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The Merchants of Cool: Looking at the Interaction Between Conflict Theory and Symbolism in the Movie

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The Merchants of Cool: Looking at the Interaction Between Conflict Theory and Symbolism in the Movie essay
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Teens are believed to be the founders of the word, “cool”. The movie, The Merchants of Cool, focuses on the aspect that teens run the economy. Two major theories can prove this claim. These theories would include, conflict theory and symbolic interactionism.

Conflict theory plays a major role in this claim. Conflict theory focuses on the dominant class making the rules of society. For example, societal standing, sex, and race play a major part in this theory. However, in this movie, age also plays a role in the ruling class of conflict theory. In the movie, the world is known to be “made of marketing”, and teens are known to be the center for their marketing. About 75% of the teens have a television in their own rooms and 3,000 ads are broadcasted every day. This gives a huge opportunity for advertisers to make their sale to the teens. So, if teens are exposed to these ads, what are the odds for them to follow through the advertisement’s expectations and spend money on their product? The odds are actually very high, only if the advertisers know how to make their sale covertly. Teens are known to be the people who give the definition of “cool”. And in order to be cool, the number one rule is to don’t let your marketing show. Because teens technically set up the trend for society, advertisers follow this trend willingly in order to get what they want. Money sometimes sets apart what adults want and what teens want. Adults believe there is no reason to spend money on what they want for themselves; however, for their children, parents are willing to give them what they want no matter the cost. This is why teens are believed to be the center of the society’s economy. Being cool is what teens strive to be, and that is the goal is for advertisers want to build upon that.

Symbolic interactionism also plays a big part through this theory that teens are controlling the economy of society. Teens learn their identities by seeing it through television. There is a certain cycle the media and teens go through. The part of the theory of symbolic interactionism where teens see their identities is the looking-glass theory. In this part of the theory, the media is the mirror. As teens go about their routines and their interests, the media watches the teens closely and picks up on these routines and interests. The media manipulates this frame and enhances it to extreme measures. Then, teens see this and want to be them. Teens want to see themselves through the media. As teens try to adapt to this new trend they set for themselves, some other teens pick up on a new trend. The media reflects off of this, and it becomes a cycle. Throughout the movie, media picks up on common characteristics and displays them explicitly as a frame. This frame for a man is known as a “mook”. “Mooks” are known to be obnoxious, in your face, and insanely crude. Not all men are “mooks” but media wants to influence teens to be inspired to find themselves a new character for “mooks” to latch onto and therefore, another cycle. A frame for a woman is a “midriff”. “Midriffs” are media’s compilation of how girls should look and act. They are believed to be the collection of cliché females who use sex and their bodies as the best asset they can acquire. Many shows broadcast these types of females and males in order to receive more attention from the viewers, which are the teens. For example, “Dawson’s Creek” and “Undressed” are competitive against each other in order to receive the most views. Both shows exhibit a lot of sex and nudity in order for teens to become interested. The more viewers and popularity they have, the more money they can obtain. Again, teens revolve on the success for the society’s economy.

Conflict theory and symbolic interactionism are different theories that explain the same phenomenon: teens run the economy. Framing different characteristics for men and women enhance businesses for advertisers and contribute to the cycle that forms between advertisers and teens.

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The Merchants Of Cool: Looking At The Interaction Between Conflict Theory And Symbolism In The Movie. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 23, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-merchants-of-cool-looking-at-the-interaction-between-conflict-theory-and-symbolism-in-the-movie/
“The Merchants Of Cool: Looking At The Interaction Between Conflict Theory And Symbolism In The Movie.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-merchants-of-cool-looking-at-the-interaction-between-conflict-theory-and-symbolism-in-the-movie/
The Merchants Of Cool: Looking At The Interaction Between Conflict Theory And Symbolism In The Movie. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-merchants-of-cool-looking-at-the-interaction-between-conflict-theory-and-symbolism-in-the-movie/> [Accessed 23 Jan. 2021].
The Merchants Of Cool: Looking At The Interaction Between Conflict Theory And Symbolism In The Movie [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Mar 12 [cited 2021 Jan 23]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-merchants-of-cool-looking-at-the-interaction-between-conflict-theory-and-symbolism-in-the-movie/
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