For my media analysis I intended to investigate how identity management, including theories of social comparison, reflection appraisal, stereotyping and self-esteem are reflected in the 2010 teen comedy Easy A, written by Bert V. Royal. Throughout the film, the themes of identity management are discussed at length; majority of the characters are given “identifiers” on their social standing in high school, communication patterns between the characters show social comparison through lies and truths and the overall plot of the story is about a girl and her high school peers trying to find their identity in high school.
The movie is about a clean cut high school girl named Olive, who tells a white lie to her best friend Rhiannon about losing her virginity to an imaginary college guy named George. While telling the lie in the bathroom, the high school’s goody two-shoes Christian girl overhears the conversation and tells her friends, who in true high school fashion, tell their friends and the rumors start spreading about Olive’s promiscuity.
At first Olive is approached by Brandon, a fellow high school student that is bullied and beat up for being homosexual. He has heard the rumors around school about Olive having sex, which he believes is true, and she explains to him it was a lie, but that if he wants to be treated as “normal” he should lie about who he is as well. This prompts him to convince her to lie about having sex with him so people will believe he is straight, and so he will stop being tormented. Brandon even goes as far as saying “I can’t take another day of this...I feel like I’m suffocating,” about his high school experience. She agrees, and they go to a big high school party and fake having sex in a room so people at the party can hear, and will believe it. It works and right after they walk out of the room, having only jumped on the bed and faked moans, their fellow high school males take Brandon in and start treating him like a friend, instead of beating him up.
Olive is pleased to know she has helped Brandon get past his tormentors, yet nasty rumors start flying about her and other students start calling her “a dirty skank” and a “slut.” Since this is now her new high school identifier, she sews on red A’s on all of her clothes, emulating the identifier in Scarlet Letter, to prove a point to the other students.
At the same time in the plot, Brandon tells his friend Evan, who’s identifier in high school is “the fat nerd,” what Olive did for him. Evan than asks Olive if she will do the same for him. Finally, after some guilting, she agrees for a $100 gift card to lie about hooking up with him. Soon, every male “outcast” hears what she is doing, and she starts lying for them as well. Again, the rumor mill starts churning out nasty rumors about Olive and the students in the high school, including her former best friend Rhiannon, ostracize her and try to have her expelled for her actions. Finally, Olive does a video cast for...