Stereotypes in Film

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Stereotypes in FIlm
After examining the film “Mean Girls”, it can be observed that clear stereotypical gender roles and social class distinctions still exist in contemporary western society. As described by Judith Andre in her article in the Pearson Anthology, a stereotype is a “conventional, formulaic, and usually oversimplified conception, opinion or belief” (60). In other words, a stereotype is an opinion or belief about anything that is so rigid, it can be generalized to the entire population it is describing and it is so simplistic that it can be hard to be proven wrong. One must not confuse a stereotype with a generalization though. The key thing that differentiates the two would be that a stereotype reflects an unwillingness to change one’s mind despite evidence to the contrary while a generalization can and will be swayed when presented with new facts and data.

The film “Mean Girls” describes the life of a homeschooled girl from Africa, Cady, transcending from her confront and tranquil life in Africa to the “Real World”. This film is a perfect example of how stereotypes fit into the western contemporary life style because of its crude humor and portrayal of the typical teenage life. In terms of social class, this film takes the hierarchy of western society (job positions, financial status, etc.) and places it in a high school creating this outlandish, but somewhat true portrayal of how life is for a typical teenager. These different “social classes” or cliques are all based off of different stereotypes created over the years. On Cady’s second day in a normal high school, her friend Janice created a seating chart for the cafeteria categorizing where to sit and where not to sit by the different cliques, going anywhere from the “Smart Asians” to the “Overly sexually active band geeks” to the “worst people you’ll ever meet (the Plastics)” and depending on where you are categorized into is where you sit for the rest of your high school life. Andre...
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