top of page

School Groups and Stereotypes

Grappling with having a cheerleader for a daughter, feminist and filmmaker Gretchen Kelbaugh decided to make a documentary about stereotypes in high schools. School Groups and Stereotypes gives a candid, personal glimpse into the passions of three very different students.

We watch Jacqueline, the filmmaker’s daughter, debunk the myth that cheerleading is not a sport.

In a tattoo parlour, Gord, a metal head, proudly gets tattooed and multi-pierced, and explains what makes kids get into heavy metal.

And we follow Jordan from a rugby tournament to a peace march to hear what she thinks makes a good leader.

Passion and a strong sense of self abound where you least expect it.

41 minutes (teachers' guide available on request)

School Groups and Stereotypes deals with fitting in, prejudices, diversity and acceptance. Ideal for middle and high school.

Upbeat, interesting, informative and fun, the video features three very different students: a cheerleader, a metal head and a school leader/social activist. Without the inhibiting effect of a director and crew, the kids take video cameras along as they chat with close friends about the various groups and stereotypes they see and hear daily in their schools.

In Part I (22 min) we meet the three students and hear them discuss, with close friends, the good and bad of belonging to their group.They also reveal their own prejudices.

"Popular girls" are flirty and feel superior.

"Hockey boys" are proud and dumb.

Metal heads beat people up.

How do we overcome our prejudices? The best way is to get to know people who seem different from us. In Part II (19 min), we get to know Gord, Jacqueline and Jordan as individuals. 

While jamming, Gord and his buddies tell us what it means to be a metal head and why they choose that lifestyle. 

In a tattoo parlour, Gord gets tattooed and multi-pierced, things he is proud of.

Director Gretchen Kelbaugh films her daughter, Jacqueline. Seeing Jacqueline's team work out and watching girls fly high for the dangerous stunting routines debunks the myth that cheerleading is still not a sport.

And while joining Jordan at a rugby tournament, an environment club meeting and a peace march, we hear what she thinks makes a good leader and the role she sees for young people in the future of the planet.

What do these three have in common? Passion and a strong sense of self.

As a balance, professionals comment: A doctor describes medical problems from body piercing and tattooing; a sociology professor relates the evolution of cheerleading to today's feminism; and a high school guidance counselor talks about fitting in and the need for tolerance.

This upbeat documentary, from the students' points of view, coaxes us to see our own prejudices and, perhaps for the first time, to question them.

bottom of page