Every dictionary that I’ve come across has never given a single discrete definition of what genre means in definitive form. Rather, they have all gone on to denote thesaurus like listings of what words are actually synonymous to genre such as; type, sort, kind, field, variety, group, and etc. While all of these words are just collective specificities of the act of classifying, in my opinion they all continuously lack in meeting the objective of how to classify. Therefore, to see issues of how to classify in the real world is not surprising to me. For instance, the task of distinguishing between a myriad of forms of music and movies in media, likewise novels and plays in literature are all evident examples of why thesaurus word listing aren’t a sound enough basis for classification purposes. So was this the case in the movie I wish to talk about titled “Not Another Teen Movie.”
The film “Not Another Teen Movie’s” general purpose, as was implied by its promotional advertisements, was to be a comically inclined entertainment film. We’ve come to know and consider these types of films comedies. Indeed one can attest to this entire film being a hilariously entertaining comedy in all aspects as it banteringly toyed with promiscuous teenagers and pre-teens seeking sex, relationships, careers, undergoing peer pressure, and more in a comedic approach. For instance, Janie, the main character, was a typical nerdy girl whose passion in life was devoted to her painting found her self desiring the popular football jock named Jake. Jake could have any girl in school that he wanted. Janie wasn’t attractive to him, until she was given an extreme makeover and became the eye candy of every guy in school. Then did he begin to desire her but as a jock his reputation would being sabotaged if he were to began to date her. This situation between Jake and Janie develops into a romance where the two figures are in pursuit a relationship are hindered by opposing forces as in all romances. The oppositions being, one’s recent past image consistently reiterated and popular reputation respectively. Here is where we see a turn in the genre into a typical ‘romance’ genre or love story.
This unexpected veer into another film category deviates from the whole trained idea of what we’d normally consider a comedy. So now the question arise what categories should this film have been assigned to? Romance? Comedy? Or both? This apparently is an issue with defining genre. Therefore, I agree with Daniel Chandler when he quotes the writer/author Jane Ferur in his excerpt, “The problem of definition” saying, ‘genre as being ultimately an abstract conception rather than something that exist empirically in the world. In other words, this means if there is no clear cut definition of ‘genre’ as we’ve come to learn, that we have simply been classifying literature, media, and more on the basis of accepting what has been transcended time after time into our analytical endeavors rather than seeking out to develop a definition of genre in which we’d be able to accurately classify all categories.
The only way that we will ever be able to terminate this ongoing theoretical issue is to configure an international definition. Massive covenants leading to compositional frameworks, and eventually as intended, a written record will make eliminating related debates effective. Ultimately, no doubt will this transform all subjectively opinionated assumptions into objectively factual formal recognition of what ‘genre’ really is. Realistically, this may sound vey much ludicrous taking into consideration many opposing factors. Cultural, lifestyle, religious practices, and more act as hindering vices toward the conception of a international or ‘worldwide’ single definition of genre and its categories; eventually making this task even more arduous. Indeed, this may well be achievable if such a nation were to exist where all civilians within are all homo-cultured, religious, and practiced the same lifestyles. However, such a nation seemed fabricated rather than ‘realistic’. Assuming it where a surreal nation, would not a new issue arise pertaining to who would make these classifications of genres within that particular nation? And who and why where they deemed to do so?