What are at least three ethical issues displayed in the 2011 film, The Help? Please provide examples.

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One ethical issue portrayed in the movie The Help (2011) is the way in which parents neglect their children. For example, Elizabeth Leefolt ignores or humiliates her young daughter, Mae Mobley. Elizabeth's main interaction with her daughter is to disparage or discipline her, which Elizabeth's maid, Aibileen, sees but cannot comment on. Aibileen is not allowed to comment because she is African-American and Elizabeth is her white employer, creating a power dynamic in which Aibileen sees the way in which Elizabeth, who is suffering from postpartum depression, ignores her daughter but cannot voice her concerns.

Additionally, the way the maids are treated creates several ethical issues. Skeeter's mother, Mrs. Phelan, fires their long-time maid, Constantine, just because Constantine's daughter, Rachel, challenges Mrs. Phelan's friends about why they don't include her in their all-white organization, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and eats with the white women instead of staying with the African-American help. This is an ethical dilemma because Mrs. Phelan fires Constantine in an instant after Constantine has spent much of her life working for the Phelans.

Finally, while Skeeter achieves a great moral victory by publishing the stories of the African-American women and giving them a voice, her secrecy and anonymous publishing of these stories creates an ethical dilemma. Is she right to deceive her family and friends? Some readers might think so, but it is still an ethical question.