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How TV Shows and Movies Create Unrealistic Standards About High School

Image courtesy of YouTube

Image courtesy of YouTube

Image courtesy of YouTube

Anna Sanchez, Lifestyle Writer, Business Manager

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“Mean Girls” image courtesy of YouTube

With society’s fast-growing technological advancements, children are becoming more exposed to the world through television and film, and with this comes many false perceptions of life. More specifically, tv shows and movies today do not portray high school realistically. These include, but are not limited to, Clueless, Gossip Girl, Glee, Hannah Montana, True Jackson VP, and High School Musical.

I remember watching High School Musical when I was younger, and yes, I should have known that the movie – with people casually playing the cello on lunch tables during lunch – was unrealistic. Yet, this is what I thought high school was going to be like. Of course, as I got older, I woke up to the brutal realization that normal people do not randomly sing and jump from lunch table to lunch table. But still, I believed High School Musical represented the real high school experience, and I was not the only one.

“On my first day of freshman year, my facebook post was like,’This is nothing like high school musical!’” Senior Lillie Vasquez said. “I remember throughout my four years waiting like- ‘there’s gonna be a moment where I find a clique and we are all buddy-buddy until senior year-’ and this never happened.”

High School Musical was not the only concept that kids were believing to be true.

In movies and tv shows there is typically a clique of mean girls or boys who terrorize everyone on campus. I remember being terrified to attend health class during summer school before my freshmen year because of these expectations It would be my first official time on a high school campus where I, the “fresh meat,” would be surrounded by older and taller kids who, to me, had always been portrayed as the big, bad monsters you don’t even make eye contact with in the halls- unless you want to get beat up, shoved in a locker, and suffer from social betrayal for the rest of your high school years.

Again, I realized that was not the case. Maybe FUHS is merely an anomaly from the typical high school campus, but I do not know any mean cliques that go around shoving their classmates in lockers or throwing slushies at innocent freshmen (Glee) just for making eye contact with them. For the most part, everyone is kind and supports each other, even the kids with “nerdy” hobbies such as playing with Rubik’s cubes and participating in cosplay.

“I thought it was gonna be like that [everyone being mean to each other], but here everyone hangs out together. You just kind of know everyone,” Vasquez said. “If there’s someone you don’t like, you just brush it off.”

Then, there are characters’ appearances. The characters that are suppose to be playing high schoolers, in turn, end up looking like gods and goddesses, something no real high schooler resembles, due to them being older than any high schooler out there, and having a team of professional makeup and hair stylists helping them. High schools are suppose to be filled with acne, awkwardness, and braces. But on the screen, they look poised, extremely fit, and beautifully put together. High schoolers in real life look like they tried to be put together, but gave up trying halfway through the process, resulting in girls with full-faces of makeup and wearing pajamas.

“In every single high school movie I’ve ever seen they have cute outfits, and I’m pretty sure I’ve worn leggings for the last three weeks because I’m so done with school,” Vasquez said.

The last and final difference between real life and life in movies and tv shows is the partying.  I, personally, do not know any teenagers that go to full out ragers every weekend, all weekend long. Teenagers do not have the time to do any of that anymore, with school work, community service, and test prep to do instead.

“Between working and choir and being a part of the AVID program and in AP classes, I’m always doing something for school, rather than like hanging out with friends,” Vasquez said.

Now that you have gotten this far, you are probably asking why I am even writing this in the first place. I am writing this to reassure anxious teenagers that high school is nothing like that in the movies or tv shows. For the most part, high school is not about shoving people in lockers and idolizing the jocks and cheerleaders, as depicted in most high school movies and tv shows.

As said in Ghost World, “high school is like training wheels for the bicycle of real life,”(Ghost World); teenagers should not have to be afraid of this exciting new chapter of their lives.

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