The Problem With High School Movies
“You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V. jocks, Asian nerds, cool Asians, varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don't eat anything, desperate wannabes, burnouts, sexually active band geeks, the greatest people you will ever meet, and the worst. Beware of the plastics.” This quote from the 2004 chick-flick Mean Girls has influenced people’s opinions about what the high school social hierarchy should be like when they enter. In reality, it is quite different than the average high school movie, but Hollywood would rather portray us differently than the annoying teens they think we are.
To give a sense of who high schoolers are, a band kid, a football player, and a robotics member were interviewed to gather their thoughts on the stereotypes that the media has placed on their roles at school and how it has affected them.
Senior Citlali Torres has been a violinist in the school’s band for a year now. Citlali states that usually, the typecast for band kids would be "that kids in band are super dorky, look dorky, are unpopular and only do just band." In reality, band kids display more characteristics than the classic nerds we see in our media. They are quite unique individuals who range from peaceful to crazy, sometimes screaming from the top of their lungs outside the band room. They also do other extracurriculars, such as football and cheer instead of restricting themselves to just playing an instrument as the media suggests. At first, Citlali had thought other band kids would be more intense, saying, “I don’t know why but I expected it to be more sophisticated, but then I realized that they were just kids so they’re gonna act like kids." She has learned her lesson, but she wonders why Hollywood hasn’t. She says that, “Society painted art and music to be nerdy, when in reality it isn’t. Without these dorky kids doing what they do, you wouldn’t see a lot of cool expressions come out of the students.”
Because he is a football player, other people expect sophomore Dominic Ventura to be dumb, have girls who want him, and guys who want to be him. According to the stereotype, his only personality trait would be that they play football. He wanted to prove that wrong. As someone who had been interested in football since he was four, the stereotypes never really affected him growing up, except for the fact that people think that players don’t care about anything but the sport. In fact, it's the complete opposite of that; he has a lot to care for, and his teammates are a part of that.
"There's a lot of communication going on, and you have to use a lot of teamwork, it's one of the reasons why I like this sport so much." The sense of camaraderie was noticeable at the homecoming game, when they pushed through together and JV won by a whopping margine of 52-15! Adding to that, the games are not as hyped up as they are in the movies, but they're interesting nonetheless. A piece of advice Ventura would like to give to Hollywood is that it'd be better off if "they showed players outside the sport, like checking grades, and actually getting along with everyone."
Finally, there's the Robotics member, Daniel Adrayan, who not only has to deal with the “nerd persona,” but also the Asian stereotypes that come with it. Growing up, he struggled learning to deal with the Asian stereotypes that he fit into: nerdiness, good grades, and heavy, practically unintelligible accents. Adrayan said that he thinks that, "It is offensive to not only myself, but to other people or it can just give too much expectations for other people to be like that." His tone clearly indicates that the stereotype is something he feels strongly about. Adrayan also adds that many people like to comment on it, and that it irritates him. He'd love for Hollywood to be able to lessen the emphasis on the movies that portray these stereotypes, and though they've had less and less over the years, those movies are cult classics in Hollywood's pop culture era. That makes it harder for these stereotypes to not perpetuate to the younger generation.
With pop culture writing more stories accurately about people of color, sports, and musically inclined students, the difersifying of media is definitely improving. Though these stereotypes will be present for a while, just know that these people don’t always fit into their stereotypes and have amazing personalities shown off in their respective hobbies. High school is about having fun, growing up, and creating your own identity, instead of fitting into the set personalities of jocks, band kids, and robotics members that the movies portray with such exaggeration. The overall objective is to be yourself, because that’s the most unique you’ll ever be.