High School Movies and the School System: How Alike Are They, Really?

When I was 10 years old, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Having been raised on such iconic movies as Mean Girls and Easy A, my prepubescent mind couldn’t wait to break free of the confusing fog of preeteen angst and graduate into the mystical, rebellious, sexy world of public high school. For the next three years, I laid on my couch at home staring up at the ceiling romanticizing what my life would be like when I finally crossed that bridge, the rebellions I would lead, and the accomplishments I would achieve.

Imagine my horror when, at the awkward, gangaily, still pathetically underdeveloped age of 13, I was bustled into a new school in a completely new educational environment with 120 of my fellow schoolmates, just as awkward and angsty and ganguly as I, and told to fend for myself. Suddenly, my outlook on life was looking a lot less like loner-rebel Cady Heron’s epic battle against Regina George and the Plastics and a lot more like the melody of High School Never Ends by Bowling for Soup.

Needless to say, I wanted my money back.

So, how did I get to this point? How did my fantastical, angsty dreams of leading a teenage rebellion against the system get smacked in the face with a healthy dose of much-needed and painfully deflating reality?

The answer, I’ve found, is quite simply: reality isn’t a movie, though, with the astronomically high expectations the mass media puts into making fantastical portrayals of reality, and these being the only portrayals of reality preteens’ receive until entering into the system themselves, one can not necessarily be faulted for thinking it is.

Don’t misunderstand me, I loved these movies when I was a tween, and still do today. However, I acknowledge that two-dimensional copy-and-paste cardboard cutouts of reality put forth unobtainable and dangerously high standards for impressionable boys and girls that could potentially negatively impact them for years to come. Having a realistic, relatable mediator to this outpouring of fluff could be a positive balance to this.

Now, at the much more realistic and slightly less romantic age of 18, I propose that rather that directors and scriptwriters focus their energies on making movies that portray the high school experience as both funny and relatable, engaging and realistic. amounts of time, energy and money making two-dimensional copy-and-paste cardboard cutouts of reality that put forth unobtainable and dangerously high standards for impressionable boys and girls

Now, are there people that still follow the traditional high school stereotypes—the Jocks, the Geeks, the Amusing But Cripplingly Unsocial Nerds—of course! But they’re also all people too.         

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