Pop-Culture Check: What About High Schools?

As I have said in the other post about high school, a lot of things I know about American culture I know through watching movies and series. One of the most fascinating parts when I was a little younger, was high school. On television, every high school looks the same. It doesn’t matter what type of show you’re watching: high schools have a solid sense of homogeneity among them. There are some ingredients always in the mix: at least one cheerleader walks around in her outfit, at least one reference to any form of sports is made, followed by a ‘Go random team!’ (‘Go one-legged beer drinking, wife hitting pirates!’) and some nerds fill up the screen. When I say nerds, I deliberately stick to the stereotype and do not mention the respect I have for people who study real hard.

What American pop culture had made me think American High School looks like

Even weirder, all those people appear to be around all the time. High school doesn’t seem to be just a school where you go from class first to last, it’s also where you perform, study and hang around. Please note that the high school I went to also had stereotypical groups, but those only existed from 9 to 3 and mainly by choice of clothing. There is rarely any hanging out after school, and if so, not stereotype-related. Big difference from the American version of high school.

I had the chance to visit my girlfriend’s old high school just after class. I had not seen all groups (funnily enough, for some reason during my tour, we missed out on the cheerleaders, maybe not as incidental as I’d thought), but again, I was glad I could confirm where the movies got their ideas from. The sports field was filled with guys in American football uniforms (go Vikings!), all around the main building people playing instruments were performing their band practice (go Noise!) and throughout the school, some students were still trying to up their grades (go Intelligence!). As with many things, it was very much fun to see how real life relates to pop culture.

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