Pressure Of Conformity Essay

992 words - 4 pages

Anissa Nehls

The Pressure of Conformity

Throughout history, society's conception of women and their attributed behavior has changed quite frequently. Popular culture enforces idealistic views, pressuring girls to conform into stereotyped portrayals of the female gender. Seduced by these commonly approved ideals of beauty, many adolescents struggle to fit in with the "cool crowd". Mentally tormented by loss or confusion of personal identity, female teenagers strongly desire the feeling of belonging to a certain group of friends. This usually harmless concept of peer pressure can lead to a teenagers demise, by ultimately including hazardous actions, such as drug and alcohol ...view middle of the document...

Catherine Hardwicke skillfully illustrates the coming of age story of a young girl who is led by urges of belonging and finding her own identity in an identity deprived world, based on principles of beauty and coolness.


Home-schooled Cady Heron experiences the dramas and social rules of female adolescents after transferring to a public high school for the first time. She makes friends with the wrong kind of people who are socially not accepted, yet teach her about surviving the daily stress of social hierarchy and unwritten girl rules. She soon meets the "Plastics", also called teen royalty, who she becomes friends with in order to fit in. Based on teen female stereotype, Cady has to merge into the commonly acknowledged girly ideal. Turning her own friends against her, failing classes and effecting the relationship with her parents proves the importance of belonging, in contrast to social values and personal morals. Besides the topic of acceptance and fitting in, this movie also animadverts socially aggressive tendencies in teen girls relationships.

Female friendships are often proven to be very close and supportive in contrast to male friendships, yet also exhibit the negative consequences based on social cooperation. Close bonding between the same gender helps adolescents adjust at school, integrate with peers and ultimately aids in a young adults quest for identity. Despite the positive attributes girl friendships obtain, they display many antagonistic features as portrayed in the named movies. Both Cady and Tracy transform in order to fit the ideals of teen cliches and deny their own character, leading to competitive, damaging, and aggressive exposure of themselves and their relations. That constant burden of capitulating to social standards negatively effects their environment and relationship to others, especially family and other friends, both perfectly illustrated in "Thirteen" and "Mean Girls".

Popularity, power and pleasure is what both Cady and Tracy seek throughout their metamorphosis into a cool and popular girl. The movies portray teen aggressions leading to positive rewards...

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