The Portrayals of Male College Students in Popular Media

Being a male college student, I see a lot of negative misconceptions introduced within Popular Culture outlets such as movies and T.V. shows.  These misconceptions are prevalent in almost every college themed movie these days.  The first movie I want to look at is “22 Jump Street,” a comedy about two undercover cops who infiltrate a college campus in search of an underground crime ring.  Even from this synopsis, one can conclude that some misconceptions will be made throughout this movie.  The idea of having an underground crime ring within the confides of a college campus is very unlikely from my point of view.  Most of the male college students are shown to be brutish tough guys that enjoy partying all the time.  This is a common misconception throughout all of the sources I will mention.  One thing that caught my attention was the section of Art students who appear in the film as mellow, and from my point of view, average college students.  These Art students are never seen going to parties/drinking/using drugs and maybe the producers of this film wanted to throw in a more typical set of students to take attention away from the stereotypical jock party animals.  A review from a popular movie review website called ScreenRant, states that “Jenko finds his place among the school’s frat boy jock elite.”  This relates exactly to my own ideas about movies portraying every college man as a frat boy jock.  The unreasonable outcomes that occur in regards to some of the scenes throughout this movie definitely fends of any sort of realistic beliefs stemming from this movie’s content.  Should movies that consist of these outrageous outcomes be taken seriously in their portrayals of male college students?

Zac Efron as a “Frat Boy Jock” in the movie “Neighbors”

Zac Efron as a “Frat Boy Jock” in the movie “Neighbors”

The next movie that forwards my point about misconceptions of male college students is called “Neighbors.”  This movie is about a college frat house that consistently parties next to the home of a couple with a newborn.  All of the male college students are so called “Party Animals” and have little respect for their surroundings.  There are no calm college students in this movie, which makes it seem as if every male college student acts in this fashion.  This is far from the truth and with the introduction of the newborn child, they take it into account at first, but completely disregard it later.  This makes it seem as if the college students have no compassion for anything besides partying.  A review of this movie from a website called The Wrap, uses terms such as “party monsters” and hints at the use of “beer and blunts.”  The review talks about how the frat boys “throw parties night after night,” which is a highly unlikely turn of events for people with college commitments.  Being a male college student, I know I would not have the time or energy to throw college parties every night.  I do like a certain aspect of this movie review however, that looks at the “interesting relationship…between slacker Teddy and studious Pete.”  One of the students in the frat house is actually worried about life after college, while every other student is only in it for the partying lifestyle.  This shows that some students in college are studious and work hard for what they have while others don’t.

The last movie I want to look at is “The Social Network,” because it gives a more accurate representation of college life (and when I say more accurate, I mean more accurate than the other movies).  “The Social Network” looks at the college life of the founder of Facebook in an attempt to reconstruct the events that happened alongside the creation of a great Popular Culture Outlet.  Some of the students are so called “Jocks” while some are considered to be “nerds.”  Having this diversity is more of a true thing for male college students.  Some male college students put their time towards working well academically while others choose to excel in sports.  This is a very accurate representation of male college students.  One interesting thing I noticed in this movie was the accurate portrayal of how much effort and time one must put in towards college work.  Most of the male students are seen staying up into the late hours of the night just to complete certain tasks.  I find myself working on assignments at all times of the day, which is accurately portrayed in this film.  There are a few out of the ordinary occurrences that happen throughout the film also.  A movie review from a website called PluggedIn shines light on these negative aspects about this movie.  A lot of threats are made from a couple of male students throughout the movie and some even lead to bodily harm and the use of firearms.  I know these things can happen, but from my perspective these threats occurred way more often than I would expect from a typical male college student.  This movie also introduced college parties, just like every other college movie these days.  According to the review, people “light up joints and/or cigarettes during a college party” and “lots of male characters, many underage, down everything from beer…to whiskey.”  This goes along with my idea of crazy college parties with underage drinking and drug use happening all the time.

I had many different learning moments throughout this term.  One of the biggest factors of my learning this term was the course blog posts.  These posts help further my understanding of the course content for each week and allowed for me to go out and think about the subjects instead of just reading them.  By looking at other people’s posts, I was able to see different perspectives regarding certain material and compare it to my thoughts.  These comparisons sometimes even changed my thoughts on the topic and I was able to reply to these people’s posts and tell them how their writing changed my way of thinking.  It was also beneficial having others look over my own posts and comment about what they thought about my ideas.  This system of giving and receiving feedback was very helpful in my understanding of the course content. These blog posts also helped us get ready for this Big Picture Blog Post project. Another significant learning tool in this class was the layout for this Big Picture Blog Post project.  First off, having a group that could provide feedback on every step of the way was a big help to my work.  Having the required group mentor meeting was a good way to make sure I was on track as well as everybody else.  I enjoyed the fact that we were assigned a research analysis worksheet that had us research primary sources for our identities well before the deadline of this project.  The annotated bibliography had us look at our secondary sources, which helped us further analyze our primary sources.

By Austin Viramontes

Bibliography

Kang, Inkoo. “Neighbors Review: Seth Rogen’s Suburbanites vs. Frat Boys Comedy is an Instant Classic.” The Wrap. 7 May 2014. Web. 21 July 2015.

Outlaw, Kofi. “22 Jump Street Review.” ScreenRant. 13 June 2015. Web. 21 July 2015.

“Will you be my friend?” PluggedIn. 1 October 2010. Web. 21 July 2015.

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3 thoughts on “The Portrayals of Male College Students in Popular Media

  1. I can not agree more with your post. Up to these days portrayals of college males are quite singular. It seems that media are very ignorant about what college male students are like or too lazy to investigate their time to find out. I was watching the movie “Grown Ups 2” and found the scene that a crowd of college boys fighting with each other preposterous. They seem overly energetic and annoyingly emotional. This is an absurd false interpretation. I myself have many friends in college that are calm, laid-back and down-to-earth. They are also smart and responsible which is the absolute opposite of the collage males in the movie.

  2. I agree with your post i personally have witnessed multiple unpleasant questions of the college experience. The portrayal of being male college student and an athlete such as myself has made me a bigger target. Which led to more stereotypes and misleading scenes that the media shows. Besides their are male nerds who stay home and do homework all day as well.

  3. Austin
    I agree that male students have been shown poorly in popular culture. I wonder when this stereotype came to be. Was it from a movie, show, or something else entirely? The one movie I can think about that has both sides of the male college student stereotype is “Revenge of the Nerds”. I honestly think that the male college stereotype keeps appearing is because it makes money. Overall, I think you nailed the nail on the head on the male college stereotype and I liked reading your post.

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