A Popular Film Image of the Male College Student
Popular culture, at its core, portrays assumptions about our society and instills a shallow representation of ideas. Through television, social media, internet, and tabloids, popular media is able to spread information to the majority. From this point, the media promotes messages and presumptions about life. What comes along with popular media is a mass wave of misconceptions and fanaticized prescriptions of reality.
As a male college student, I have taken an interest in how the media portrays male college students as a whole. Male college students are shown in media as alcoholic guzzling jocks living for the weekend and partying. I don’t think that this idea of male students represents who I am and the vast majority of my male college peers.
The most popular representation of male college students comes from the infamous movie Animal House. This film depicts an outcast fraternity, Delta Tau Chi, which strives in non-stop partying, chasing women, and drinking booze. The fraternity is at odds with a fellow fraternity and the dean of the university. Through a series of clashes against the rival fraternity and campus faculty, Delta takes desperate measures to ensure that they are not dissolved by the university. The overall theme of the film pokes fun at college life and embraces a humor aspect of the college atmosphere. The underlining idea that the movie promotes is that college is a fun place where a male student can find a clan of other male peers like himself and have the time of his life partying and chasing girls. As a viewer, of Animal House, I do admit that the film is a successful piece of comedy, but it does not account for real circumstances in the life of a college student.
The next film that caught my attention, Neighbors, embraces a more modernized depiction of a fraternity in a typical suburban neighborhood. In the plot of this movie, the next door neighbors of the frat house is a young couple who has just had a newborn child. Conflict arises between the two households because the fraternity house continually hosts obnoxiously loud parties which irritates the couple and wakes their newly born child. The tension between these neighbors leads to both sides sabotaging each other’s property in attempts to demand respect. What I found interesting about this film was the choice of character use. The film exhibits the newlywed father as goofy overweight Jewish male. The male fraternity president, the antagonist, is a chiseled Caucasian male with tan skin, blue eyes, and a tattoo of the Greek fraternity symbol. The film equates college life to drinking, partying, and chasing girls. As a college student, I find no similarities to the lifestyle that the characters live in the film. I don’t find consistent theme of daily partying to be accurate in reality of my experience as a college student.
The last movie that drew my interest was the 1994 film named PCU. The center of this story revolves around a high school senior who visits a potential university that he may attend. When he arrives on campus, he is immediately immersed in the vivacious environment of PCU. During his stay at the University, he rooms with a fraternity full of party animals, alcoholics, and pranksters. The high school senior is led by a member of the fraternity named Droz Anderson. Droz is depicted as a 7th year senior who has not really gained anything from college besides partying and drinking. The rest of the individuals in the fraternity are shown as slobs and girl chasing drunks. This film, like both of the previous movies, does not represent male college students in reality. It solely focuses on aspects of partying, drinking, and sarcastic dialogue.
The assumptions that popular media suggests about male college students do not reflect the same image in reality. In real life, college students do not have the luxury to party 24/7 and not study for any classes. Real college students have to dedicate time to their studies, work, sports and other endeavors during their time in school. The media’s role in the representation of male college students is not showing the true image of the average male student.
What I have learned from this project and throughout this term is that pop culture uses media as a tool to manipulate the consumer into thinking that they have to live up to the standards of what is displayed. There are many misinterpretations that are promoted through screens, magazines, social media, and the internet. It is imperative for viewers to receive the messages from pop culture in a critical matter. Consumers must learn to question and inquire the background of advertisement, mass messages, and information promoted by media.
1. Animal House, Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, Chris Miller, John Landis, Ivan Reitman, Matty Simons, National Lampoon 1978,http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077975/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_wr#writer(n.d.).
2. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://www.stumpedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/AnimalHouse.jpg
3. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://www.stumpedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/AnimalHouse.jpg
4. Neighbors, Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Good Universe and Point Grey Pictures, 2014, http://www.neighbors-movie.com/
5. PCU, Adam Leff, Zak Penn, Hart Bochner, Twentieth Century Fox, 1994, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110759/