Are You Popular? Educational Short Teaches You How to Make Friends
The 1947 educational short Are You Popular? explores the issue of popularity in a hilariously dated manner. Female viewers are reminded that they may not be as popular as they think, if their popularity comes from “parking in cars with boys at night.”
We’re introduced to Jenny, who, although she seems to be friendly and take a general interest in what her peers are doing, is not really popular. That’s because she’s easy, and “when Jerry brags about taking Jenny out, he learns that she dates all the boys, and he feels less important.” Poor, unimportant Jerry. Poor slut shamed Jenny.
We’re also introduced early on to Jenny’s opposite, the unassuming, entirely bland, but traditionally pretty and presumably chaste girl Carolyn. As one boy puts it, in some of the short’s best cheesy dialogue, “Now there’s a girl that’d really get my vote!”
Once the film has established how young women are to act to gain popularity, both the boys and the girls are taught some basic dating tips.
For instance, Wally is said to ask out Carolyn in the best way, by offering a couple of options: either a movie and then a trip over to Teen Town, whatever that is, or they could go with the gang to a skating party and weenie roast. And he doesn’t call her too late at night, making her feel like the last choice. Good job, Wally!
And girls, remember to keep a day planner so you’re not late for a date! We know how you girls like to have a chance to get ready for a date. After all, the narrator told us so.
Also, mothers and daughters, don’t forget to take to heart the tip that it’s good to, as the film puts it, “find (a) way of girl can repay a boy for entertaining her. A bite to eat at her house will save him money.”
Are You Popular? provides unintended comedic entertainment value, but it also offers a sociologically worthwhile, somewhat poignant look at social norms, gender roles, and conformity in post WWII America.
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