The Starcourt Mall is a place where teenage girls focus on their self-discovery rather than on their romantic pursuits. That's in contrast to numerous mall portrayals in pop-culture. "Throughout Stranger Things 3, Starcourt invokes and transcends tropes associated with malls in teen pop culture, offering evidence of the show’s empathy for its female characters along the way," says Michelle Delgado, adding: "Instead of reinforcing the social order or requiring female characters to continuously react to men and boys, Starcourt becomes a place where friendships are forged, identity is discovered, and monsters are conquered." While the shopping mall has fallen out of favor, Stranger Things 3 shows that it's possible to derive deeper meaning in something as seemingly superficial as a shopping center. "Over time, the mall has faded from teen-focused movies and shows," says Delgado. "When the leads of this year’s Booksmart need new clothes, they simply call up a friendly teacher. Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before focuses on a self-assured high schooler who matures by donating her clothes rather than browsing in shops for new ones. Today, American malls seem more likely to appear in haunting photographs than as the core of teens’ social life. Regardless, Stranger Things shows that it’s not too late to reimagine what the mall can mean for young people, particularly women, as they shape their own identities—no climactic kiss or makeover required."