Social Situations: Popularity

Social Situations: Popularity

Claire Marvin, Staff Writer

Being a teenager isn’t easy and that’s just a fact of life. We are raised to believe that there is a place for everyone in the world and to just “be ourselves.” (Whatever that means.) This is all fine for a little while, but right around one’s 13th birthday, our world gets turned upside-down. We are lucky enough to get a lovely combo package: our golden teenage years plus hormones, stress, and most daunting of all, the pressure to fit in and to become “popular.”

What is popularity anyways? I remember having this conversation with my mom when I was in 7th grade. I couldn’t figure out why other girls were so much prettier, funnier and more sought after by boys than I was. I told my mom it was because I wasn’t as popular as them. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “you are pretty and funny and for Christ’s sake you are only 13, so you don’t even need to be thinking about boys. Anyways, what does ‘being popular’ really mean?”

That’s a question I’ve been trying to answer for a while now. At Miramonte, at least, it’s not about what clothes you wear or how much money your family has. The “popular” kids are the ones who have the exceptional talent of making the rest of the student body believe that they are popular. They party the hardest, talk the loudest, and usually flirt until they’re blue in the face. You see, you can never be popular if you don’t appeal to the opposite sex. Popular girl groups are popular because they have a bunch of guys wrapped around their fingers and popular guy groups are popular because girls are lining up to date them. But most of all, popular people are confident (or at least act like they are confident), a quality most other teenagers lack. They walk with their heads held high and aren’t afraid to put themselves out there.

Popularity for guys and popularity for girls differs. To be a popular guy, you either have to be a good athlete, funny, talented, attractive, or a combination of the four. To be a popular girl you either have to be flirtatious, funny, attractive, aggressive or a combination of those four. There are other factors for both genders as well, but these are just the main ones I’ve found to be true.

However, the term “popularity” is frequently and unbearably misused. The word popularity connotes a positive meaning in which the person described is well-liked by everyone else. But in high school, popularity means that you are on a higher social level than your peers and subsequently think your opinion holds more weight than others. I’m not saying that I think popularity is a bad thing or that people who have been dubbed as popular are bad people; it’s just that the whole concept of putting certain people up on a pedestal for no real reason is ridiculous. We are all just people; nothing less, nothing more. In fact, if teenagers would just look past social status for one second, they would be able to see that many of us are dealing with the same problems, pressures, and have the same goals.

Who’s to decide who’s popular anyway? People shouldn’t care so much about what everyone else thinks. Every single one of us is going through the roller-coaster ride of high school and we are all just hoping to make it out on the other side alive. So just take a step back and be happy with who you are, because popularity can only grow its roots as deep as you let it.