveys it was the preferred one to achieve it.[13][14][15]

All this has led to believe that the backlash lived by La La Land ended up influencing the voting of the members of the Academy, as can be seen in the sincere statements that one of its partners made days before the resolution of the awards, saying that the film seemed like a nice movie, but not memorable, which is why I would not vote it as the best of the year.[16]

Another case, specifically television, which suffered a severe backlash from his followers was the US series The 100, produced by The CW. The backlash originated after the creator of the same product made the decision to liquidate one of the secondary characters of the series in the third season; this character is very special for the spectators precisely because of maintaining a homosexual relationship with the same protagonist.[17]

This decision made by the showrunner, Jason Rothenberg, was not accepted by practically any of the followers of the series, which had created a large number of expectations regarding the homosexual relationship. This not only caused immense discontent on the part of the spectators of The 100, but also generated a great wave of hatred in the social networks that resulted in: presence of the trending topic #LGBTFansDeservedBetter during numerous weeks, decrease in audience in the following episodes of the season, radical change of the score of the series on the IMDb page, and boycott its creator in all possible social networks.[18]

Rothenberg tried to explain why he had decided to take this fate for the character of the series, admitting that the actress who played it had a commitment to another show and that there was no other remedy.[19] Even so, fans continued indignant and they reiterated that there was no type of justification for the type of death to which the character had been subjected, especially after the expectations that the series had generated. Thus, the followers condemned the fact that the creator decided to end the life of the secondary character, taking into account what it represented for the LGBT community. They also argued that it was not the first time in a television fiction decided to end a lesbian relationship in such an abrupt way, giving as an example the relationship between Willow and Tara in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[20]


  1. ^ "Significado de Hype" [Meaning of Hype]. Significados (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  2. ^ "Desinformados por sobreinformación" [Uninformed by Overinformation]. La Vanguardia. 2011-12-11. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  3. ^ a b Izquierdo, Adriana (2013-11-19). "Diccionario televisivo: El "backlash" y la espiral del silencio" [Television Dictionary: The "backlash" and the spiral of silence]. Espinof (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  4. ^ "The 'American Hustle' Backlash and Why We Expect Too Much From Best Picture Nominees" [La reacción del 'Escándalo Americano' y por qué esperamos demasiado de los nominados a la mejor película]. Flavorwire. 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  5. ^ "Hype Backlash". TV Tropes. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  6. ^ La La Land (2016), retrieved 2019-06-04
  7. ^ "'La La Land' Ties With 'Titanic' and 'All About Eve' for Most Oscar Nominations" ['La La Land' se une con 'Titanic' y 'Hablemos de Eva' para la mayoría de las nominaciones al Oscar]. Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  8. ^ La ciudad de las estrellas (La La Land) (2016) (in Spanish), retrieved 2019-06-17
  9. ^ "Golden Globes: 'La La Land' Breaks Record for Most Wins by a Film" [Globos de Oro: 'La La Land' bate el récord de más victorias de una película.]. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  10. ^ Toussaint, David; Author, ContributorFour-Time; Writer, Longtime; Actor; Lover, Pug (2016-12-27). "Let The 'La La Land' Backlash Begin" [Que comience el Backlash de 'La La Land']. HuffPost. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  11. ^ Gittell, Noah (2017-02-06). "The La La Land backlash: why have critics turned on the Oscar favorite?" [La reacción de La La Land: ¿por qué los críticos la han convertido en la favorita de los Oscar?]. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  12. ^ Maddox, Garry (2017-02-22). "Oscars 2017: Five reasons the strange backlash against La La Land is just plain wrong" [Oscars 2017: Cinco razones el extraño backlash en contra de La La Land es simplemente errónea]. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  13. ^ Redacción (2017-02-20). "Oscars 2017: La quiniela de TELVA para los Premios Oscar 2017" [Oscars 2017: The TELVA pool for the Oscar 2017]. (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  14. ^ Belinchón, Gregorio (2017-02-27). "La quiniela de los Oscars 2017" [The pool of the Oscars 2017]. El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  15. ^ "Predicciones Oscar 2017: ¿qué película ganará?" [Oscar 2017 Predictions: what movie will win?]. vf (in Spanish). 2017-02-26. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  16. ^ "Best Costume Design - Oscar Voter Reveals Her Brutally Honest Ballot: Meryl Streep "Like a Clown," 'La La Land' "Not Memorable," 'Arrival' "Just Sucked"" [El mejor diseño de vestuario - Votante de los Oscar revela su lista de candidatos brutalmente honesta: Meryl Streep "Como un payaso", 'La La Land' "No es memorable", 'La Llegada' "Apesta"]. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  17. ^ "CW President Comments on The 100 Season 3 Creative Decisions & Fandom Backlash" [El presidente de CW comenta sobre Los 100, decisiones creativas de la temporada 3 y el backlash de los fanáticos.]. Den of Geek. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  18. ^ "Fans revolt after gay TV character killed off" [Revuelta de fanáticos después de que matan a un personaje televisivo gay]. 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  19. ^ Ryan, Maureen; Ryan, Maureen (2016-03-14). "What TV Can Learn From 'The 100' Mess" [Lo que la TV puede aprender del desastre de 'Los 100']. Variety. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  20. ^ "A major death on 'The 100' sparks massive backlash from queer fans" [Una gran muerte en 'The 100' provoca un backlash masivo de los fanáticos queer]. The Daily Dot. 2016-03-08. Retrieved 2019-06-17.

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