Archive for the ‘teen’ Category
Published in Girlfriend, October 2006. Copyright Rachel Hills 2006.
Does being popular guarantee you a fabulous life? We go undercover at one high school and get the cool crowd to spill on what it’s really like.If Hollywood is to be believed, the most popular girls in school have it all – the cutest clothes, the hottest guys, invitations to all the best parties. But is the grass really more glam on the cool crowd’s side? GF spoke to the popular girls at one Sydney high school to discover that being in the in crowd isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So read on if you think being popular would…
… get you a boyfriend
When you like a guy who hangs out in a different crowd, it’s easy to think that getting to know him would be so much simpler if only you were friends – and there’s some truth to that. When he’s part of the popular group it can seem even worse, like just saying hello would be setting yourself up for catty whispers and sideways glances.
So, would being popular give you access to better guys? Well, that depends on what you mean by ‘better’. Anna* and Kara*, both in year eight and part of the “popular group” at their school (although they wouldn’t call it that), describe the boys they hang out with as “really superficial”. They may be cute, but “they call us names and say we’re fat,” Kara says. Really mature, huh?
Being popular won’t save you from heartache either. Popular girls get dumped and cheated on just like everyone else (think Mary-Kate Olsen!).
… get you better mates
We’ve got two words for you: Mean Girls. Any illusions you might have held that being in the cool group is a bag of hugs and puppies are shattered when the girls have their backstabbing four-way phone conversation. And when they pull out the Burn Book. And when they follow their invitation to Cady to sit with them with a long and complicated list of dress code rules. If you’re looking for a real world example, take Paris Hilton and her constantly changing BFFs – Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan, Kimberly Stewart… Tell us want to hang out with a group like that and we’ll tell you to get your head checked.
Still, Anna says it’s not all bad. “My group is really close knit,” she says. Others are not so lucky though. Another group of girls at her school are constantly kicking people out of their group, Paris style. “Once I was at a sleepover and a girl left the room and someone asked, ‘Raise your hand if you hate Christine*?’” she says. “Everyone except me put their hand up. I was like, ‘Why are you guys doing that?’”
… protect you from bullying
Most popular girls would widen their eyes with disbelief if you accused them of it, but the rest of us know the truth: they can be really, well, mean. They steal your pencil case, take your copy of Girlfriend and scribble all over it, and talk loudly about who the nerdiest/ugliest/skankiest girl in the class is. Which is why it would seem the easiest way to avoid their wrath is to join them.
Not so. Popular girls talk about each other as much as they do anyone else. Actually, one of the main reasons they talk about other people in the first place is to distract their friends from talking about them. Then there’s the fact that most real life ‘popular groups’ aren’t the trio of identical cheerleaders you see in the movies – at most schools, there’s more than one group. And – you guessed it – they talk dirt about each other.
Anna says that earlier this year a rival group of girls – who she used to be friends with – started referring to her friends as ‘the bun group’. “They think that just because we talk to boys we’re doing stuff with them. It’s disgusting.” She says the girls told new students at school to stay away from her group, which upset her so much, she began to reconsider who she was hanging out with herself.
… be more fun
Yep, it can suck when you’re stuck at home on a Saturday night and all your friends are busy with family stuff. If only you hung with a different crowd, everything would be different, more fun, more glamorous, right? Well, it’s true that popular girls go to more parties than their normal girl counterparts. It’s one of the core characteristics of being popular. But are they really having more fun than you?
Well, it depends on your definition of ‘fun’. Kara and Anna say that the parties they go to mostly involve dancing, sitting around and hooking up. Hardly un-fun, but not exactly Hollywood glamorous, either. When they’re not at parties (which is most of the time), they have sleepovers, go to the movies and drink hot chocolate at their local shopping centre. Pretty normal stuff, really.
And anyway, when you look around at school, can you honestly say you think the popular girls are having more fun than you and your own awesome friends? We thought as much.
… make people like you
The funny thing about being ‘popular’ is that it’s usually not the same thing as having loads of friends. Take Regina George in Mean Girls – people copied her outfits, but did anyone actually like her? Regina wasn’t popular so much as powerful. Or, take The OC’s Marissa. Sure, she was Social Chair, but when Seth and Summer started a petition to get Marissa back into Harbor, no one wanted to sign. That’s gotta hurt, especially for a girl who’s pretty nice by popular girl standards. (And while we’re on the subject of Marissa Cooper, has there ever been more conclusive proof of the fact that good looks, Chanel purses and popularity do not a happy person make?)
And it’s much the same in real life. Anna is dismissive of the other popular groups in her school. “They think they’re popular, but no one actually likes them,” she says. Which is, of course, the ultimate irony. People might want to dress like, act like or have the same stuff as the popular group, but does anyone actually want to spend time with them? We think not!
*Not their real names.