High School Musical

high school musical

High School Musical
Rating: G
Released: 2006
Run Time: 98 minutes
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

Cultural Rating: pawpawpaw

            Overall, this film engages with different racial/ethnic identities. Also, the film challenges the rigid cultural construction concerning traditional masculinity.


Troy and Gabriella struggle to maintain their current friend groups while auditioning for the high school musical.


Language: 0 poo(s)

Violence: 0 poo(s)

Sex: poo

  • Hand-holding
  • Kiss on the cheek
  • Hug
  • At one point, Troy and other boys in the locker room are shirtless

Drugs and Alcohol: 0 poo(s)

Cultural Analysis




  • The film attempts racial/ethnic diversity as major and minor characters appear to be of color. For example, Gabriella Montez appears to be Latina, and Chad, Troy’s best friend, appears to be black. Also, minor characters appear to be of a number of marginalized races/ethnicities.
  • At the end, Sharpay (who appears to be white) and Zeke (who appears to be black) seem to be in a relationship.

Sexual Orientation: N/A

Disability: N/A


  • There is one fat-bodied character who has a minor role.



  • Stereotypical gender roles are reinforced throughout the film. Even though Troy participates in the high school musical, his masculinity is reinforced throughout the film. For example, Troy is a basketball star and women act love struck when they interact with Troy.
  • Gabriella is blamed for Troy’s interest in trying out for the musical. Chad calls her a “temptress girl.”
  • It is implied that a girl’s romantic relationship with a boy is more important than platonic friendships.

Race: N/A

Sexual Orientation:


  • No characters appear to have visible disabilities.
  • The kids who performed interpretive dance at the audition were told to “Go see a counselor.”


Suggested talking points

  • A common theme in Disney films is romantic love between a man and a woman. This can be problematic on two levels, as romantic love is depicted as necessary for happiness and, also, as heterosexuality is a prerequisite for romantic love.
  • This film attempts to show that men can participate in “feminine” activities such as musicals. To reinforce this point, it might be a good idea to bring up a famous actor who is traditionally masculine and participates in musicals, such as Hugh Jackman, in order to illustrate how the rigid definition of traditional masculinity can be expanded.
  • The film attempts to show that it is alright for people to branch out of their established group in high school stereotypes. For example, although the character Zeke is a jock, he enjoys baking. Also, see lyrics for “Stick to the Status Quo.”

image: Disneychannel.com

Keywords: high school musical, movie, music, family, kids, disney, race, ethnicity, three paws, 3 paws

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