Social Stratification and The Movie Sweet Home Alabama

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Social stratification as defined by Brinkerhoff et al. is “an institutionalized pattern of inequality in which social statuses are ranked on the basis of their access to scarce resources” (Brinkerhoff et al. 152). By scarce resources, many people have to deal with poverty and having a lack of money to buy the things they need in their lives. Social class is defined as “a category of people who share roughly the same class, status, and power and who have a sense of identification with each other” (Brinkerhoff et al. 155). Your social class has to do with your socioeconomic status along with the power and connections you have. Social mobility on the other hand is “the process of changing one’s social class” (Brinkerhoff et al. 153).

The change in a social class is something that is shown in every day life and the media. It is the American Dream to move upward in society. The movie Sweet Home Alabama is a prime example of social mobility in the main character. The main character Melanie Carmichael left her small town Alabama home and achieved an impressive upward social mobility. She began her life as a daughter of a respectful working class family to become a world famous fashion designer in New York City. At the beginning of the movie, Andrew, the mayor’s son, proposes to Melanie. She says yes, but before she can marry him, she has to clear up a not so final divorce with Jake, her high school sweetheart she left behind. Melanie is now caught between two classes and two cultures, the working class that she grew up in and the upper class she has now placed herself in. As the film continues, her dilemma will require her to acknowledge and reconnect with her mother who lives in a trailer park while still trying to impress h...

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...ust they be bigger and stronger to fulfill the requirements of this job? A structural functionalist would believe that woman are dependent on men. That Melanie should have had to marry Andrew in order to survive and be upper class. The fact that Melanie was able to move upward in society all on her own as a woman is something that a structural functional theorist would completely disagree with.

Sweet Home Alabama is a Cinderella story line with a little twist. I believe that once you look into things sociology can be found everywhere. Social movement and social mobility is found in everyday life. Melanie is just one example of how people move up in class. Gender inequalities and sexism are another hot topic that this movie not so openly shows. Sexism in this movie is more behind the scenes but once brought up is rather evident just as it is in everyday life.

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