In the film “Sixteen Candles” shows the power of social and cliques during adolescence. The image of women and the standards and stereotypes they are held to play a big role. It depicts the power cliques and social groups have during teenage years. This film allows many to rethink how their high school experience, even those who have recently graduated can relate to this high school experience in 1984. The high school sophomore Samantha “Sam” Baker has a hard time getting through the day of her 16th birthday, which her entire family forgets because her older sister is getting married the next day.
Sam is also distracted by her love for the popular senior, Jake Ryan. Her day at school is not any better when she finds out that her completed “sex quiz,” which she secretly slipped to her friend, never reached her. Sam panics, as the quiz contains personal information, including the fact that she is saving herself for Jake. At the same time, she doesn’t know that Jake likes her as well, but is too insecure to even talk to her. Sam encounters groups another problem when she finds out that both sets of grandparents are staying for the time of the wedding.
One set of grandparents brings along strange Chinese exchange student Long Duk Dong. Sam’s grandparents force her to take him along to her school dance that night and, to Sam’s shock, it takes him only five minutes to find a questionable girlfriend Marlene, nicknamed “Lumberjack. ” On the bus ride, home a geeky freshman, Ted or Farmer Ted, who repeatedly and unsuccessfully tries to get Sam to love him for a bet made with his friends. In the auto-shop room during the dance, Sam and Ted begin talking, and Sam admits her love for Jake.
Upon hearing this, Ted tells her that Jake has been asking about her at the dance, and they agree that Sam should just go and talk to him. As she’s leaving, Ted tells Sam about the bet, who, in her excited state, agrees to loan him her underwear to help him win a dozen floppy disks. Later, Ted and his equally geeky friends crash the senior party at Jake’s house, which got completely trashed. A small group of jocks put Ted under a glass table, capture his two geek friends, and take them for a joyride in the trunk of their car then releasing them unharmed.
At the end of the night, Jake finds Ted trapped under the table and they begin to talk. Jake asks more about Sam, and Ted explains the situation. Jake makes a deal with Ted to lets him keep Sam’s nderwear, then he will let Ted drive home his intoxicated girlfriend, Carolyn Mulford, in Jake’s father’s Rolls Royce. Ted never takes her home because, the very drunk, Carolyn makes moves on Ted while he’s driving before passing out. He instead takes her to his friend’s house to ask them to take a picture of him with Carolyn together in the back seat of the car.
At Sam’s house the next morning, after the madness with all the relatives, the family eventually makes up before the wedding and apologizes for forgetting her birthday. They drive to the church, where her sister, Ginny, takes a few too many sedatives nd causes a scene throughout the wedding ceremony. As Jake was out looking for Sam he finds Carolyn and Ted passed out in the back seat of the Rolls in a nearby parking lot, where he uses the excuse of finding them together to break up with Carolyn, who had fallen for Ted, and thus doesn’t mind the breakup very much.
Afterward, Jake drives to the church just in time to meet Sam after her sister’s wedding. Jake and Sam finally meet face to face, and Jake invites her over to his house instead of going to Ginny’s wedding reception, she accepts. The movie concludes with Jake and Sam sharing a kiss over a birthday cake with 16 andles. This film is a great example of the social classes or hierarchy throughout high school. It gives the viewer the message that these social classes can go together and they don’t have to separate themselves from each other based on their “popularity”.
This movie ties to many aspects of sociology. This 1984 film has many aspects of socialization, from the influences in Sam’s life to the roles each person is required to follow. A social role are expectations of a person in a specific status, or in a social position, these roles are learned through socialization. The social roles in this movie are popular, prom ing and queen, and not so popular, geeky or unnoticeable. In the movie with these established social roles, Sam knows she will never get Jake Ryan due to his social standing in the hierarchy of high school.
Many students in high school know exactly where they stand and who they are the day the enter high school, their identity shows greatly through the way they hold themselves. At the beginning of the film Sam wakes up and feels know different with another year of age. She knows that when she goes to school she will be the same Sam and no one new will notice her. Her identity is the quite teenage girl that ants what every kid wants for their sixteenth birthday: a date, a car, and maybe some cake, but most of all like most high school girls she lacks self-confidence.
The identity Sam has related to is the girl you want to be, and the girl you already are. With different agents of socialization, groups or social contexts in which significant processes of socialization occur, in Sam’s life she identifies with a different behavior for each one. The first agent, family, is seen as your traditional family. This is this environment where Sam is most comfortable. In her household, he is seen as the popular cool one of the family by the way she dresses, the way she carries herself, and the way she talks.
Once she gets to a different agent, school, she now becomes the quite insecure sixteen-year-old girl. She no longer walks like she is comfortable and stays away from anything or anyone that would make her feel uncomfortable. With her close peer relationship, the third agent of socialization, she is able to express the true her because her friend understands her. The peer relationship is like her safety blanket, somewhere and someone she knows she can talk to that will understand. In this movie mass media is the form of note passing back in the time.
Many of Sam’s troubles start with a “Sex Quiz” that she fills out and attempts to slip to a friend in class, which never makes it to her, but instead ends up with her crush. Socialization is what creates the adolescent years and how it forms them to identify as their own person. Sixteen candles are a perfect example of how the factors of socialization really shape a person. Although this movie was filmed in 1984, as a teenage girl who was recently in high school, it is easy to relate and see myself in Sam’s shoes. Everyone is held to standards that are impossible to meet.
In high school, you need the nice clothes, flawless makeup and hair, and the body of a woman, or you are not seen as someone who “fits in”. The fact that the same flaws Sam worried about are the flaws every high school girl wakes up worrying about. Entering the social class of high school, we know the minute we step foot on the campus we are categorized by the way we look and what we do. This movie shows us that even though Ted, a geek, can fall for the popular prom queen, Carolyn, breaking the social roles rules.