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The mainstream includes all popular culture and media culture, typically disseminated by mass media. The opposite of the mainstream are subcultures, countercultures and cult followings. It is often used as a pejorative term by subcultures who view ostensibly mainstream culture as not only exclusive but artistically and aesthetically inferior. In the United States, mainline churches are sometimes referred to synonymously as "mainstream." Also known as "straight" and "straights" for individuals. 
Mainstream films are films that are distributed to movie theaters which give these films wide releases. However, the definition of a mainstream film can vary by country. For example, a mainstream film from China wouldn't be considered a mainstream film in India. But from a global perspective, mainstream films could be defined as Hollywood films, because it is these films which make up the majority of the most widely distributed films in the world. This makes Hollywood films the worldwide mainstream.
In the media
Mainstream media, or mass media, is generally applied to print publications, such as newspapers and magazines that contain the highest readership among the public, along with radio formats and television stations that contain the highest viewing and listener audience, respectively. This is in contrast to various independent media, such as alternative weekly newspapers, specialized magazines in various organizations and corporations, and various electronic sources such as podcasts and blogs (Though certain blogs are more mainstream than others given their association with a mainstream source.
Mainstream music denotes music that is familiar to the masses, as for example popular music, pop music, middle of the road music, pop rap or pop rock: Mainstream jazz is generally seen as an evolution of be-bop, which was originally regarded as radical.
Opposing mainstream music is the music of subcultures. This exists in virtually all genres of music and is found commonly in punk rock, indie rock, alternative/underground hip hop, anti-folk and heavy metal, among others. In the 1960s this music was exemplified by the music of the hippie counterculture.
Mainstream science is scientific inquiry in an established field of study that does not depart significantly from orthodox theories. In the philosophy of science, mainstream science is an area of scientific endeavor that has left the process of becoming established. New areas of scientific endeavor still in the process of becoming established are generally labelled protoscience or fringe science. A definition of mainstream in terms of protoscience and fringe science  can be understood from the following table:
|Systematized as scientific definition|
|Treated with scientific method|
|Attempts to be scientific or resembles science|
|Superstition||Pseudoscience||Fringe science||Protoscience||(Mainstream) science|
By its standard practices of applying good scientific methods, mainstream is distinguished from pseudoscience as a demarcation problem and specific types of inquiry are debunked as junk science, cargo cult science, scientific misconduct, etc.
Mainstream pressure, through actions such as peer pressure, can force individuals to conform to the mores of the group (e.g., an obedience to the mandates of the peer group). Some, such as those of modern Hipster culture, have stated that they see mainstream as the antithesis of individuality.
Mainstreaming is the practice of bringing disabled students into the “mainstream” of student life. Mainstreamed students attend some classes with typical students and other classes with students that have similar disabilities. Mainstreaming represents a midpoint between full inclusion (all students spend all day in the regular classroom) and dedicated, self-contained classrooms or special schools (disabled students are isolated with other disabled students).
The difference of male and female, in the sense that human beings are distinguished as non-conformant.
- "Princeton Edu definition" http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=mainstream
- Caldwell, John. "Faith in school: as mainstream churches continue to wrestle with homosexuality, some religious colleges are taking an increasingly welcoming attitude toward gay students,", The Advocate Sept 2, 2003
- Baer, Hans A. "Black Mainstream Churches; Emancipatory or Accommodative Responses to Racism and Social Stratification in American Society?" Review of Religious Research Vol. 30, No. 2 (Dec., 1988), pp. 162-176
- America in the Sixties. John Robert Greene. Syracuse University Press, 2010
- Wallsten, K. (2007), Agenda Setting and the Blogosphere: An Analysis of the Relationship between Mainstream Media and Political Blogs. Review of Policy Research, 24: 567–587. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-1338.2007.00300.x
- Reflections on the reception of unconventional claims in science, newsletter Center for Frontier Sciences, Temple University (1990).
- Thomas Kuhn: Reflections on my critics. In: Imre Lakatos and A. Musgrave: Criticism and the growth of knowledge. Cambridge University Press, London (1974), pp. 231–278.
- "Mainstream (n)" Online Etymology Dictionary