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Mimicking an Image in Hopes of Gaining Popularity

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  1. What does it mean to be cool?
  2. In reality there is less of a need for formal education given the influential nature of the media in the world today.
  3. There are several prominent movies that send these kinds of messages to the audience
  4. The Breakfast Club did show that everyone has characteristics similar to others.
  5. During a majority of the film Cher tries to teach Tai, the new un-cool student, how to be cool and popular.
  6. A more recent and perfect example of stereotypes and the image of cool is Tina Fey's 2004 screenplay, Mean Girls.
  7. Towards the beginning of Cady's induction into ?the Plastics,? Gretchen goes through all of the rules that must be followed in order to be able to sit with them at lunch.
  8. . The mass media has become a leading reference of how to act, dress, think, and feel.

The average American high school is a mecca of noticeable things. Among them is the most obvious and interesting. Take a walk into the cafeteria, try and find an empty table and sit down. Now look around. What do you think you will observe? It is not the disappointing cafeteria food, or the bland decorations; rather it is the glaring display of groups and divisions among the students. At one table there are the ?nerds? who have their noses in books, reading or doing homework. Across from them is the hippie table with students in tie-dye shirts that read, ?Grateful Dead. Still Alive.? Down from them is the table where colored clothes are not allowed, only black. The next table is full of the athletic guys wearing jerseys and chanting loudly. There are also the tables with the students who fall short of fitting a distinct group. They are not unpopular but they are not popular either. Then there is the final table, which all the others seem to center around, the dream table. This table is where the most popular kids in school can be found. It is composed of the girls that all of the other girls want to be and all of the guys want to hook-up with. This cinematic image of a high school cafeteria may be considered a generalization or a stereotype. Unfortunately, this observation and assumption does not fall far from reality. Today, an average high school does has its noticeable divisions, although perhaps not to this extent, which separates the cool from the not cool.

[...] Wiseman's novel goes into detail about the concept of being ?inside the versus being ?outside the box.? In ?Mean Girls or Cultural Stereotypes,? an essay review of Marion Underwood's Social Aggression among Girls, Stacey Horn, a professor at the University of Illinois, describes the stereotypes in films by saying, ?These portrayals of social or relational aggression in the popular media paint a picture of girls gossiping, back-biting and manipulative, and try to make the case that this type of aggression is inherently female in nature? (314). [...]


[...] The portrayal of the cool in Clueless is based on the general image of being a snob, a rich stuck-up girl. Cher drives a new Jeep Wrangler even though she does not have her license yet. She has a large closet and a wide variety of designer clothes. She always has her cell phone with her and Dionne lets the audience know in the very beginning that she owns a pager. The audience is introduced to the idea that money is the key to being popular; money links to what a person can wear and own and possessions are portrayed as very important. [...]


[...] In the very beginning of the movie there is a voiceover reading what later will be revealed as an essay written by Brian in response to the question are What he reads is different than the actual essay written in the end. He reads, see us as you want to see us . in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at seven o'clock this morning. [...]

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