High School Through the Eyes of the Media

Throughout the years many movies have been created about high school, and the way media portrays them often show patterns.

The first showing of a high school on-screen dates back to the 1950s and since then has come a long way, most booming in the 2000s with movies such as Mean Girls, High School Musical, and Teen Beach Movie. But how do these movies differ from their real-life counterparts, and why does the media choose to portray high schools in this type of light? 

One of the many stereotypes that are shown in these movies is one where multiple cliques exist inside the movie. The jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, and so on. Many of these movies show these cliques and give the sense that in school it depends on your wealth and popularity, rather than things like personality. Another stereotype shown in movies is one of teen love. The movies make it seem that high school is easy and that teen love is a very important part of the experience when in fact, it is not all that important. 

Why does the media choose to portray high schools in this light? Media sometimes chooses to do so to make the movie more entertaining. When looking at a typical day in a high school student’s life, one might find that it is not all that exciting, and is just a normal school day. Media also wants to portray high school as a fun experience for people such as middle school students that do not have older siblings to tell them what it’s like. 

In most movies students are shown as having flawless skin, perfect bodies, and looking very grown up. Why? Because they are adults, many actors who play teens in movies are in their late 20s, or early 30s. Rachal McAdams who played Regina George, was 29 when filming Mean Girls. One of the more down-to-earth movies about high school, Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone – 19 at the time – is about a 15-year-old girl in a high school. Rewatching movies you can notice how Clueless is a lot closer to the normal life of a high school student. It shows things such as bad grades, boy drama, and not having as many friends. 

Even though these stereotypes can be harmless they can put the wrong image of high school into kids minds. Kids can see high school as a clique place where saying the wrong thing can get you bullied. It also shows a false sense, when classes take up most of our day, most of the day in movies is spent elsewhere mostly at the mall. If and when classes are shown they are showcased for just a short few minutes. 

Media should never be taken as 100% accurate, but is nevertheless entertaining.